As far as I know I’ve been eating smoked fish mostly mackerel and milkfish and they were store bought. Now that me and my husband do a lot of chartered salmon fishing, why not try to preserved them differently. Smoking fish sounds intimidating and lot of work, considering there are different types of smoking. But hey why not, it’s summer and just perfect time to bring that smoker out and a good reason to have an outdoor party.
Smoked salmon is always delicious when made from fresh and high quality and you can’t get wrong to smoked a wild caught salmon.
With this recipe, you’ll probably not buy a store bought smoked salmon again.
- 1 whole salmon fillet (around 5 to 7 lbs)
- 1 quart cool water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
Optional (feel free to add other spices/ ingredients if you like. Add these to your taste.)
- 1/4 tsp black ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 dry bay leaves
- Prepare the brine. Mix together the sugar, salt, water and you other optional ingredients. Whisk and incorporate thoroughly and dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Cure the fish. Place your fish in a non-reactive container (plastic or glass). Pour the brine enough to cover the fish. Cover and refrigerate it for 8 hours. For think salmon fillet might need more than 8 hours in the brine but never go more than 36 hours or the fish will be too salty.
- Dry the fish. Take your fish out of the brine, rinse it with cold water and pat it dry. Set the fillets on cooling rack, skin side down. Let the fish dry for 8-12 hours in the fridge to develop shiny skin called pellicle.
- Smoke the fish. Place the fish directly on rack sprayed with oil to prevent from sticking. Start with small fire and work your way up as you go.Start the process with temperature between 100°F – 150°F for about 2 hours and finally 175°F for another 1 hour or so until the internal temperature of fish reaches 135 – 140 F.