Sunday, October 2, 2011

Smoked Salmon

I love seafood and I really enjoy salmon. It probably helps that I grew up in Alaska and we regularly fished for salmon, halibut, flounder, Irish Lords (sculpin) and clams. I remember one year my father and his hunting partner caught so much sockeye that my mom and dad not only canned and it froze it the whole week long, but smoked it and then canned it as well. Delicious!! There are many brining recipes out there but I have adapted a simple, basic recipe that suits salmon well.
Here it it adapted from Luhr Jensen.


1/3 C brown sugar
1/2 C non iodized salt
1 3/4 C soy sauce
1 C water
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp tabasco sauce
1 C dry white wine, or apple juice
Mix thoroughly to dissolve before adding salmon.

Cut dressed, chilled salmon into fillets, steaks or chunks. Brine in non reactive bowl overnight in the fridge. Rinse well, pat dry with paper towels, and place on drying racks for an hour or more until a tacky glaze coats the fish. This is important, because too many times I was impatient and wanted to get the fish in the smoker. It does not smoke as well and have the proper texture. It makes a difference, so don't rush it.

When it is tacky, preheat your smoker for 15 min.then load racks of fish into the smoker. Use 2-3 pans full of wood chips, refilling as needed. I like to use alder wood with salmon. Leave in smoker until drying is complete to your likeness. We like ours a little drier, so it may take longer. Of course, as the fish is drying, you want to make sure it is coming along okay, so be sure and sign up for quality control to taste test sample pieces throughout the drying process.

Now, very important if you want to can the smoked fish. Lightly smoke the fish before canning. By this I mean, use only one pan full of wood chips and only smoke for about 1 hour. Salmon that is cut into steaks work best for packing into canning jars.Then pack the fish into 1/2 pint jars and process for 1 hour and 40 minutes at the pressure for your altitude. You see, I have canned up smoked salmon that was completely smoked, cooked and done. After canning, it came out like little smoked rocks of salmon. My husband gnawed on them and told me how good they were, but really?? Anyway, it did not go to waste, but I have learned that when the directions say to lightly smoke before canning, do just that. If you would like more detailed info to brine and smoke salmon, please let me know.

I have some salmon in the smoker, and the salmon from the first pan full of chunks is in the canner. I have eight 1/2 pints of smoked salmon,and three 1/2 pints of plain salmon in the canner, and some salmon in the freezer, plus I am waiting to sample the fish in the smoker. Yum, yum, I can hardly wait!

Thank you to Shar and Johnnybgood for following my humble little blog. I appreciate your reading my blog and your comments.


  1. Howdy - I just found your blog and have been enjoying reading the back postings. Smoked salmon caught my eye. My Hubby and I salmon fish(chinook) here in NoCal. And one of my duties is to smoke a large batch for us and the family/friends that smell the smoke. Your brine is so close to the one I use, I had to comment. I've made this so many times that now I just dump, a little of this and a lot of that (wine) but it always comes out wonderful. One tip I have is don't go visit the grandkids and leave the smoker may get a little tooooo dry. Ended up being good for salmon pate'.
    Looking forward to following along in the future.


  2. Herdog,

    Don't you just love smoked salmon? I like to tweak my basic brine, too. I've left the smoker on a bit too long before and salmon can really dry out fast. Another tip, don't start the sprinkler on the lawn when the smoker is within water distance!

    Thanks for reading my blog!


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