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A luxurious treat that is delicious on its own or enjoyed with crackers, in a dip, or added to Stuffed Eggs, smoked salmon is easier than you think. It's tender, smoky, and yes, it's worth it when you make it yourself.
This leads you to prepare smoked salmon step by step; if you have a smoker, you're on your way. With this recipe, you can make your own smoked salmon with a garden smoker. It is a hot smoking process, but the smoking temperature is kept to a minimum for maximum texture and velvety flavor.
Unlike cold-smoking, which subjects the salmon to a very low-temperature, long-term curing and smoking process, hot-smoked salmon can be smoked over the course of an afternoon, which is ideal, especially if you're hungry.
If you have a smoker who is just asking you to dust off and a wonderful slice of sockeye salmon, there is no better time than now to learn how to transform it into a delicacy, this very weekend.
What type of salmon do you need to make smoked salmon?
Any salmon or salmonoid will work with this technique: wild salmon, Steelhead, trout, sockeye or coho. You can also smoke farmed or wild salmon, caught online. It is entirely up to you. The skin is preferable to the skin.
Depending on how big your smoker's chamber is, you may want to fill your smoker with as much fish as you can afford. You can always vacuum seal the rest or freeze it. And it is always a good gift.
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What is a smoked salmon movie?
A movie is something smokers strive for. Have you ever been to a Jewish deli or fish market, and seen the pieces of shiny smoked fish on display? That glossy finish is the film. Forms a seal that retains moisture and attracts smoke flavor. The stronger your film, the smoother and smoother your fish will be.
The trick to making a good movie is to let the fish dry once it is rinsed. Some smokers swear by using a small electric fan to blow the fish onto the grill as it dries.
What you need to smoke salmon:
This is what you need to convert fresh salmon into freshly smoked salmon. (By the way, if you feel like you can't live without something here, buying through the links helps to administer this site, so thank you very much!)
- A smoker This smoked salmon recipe is made by one of the undisputed champions, the old and old WSM or Weber Smokey Mountain. Use regular charcoal or briquettes, and wood chips. You can make smoked salmon in a Traeger, Big Green Egg, Pellet Smoker, or Electric Smoker, as long as you can control the heat and keep things nice and low. There are a few tricks to getting low heat with a charcoal smoker, below.
- Wood chips. Adding hardwood chips increases the flavor of smoked meat. Cherry, walnut, and alder wood work very well with salmon. Apple wood is wonderful too!
- A coal fireplace. Like this. Indispensable for roasting, smoking, everything. The lights come on perfectly, always, without starting. All you need is a match and a couple of sheets of newspaper.
- An instant read probe thermometer. Make sure it's reliable, like this one.
- A cooling rack. A cooling rack will help dry the fish before smoking, and will be useful for chilling the fish once it comes out of the smoker.
- Plastic or glass container. Those large, shallow food storage containers work best because they fit easily in the refrigerator and can be stacked on top of each other. You can also use a shallow glass pan for baking.
- Salt. Buy a large box of kosher salt, such as Morton's salt or Crystal Diamond. Ordinary table salt will work because it has anti-caking agents that will give salmon a bad taste.
- Brown sugar. Simple brown sugar is an excellent dry brine when mixed with salt.
- Maple syrup. Royal Maple Syrup is an excellent spray liquid for salmon, if you want to add something sweet to smoked salmon. Honey works too. You don't need to bathe it, just put it there in case you can't control yourself.
- Spray brush. In case you feel the need to spray, a spray brush is helpful.
How to make smoked salmon:
First, make a smoked salmon brine, which will help remove some of the moisture from the salmon and help preserve it. This is a super easy dry brine that is ready in seconds.
Look for a shallow glass baking dish or food-grade plastic covered container, something large enough for the fillet to fit comfortably. To make the brine, mix together the brown sugar and salt, and liberally coat both sides of the salmon. Don't worry about the amount of salt and sugar. After the brine does its thing, it is rinsed.
Then cover the plate with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Salmon needs brine for at least 24 hours.
After that, rinse the brine from the fillet. Use cold water and be sure to rinse the salmon well.
Then dry both sides of the fish with paper towels. The next step is important; it involves letting the fish dry and developing a film. A film is a thin, glossy layer that builds up protein that helps absorb the flavor of smoke during cooking. The ideal place is a cool and fresh room. Don't worry about spoiling; you just need to dry the salmon for 2 to 4 hours. The longer you leave the fish out, the better your movie will be.
If you plan to smoke right away, go ahead and light your smoker. If not, wrap the salmon fillet and store in the refrigerator until ready.
Once you've reached the ideal temperature for smoked salmon, 120-150 degrees, go ahead and place the fish on the racks. At this point, if you have one and feel like using it, you can place the steak on a soggy cedar board. It will act as a heat absorber and will also facilitate removal.
Gentle heat is very, very important for smoking salmon. If your smoker is too hot or heats up too quickly, muscle fibers will contract and squeeze out moisture. Have you ever seen grilled salmon with frozen white liquid on the surface? It's called albumin, and it's there because the coals are too hot. While eating is okay, it generally means that the fish is overcooked and therefore dry.
