Today, I'm making some smoked salmon using my trusty old Master Forge Kettle smoker. I don't have an expensive smoker or anything. You can do this salmon easily without having expensive smoking equipment. Smoked salmon is awsome as an entree but I like also with cream cheese and crackers.
You're going to need about 12 hours so don't leave things to the last minute. Prepping the fish takes about 10-11 hours and the actual smoking is going to be about 1-2 hours.
Loose goosey and quickly describing the process - we're going to make a dry brine and cover the salmon with that. The purpose of the brine is to draw out excess moisture from the fish. At the same time it's going to infuse some nice sweet flavors in there.
We're going to let the fish sit open for a few hours to allow a thin pellicule (a thin film) on the outside. This will allow the smoke to adher to the fish..
Finally we're going to smoke the fish and marvel at the flavor. Can't wait!
Step 1: Ingredients What You'll Need..
2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup of kosher salt - It's important to use kosher salt and NOT table salt.
1 tablespoon of black pepper.
1 salmon fillet
Step 2: Prepare the Salmon for Brining
I'm using a nice large filet of salmon. I've rinsed the fish under cold cold water. As cold as I could get it and then I patted down the salmon to remove excess moisture using paper towels.
I'll cut the filet into 4 managable pieces which are more 'serving' size. If you're using the smoked salmon for hors d'oeuvre's then you can cut even smaller.
Step 3: Mix Up Some Dry Brine and Layer the Salmon
In a mixing bowl combine the 2 cups of brown sugar with the 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Remember to use KOSHER SALT - do NOT use table salt..
Mix it all up and then take some brine mix and layer the bottom of a tupperware or cooking dish.
Lay some pieces of salmon down on the brine and ensure that all sides (include the sides...) are completely covered in dry brine mix. Add seom extra dry brine mix to the layer and then add more salmon... completely cover these pieces also...
When the salmon is completely coated in brine mix, cover the tray and place in the refridgerator for 8 hours. The dry brine mix will slowly draw moisture out of the salmon.
Step 4: A Few Hours In... Brine Mix Is Doing It's Job...
As you can see after 4 hours the brine mix is doing its job nicely... the moisture is getting pulled out of the salmon....
Step 5: Rinse Salmon and Pat Dry, Lay Out on Rack to Form Pellicule
After 8 hours, we remove the salmon from the brine and rinse in cold water. Pat the fillets dry and lay them out out on drying racks for 1 hour minimum... perferrably 2 hours. This will allow a think film to formon the outside of the salmon. The film or pellicule will allow give the smoke something to adher to and allow us to gain that nice smokey taste.
Step 6: Get the Smoker Ready
Set up your smoker and get it going. I'm using a temperature of 200F (93.3C). Many recipes will recommend a slightly lower temperature. You can experiment with temperature and time but ultimately you want an internal temperature of the salmon at 140F.
Step 7: We're Ready! Smoke Yer Salmon!!
Smoke for 1 hour... or two.. or three... depending on the temperature of your smoker and the amount of 'smokey taste' you want to have. Obviously the longer you smoke the salmon, the smokier it'll taste but be careful not to dry the salmon out too much.
In this Instructible I smoked the salmon for 1hr and 15 minutes at slightly over 200F (93.3C)
Alternatively you could use a lower temperature and smoke the fish longer...
In the end, you want an internal temperature in the thickest part of the fish to be 140F
This is definitely something that might take a few attempts until you decide which method you prefer - cooler and longer smoking VS hotter and shorter smoking.. ah.. the labor of love.... Don't worry - Every attempt will be delicious.
Step 8: Finished Product
The salmon is finished... Feel free to dress the salmon up with dill and lemons. Perhaps a nice dill or bernaise sauce..
Smoked salmon is also great served with cream cheese and crackers.
I'm eating today with quinoi and broccolli