While in town Tuesday, I came across a wicked deal for First of the Season Fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon that I could not pass up. I bought 3 big suckers and thought it would be a perfect occasion to pull out my smoker for the very first time.
The salmon came head-off and gutted, but herein lies my first hurdle…how the heck to you fillet a salmon? I’ve always watched my dad and brother do it, how hard could it be? I never bothered trying myself in the past because they would always give me their smoked goodness, but now I had 3 huge salmon in my kitchen and I had to learn quickly. Helloooooo Google and Youtube
“Dear fishies...I'm sorry if I butcher you while attempting to fillet you so that you can be smoked.... a new adventure awaits for yours truly.”
Day 1: Let me introduce to you pesco numero uno. Such a beautiful species.
After my first attempt, Mr. Fishy looked like this….
Buster wanted desperately for me to drop some for him…let’s just say a couple of small pieces made it to his dish. I could I not? Look at that face !
After completing the filleting of the other 2 fish, I stuck them in a brine. One part brown sugar, one part coarse salt and lots of dill.
Of course my bucket was way too big for the fridge and it really only needs a cool place to go for about 12 hours, so voila..a solution was found… high up from nosy dog and cat.
Day 2: After my morning bootcamp class and my afternoon physio appointment for my knee/ankle, it was time to prepare for the smoking process.
Voila…my smoker…. My little Chief was passed down to me by my dad. This smoker used to come camping with us when we visited this town in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It makes awesome smoked salmon. But many years ago my parents upgraded to a newer one and now I get to use this one.
Or so I thought I went to go plug it in and at first it was heating up, but then all of a sudden, it stopped. After a bit of investigating, I noticed the breaker switch was down. I tried a few more times, but same thing happened. The smoker must have gotten a short over time.
On to Plan B…. my BBQ and a smoker box.
This is batch #1…the second batch is going on tomorrow. Once the salmon was on the grill, I just had to close the lid and let the smoke do it’s magic. I wasn’t exactly sure how long it would take or how long before I had to add more wood chips, but with lots of patience and time, it worked. I was adding water-soaked Hickory chips every 45minutes or so. The entire process took about 3 1/2 hours.
Basically, you want the salmon to be firm and glossy, but you also want to start seeing the white fatty substance appear on the surface.. then you know it’s done.
I’m looking forward to perfecting my smoked salmon adventures. Hoping to learn how to fillet better and even catch some of my own salmon in the near future. I better get out my fishing rod. Now, who has a boat to take me out on?
Here’s to hoping everyone has a wonderful sunshiny day and will be back soon with a great salmon recipe.
Bye for now.