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Quick & Easy Gourmet: Salmon recipes

By John Bäck
Published: November 8, 2010
Photo by John and Tanya Bäck
Easy Smoked Fish

Here is a basic wet brine, hot smoke recipe that works perfectly for salmon or rainbow trout:

1 cup of kosher salt (Always use non-iodized salt; if you use iodized salt the fish will have a metallic taste after smoking)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 quarts of warm water
5-6 pounds salmon or trout fillets, cut into 6-8 ounce servings

➊ Using 3 quarts of warm tap water, dissolve the first 5 ingredients in a non-metallic glass or plastic 9x13-inch high-sided pan. Place pan in the refrigerator until water has cooled.
➋ Place your fish skin side up in the dissolved brine and put in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
➌ After brining, rinse the fillets with cold water, pat dry with paper towels and place on wire racks for approximately 2 hours to air-dry (a fan may be used to speed up the drying process if you wish). After 2 hours, a tacky glaze called a “pellicle” should form on the fish, keeping moisture in and contaminants out.
➍ At this point I add some Cajun spice blend or fresh, cracked black pepper – you may want to omit both depending upon your taste.
➎ Spray the grill grate with a non-stick oil (this will keep the fish from
sticking). Then fire up your smoker.
➏ Place fish on grates skin side down and begin smoking. A good tip is to keep your smoker’s lid slightly ajar for the first 1½ to 2 hours of the smoking process. This allows the fish to partially “cold smoke” and concentrates the smoke flavor. After 1½ to 2 hours of cold smoking, secure the lid and continue smoking for another 1½ to 2 hours, checking frequently and adding extra wood chips when necessary. Your smoker needs to be heated at a constant temp of 145 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit during the last 1½ to 2 hours for safety purposes as it kills any bacteria and ensures a dry fish.

After smoking you can use a vacuum sealer to preserve the fish for up to a month in your refrigerator or 3 to 4 months in your freezer. However, a zipper-top bag may be used for shorter periods of storage.  

Photo by John and Tanya Bäck
Smoked Salmon Dip

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
10-12 ounces smoked salmon, minced
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
¼ cup fresh dill, minced (can substitute with 1 teaspoon of dried dill)
1 cup of chopped green onions
Pepper to taste

➊  Mix together in a non-metallic bowl and then chill in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
➋ Serve with warm rye bread toast points or, really, any cracker you can find.
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