My Honey has the perpetual itch to fish and hunt ~ so when the news came “pinks are in!,” this guy was on it. This awesome man prepares himself well, heads out there and catches food, brings it home, cleans it, packages it all up and BONUS ~ he cleans the mess afterward! Late last week he declared we were smoking the salmon on Sunday. Those who know me know how much I love it when he fires up that smoker. He is a bit stingy at divulging the ingredients of his brine, however he is willing to let me share a bit of that with you for which I am thankful or my piece here would probably contain only photographs.
As always, tips, tricks and other input are extremely welcome as we love to grow and share our recipes with others ~ well, one of us does anyway. I’m Teasing Honey! When it comes to his “secret recipe brine” the only ingredients he will allow me divulge are salt, brown sugar and water. Fortunately there are many wonderful online tools and sites for you to pull brine recipes, tips and tricks from.
Generally the morning before he fires up the smoker he pulls fish from the freezer to thaw and right before he heads to off to sleep, he pops them in the brine for a final swim and puts them in the fridge. Eight to twelve hours is the norm to soak the salmon, as he says we just do it til it’s convenient. It was approximately eleven hours this run.
In the morning, he lays out newspaper to soak up the mess ~ and there is mess ~ places the smoking racks on top of the paper and goes to work. He removes the fish piece by piece, rinses it thoroughly and places on the rack. He then pats each piece dry with a paper towel. When he feels they are good and dry he sprinkles brown sugar on all of them and gently rubs it in. Some of the salmon receive generous amounts of ground pepper on top of the brown sugar, which is incredibly tasty. ~ Karie Engels
Basic guidelines for smoking salmon this technique:
Set the smoker for 120°F degrees and used 1/2 alder and 1/2 special blend bisquettes.
Cook Time: 6 hours at 120°F degrees
Cook Time: 3 hours at 140°F degrees
Smoke Time: Smoke is used only during the first 3 hours – after that low heat will finish the salmon – more smoke time will result in heavy smoke flavor that overpowers the fish flavors.