Step 7: Brining the Salmon

Brining time is dependent on taste- the longer you brine (and the smaller your chunks), the saltier your fish will get.
I don't like mine too salty, so I do ten minutes or so. Be careful with this timing; fourteen or fifteen minutes is MUCH saltier.

Start your timer as you begin to put your fish chunks (carefully cradled in your hands) in the brine.
The fish float, so an upside-down pot lid on top does a good job of keeping the fish in the brine.
<p>I tried sandwiching my fish between two cookie cooling racks. I <br>wired the ends of the two racks together with a with a soft (e.g., <br>copper) wire so they wouldn't come apart.</p><p>The two cookie <br>sheets per batch worked GREAT - it allowed me to flip the fish, for <br>basting, without having to break it loose from either the main racks or <br>the cookie racks. </p><p>Since you are flipping the whole batch over in <br>one fell swoop, without disturbing the cooked, flaky meat, it doesn't <br>crumble and break. Flipping it is a two second job.</p>
wont eating the scraps taste fishy and slimy?
try adding slabs of ginger before the water boils. will eliminate the strong fishy smell.
...it's boiled so I wouldn't think so
Being from the Philippines where this is how they do 70% of all their fish dishes... yes, it is rather fishy and slimy. If you're not used to the smell and texture, it can get overwhelming.
And here I thought the hard part was keeping the salmon lit ....
NAH . . . . to me the hard part is keeping the papers from getting soggy
I've always used a pipe, much more classy.
What size nail? 8p? 16p? Sized to the potato? Ruset? <br>I would stay away from galvanized or VC (vinyl coated). <br>I've always tried to keep it a steady temperature, what is the reasoning for varing it? <br>Smoking food is always good. <br> <br>
Neat trick with the potato and nail which is essentially a hydrometer to achieve a certain specific gravity in the brine. I work in a lab with lots of fancy instruments but still appreciate &quot;folk methods&quot; that just git 'er done.
I bet that smoked Salmon Lox is just scrumptious with bagels and cream cheese!
Lox is cold smoked. This is hot smoked. It won't have the raw texture of lox.
Okay. How do I make Lox? I would really like to know, because I like smoked Salmon...
Absolutely great !&hellip; <br>The sugar spoon is one of the tricks : glad you mentioned it !&hellip; <br>I'll keep the potato and nail trick in mind in my next &quot;smoking&quot; session. <br> <br>I have only two remarks about the smokehouse : <br>1) you should definitely make an instructable ! <br>2) also wouldn't it be better if you used plain wood when building it instead of the compressed chips planks (or whatever it's called in the US) as they contain a lot of highly toxic materials that may contaminate your food without you knowing it.
Thank you for the instructions. Planning on doing this soon.
You should write up an instructable on your smokehouse it looks awesome! I love smoked salmon I always had a freezer full when I lived in Oak Harbor but I moved back to Oklahoma. :( but we have crappie :) and there just as good. Enjoy some for me. ;)
:) For the smokehouse- see my reply to radarguy.
That's interesting to check for salinity of the brine with a potato and nail. Is there any electrolytic process going on with the nail, can it be a rusty nail or coated or it's just some tradition?
I remember, we used a raw egg in Germany (in the shell!). When it floated, the brine was right... <br>Erwin
cool! I'll have to try that.
Heh, it's just to ensure proper density! Since we fill up the bucket with a hose, it's much easier to do this than to measure out water and salt cup by cup. <br />Plus the potato is good in the fish-scraps stew, and we probably get some good minerals from the nail.
We just have an electric smoker and the last time we tried salmon in it we weren't too successful. It was more for a hot entree. So can you tell us more about how to make your smokehouse?
Sure- we built the smokehouse a couple of years ago, but it's pretty simple. It's just a shack, something like 1 x 1 x 2.5 meters, slant-roofed so it can shed rain. <br />The front is on hinges, so it can be swung open and closed. <br />The sides have small 1x1" pieces of wood nailed into them to make slides for the fish racks. <br />We used one of those commercial firepit things, the giant bowl on a stand, to put the fire in (but without the stand). <br /> <br />The really important things: <br />-Put metal flashing around the base of the shed, where the fire is built, so that your shed doesn't light on fire. <br />-Stick a thermometer through the wall so you know how hot it is inside. <br />-Make sure your door can be closed tightly- we use bungee cords, hooked to some screw-in hooks. <br />-Leave a small gap somewhere near the top so that smoke can escape.
As an alternative to brining, sprinkle rock salt on top. Just brush off the loose rock salt - you can save it outside (it can smell a bit) and use it for icy sidewalks or ice cream making - and rinse the rest off with water. You then brush a paste of water and brown sugar on top, which forms a more cohesive glaze (it helps hold the fish together), and depending on how thick you slather it on can give you a sweeter end product.
I want to go to there. Ship some to HQ? :)

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Bio: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a ... More »
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