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Last week I smoked a pork butt and had some sockeye on hand, so cured with a sprinkle of sugar and salt for about an hour, rinsed and dried and brushed with some maple syrup, and put it in the bbq beside the pork with some hickory at about 225 until the salmon firmed up, maybe 30 minutes or so. It was delicious, and leftovers even worked last night sliced thin, but because of smoking temp it was a little flaky (which I fully expected). I don't have a setup to cold smoke at 78 degrees (yet), but any suggestions on what temp I might smoke at/for how long in order to get a slightly less flaky texture (or how long I should cure before, or whether I should brine it instead)? Trying another 4 slabs today, aiming to keep temp a little lower than before, just need one burner hot enough to get the hickory smoking.
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Salmon is my favorite to smoke.

Here's what I do, and it comes out perfect every time:

- Brine (per gallon, usually covers (4) lbs of salmon: 3/4 cup Kosher Salt, 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1 gallon of water. Either use a large metal pot & stick in the fridge, or fill a clean cooler with ice water. Brine for 8-12 hours.

- Take fish out of the brine, pat dry with a paper towel, then stick them back in the fridge for 18-24 hours.

- Get smoker up to 225-250F. Alder wood is the best to use, but it's hard to find where I live. I use Applewood most of the time. 4 chunks should be plenty.

- Season with whatever you want. I just use black pepper.

- Cook time is usually less than 90 minutes. I prefer less flaky fish, so I pull as soon as the tail starts to flake. Internal temp probes don't work, as the meat is too thin. Just judge by appearance. You mentioned 30 minutes for yours. That seems way too short.

- Let the fish rest for 30 minutes, then dig in.

* Brine is imperative to achieving a perfect texture.
Thanks Shane, I'll give that a try. I think wild sockeye season might be done up here for this year unfortunately, but I'll keep my eyes open for more. My salt/sugar cure for a few hours, followed by brushing with maple syrup a few times, and smoking with Hickory at between 200 and 225 has worked ok, but I've been noticing a problem with cod worms/seal worms...not unusual with wild fish but I've been either freezing for as long as I can stand it or cooking it to flaky/at a higher temp to drive the little buggers out of the flesh or just cook em where they lie. Flavour has been excellent in any event, a great treat, and hoping the frozen filets thaw out nicely, though I doubt I'll be able to resist eating them for long.

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