While a little albumin is fine, the goal is to avoid it using low, gentle heat.
Smoke the salmon at low temperature for about three hours, drizzling with maple syrup and a brush every hour, if you prefer.
Once you finish smoking salmon, remove it from the smoker and allow it to cool for an hour before storing it in the refrigerator. Smoked salmon will be kept for 10 days. If you vacuum seal it, it should last up to three weeks. If you freeze smoked salmon, it will stay for up to a year.
How to light a charcoal smoker for smoked salmon:
Smoking salmon is technically a "hot smoke" technique, but unlike ribs, tripleheads, or chicken, you don't want high heat temperatures, even 200 degrees is too high for fish. The key here is to use less fuel than you normally would and keep some of the vents closed to avoid heat spikes.
The secret to constant smoker temperature is a foolproof getgo setting. Here is a foolproof way to light a charcoal smoker like the WSM using a low heat fire. It is a modified version of the technique called the Minion method, which is named after barbecue master Jim Minion.
Expose the charcoal grill. First, remove the cylindrical part (center section) of the smoker, exposing the rounded bottom of the smoker, the lower charcoal grill, and the fire ring, also known as the charcoal chamber. Make sure these areas are relatively clean and ash-free.
Dump the briquettes. Then pour the unlit charcoal briquettes into the ring of fire. Because you don't need a lot of heat, you don't need a lot of charcoal, maybe half of what you would need for smoked turkey or ribs. Drill a hole in the center of the briquettes with your hands.
Get the hardwood. If you go for hardwood chunks for extra flavor, toss one or two medium to large dry chips on top of the coals on the bottom rack, preferably near the vents, to create a little more smoke. Wood causes temperature spikes, so don't overdo it here. (Just use one or two chunks, but don't bury them deep in the coals – meat takes the flavor of smoke better when it's raw and fresh; once it starts cooking, the smoke can make the meat bitter.)
Close the vents. Most of the time, the Minion method relies on fully open vents for maximum air and heat circulation. However, for smoked salmon, the goal is to keep the heat very low. You can open them up a bit only when you need a little more heat later.
Use a fireplace starter. Then add only about 10-12 briquettes to the chamber of a chimney starter. Fill the bottom with paper according to the instructions and the beginner light.
Orange coals is. Once the briquettes on the starter are bright white and orange on the inside, they are ready. When that becomes apparent, pour them into the hole you made in the center of the carbon ring. These shiny coals will gradually light up the surrounding coals; that's what will hold the temperature. Those closed / cracked bottom vents will keep things under control.
Reassemble the smoker. Then put everything back together. Return the part of the smoker cylinder to the bottom of the smoker.
Fill the tray with water. Now is the time to fill the water tray. Open the smoker door and fill the pan about 3/4 of the way with water.
Close it. Then close the door; Then double check and make sure the vents are in the correct position: one broken, two closed. Finally, put the lid on the smoker and keep the vent half open. Chances are, you leave the vent on the lid on like that during all the smoke.
Sit down and wait. Wait until the smoker reaches 5-10 degrees beyond the temperature you need, around 165-175 degrees, and then close the cracked bottom vent. The temperature should stabilize and eventually drop slowly. When it gets too cold, reopen the vent to warm it up and close it when it reaches temperature. Repeat as needed, turning the cracking vent to burn even the coal.
Help! My smoked salmon has white stuff everywhere! I ruined it?
Not at all. Smoked salmon albumin is harmless. All it means is that the smoker got too hot, too fast. The salmon will still be delicious, if a little dry. Crumble it and enjoy it with a bit of mayonnaise, like tuna salad.
You can always play around with the vent and charcoal settings in your next round. Smoking is an art, not a science, after all!
A luxurious treat that is delicious on its own or enjoyed with crackers, in a dip, or added to stuffed eggs, smoked salmon is easier than you think. It's tender, smoky, and yes, it's worth it when you make it yourself. Kitchen: American Preparation time: 3 hours Cook time: 3 hours Cooling time 1 day Total time: 1 day 6 hours Servings: 10 Calories: 234 kcal
- 3 pounds salmon skin fillet in
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- Place the salmon fillet on a glass or nonreactive plastic plate that is large enough to accommodate it.
- Mix the brown sugar and salt and rub liberally over the salmon on both sides.
- Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- After 24 hours, rinse the fish thoroughly with cold water to remove sugar and salt.
- Lay the fish on paper towels and pat dry on both sides.
- Transfer the fish to a cooling rack on a clean baking sheet, skin side down, and let it sit at room temperature for 2-4 hours to dry. You should develop smooth, shiny skin and feel firm to the touch.
- Once the salmon has developed the skin, called the film, you can put it back in the refrigerator until you are ready to smoke.
- When the smoker has reached a temperature of 150 degrees, place the salmon directly on the grill.
- Smoke the salmon for about three hours making sure to keep the temperature very low, around 130-150 degrees.
Calories :: 234kcal
Smoked Recipe Salmon