Smoked Salmon at Home

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

Foods have been preserved with smoke since before recorded history. In all cultures, people have relied on the smoke-curing of fish and meat for long-term storage. Packed as dried smoked products, fish can travel great distances and remain edible for long periods of time. Today smoking fish and meat is still common in less developed countries where transportation and  extreme climates may be a factor.  In developed countries where refrigeration and transport of fresh products has a major role, smoking fish has now become a luxury, a way to impart a pleasant mild smoky flavor for your palate.

Buying smoked salmon at the grocery store can be costly. Not all smoked fish is expensive, but you can smoke salmon or any fish, right on your Brinkmann charcoal grill at home.

Here is a basic recipe for smoked salmon:

Make a brine of 4-6 c water,  1\2 cup to 3\4 c salt & 1\2 c to 3\4 c brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Place in a non-reactive container.

If you are using  fillets of salmon, you may have pin bones to remove. Run your finger tip against the grain of the fish and you’ll feel them if present. They are spaced  pretty evenly, every ¼ inch or so along the bottom of the fillet. Pull them out with a clean, food grade needle nose pliers.  Rinse the fish under cold running water and slip into your container of brine, flesh side down. Cover  with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the fridge for 6 hours.  Overnight in the fridge is fine but  it may  make the fish more salty.

Set up your charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Pick what kind of wood you’d like to use for smoke. Soak your chips, place on your lit charcoal. Place salmon, skin side down on the oiled grate. Place grill lid so that the air vents are directly over the fish. This will create a funnel effect drawing more of the smoke over the fish.

Your salmon will be done when the thickest part of the fillet flakes with a fork. You can  smoke for 3 to 4 hours and stay toward the longer side when the fish is particularly moist, but you can have edible fish in 2 hours or less. Add more charcoal & wood chips as needed.

Smoked salmon is great warm, but even better cold. It will last a while in the fridge if you can manage to keep it that long.

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3 Responses to “Smoked Salmon at Home”

  1. I just can not wait to watch the superbowl in a couple weeks. I hope the Packers will probably dominate.

  2. wigelnyatt says:

    That remains to be seen. Can’t wait for the Superbowl menu!

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