Ever wanted to make inexpensive Smoked Salmon to revile the extremely expensive store bought? This ones for you!
Step 1: Go to the Store!!
Shopping list is as follows:
Salmon, Fresh (1 - However many will fit in your BBQ)
Sugar, Brown (I use about a 1lb of Sugar per fillet)
Salt, Kosher (About 2 Cups per fillet)
Wood - (Your choice on wood, I used Mesquite woodchips).
Step 2: Make the Brine
So there are many types of brines, and for my first foray, I wanted to keep it simple. A simple ratio of 2:1 Sugar to Salt. The intent here is to draw moisture out of the Salmon, and add a touch of flavor. I had to make more often, so make a large batch and you can save your leftovers; saves from "stop and going" with your steps as I had to.
Step 3: Pack the Salmon
With the brine mixture created, you need to sandwich your Salmon with brine. You can use any type of container, but steer away from metal, as it'll interact with the process, and mess with your Salmon. Be sure to firmly press the mixture into the Salmon, and toss uncovered into fridge for 3 - 5 hours. Both the before and after pictures are here.
Step 4: Cure
Wash off the brine from the Salmon, and pat dry with paper towels. Put on a rack (may wish to use the smoking rack so you don't need to move it), and put it in to the fridge again for 1 - 3 hours. Essentially, you want the Salmon to become tacky to the touch (from the salt/sugar combo drying) so that smoke can attach to it.
Step 5: Prep Your Wood
This would be the time to prep your wood. Many different ways to go about it, I've decided to use chips in a bread pan. From past experiences, and watching my Father, soaking your chips allows for a longer smoke, rather than dry chips.
Step 6: Done Curing and Ready to SMOKE!!
This is the time to get excited, smoking is almost ready to begin. Heat your BBQ up, and wait for the coals to go grey (or if you have propane, turn it as low as it'll go). Typically, when I want to do this, I'll have my charcoal on the right side (where the wood chips will be), and on the far left side ( no fire) my Salmon. If you can get you BBQ below 100 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain it for the duration, you will have excellently smoked salmon.
Step 7: Done Like Dinner!!
I smoked for about 4 hours, stocking the coals as needed, and replacing the wood chips every 45 - 60 minutes.
On my first journey I was a little overzealous, and smoked hot.... Because salmon is so delicate, I had excellently cooked salmon, not smoked salmon. After a day long process, it was a little disappointing, so take my advice Colder is Better....
If you think, 150 grams of Smoked Salmon is $8
For 3lbs of Salmon, it's $10, add some inexpensive ingredients and you have some excellently inexpensive Smoked Salmon!!!