Discussion in 'Recipes, Storage and Preparation of Seafood' started by Rain City, Nov 13, 2017 at 4:06 PM.
Recipe to follow... my hands are sticky.
So I started with a bus tub 3/4 full of frozen fillets. I cut them into 5/8"x 5/8" strips - the entire length of the fillet - minus the tail portion. I cut off about 3" from the end to make more consistent strips. Make sure the salmon is fully defrosted or it will stop the brine from fully penetrating.
For the brine I've tried it all, wet, dry, spicy, salty, sweet and even boozy. This is the best, and simplest, I've ever done. I took 4 - 1kg bags of demerara sugar and added 1/2 kg of kosher salt. Mix it up well and start layering. Layer of dry brine mix, strips of fish, layer of brine, repeat. Easy peasy.
I let the brine do its thing in the fridge for 6 hours. Pulled it out of the fridge, gave the now syrupy mixture a toss to get all the solids off the bottom and back in the fridge for 6 more hours. Now I've tried brining from anywhere between 24 and 36 hours with a candy style brine (more sugar than salt). I know you can brine for as little as 30 minutes with a 50/50 mix, especially when hot smoking. Because I use so little salt and because I smoke at a lower temp I like to make sure I get at least 12 hours. This attempt was the least I've done and I'm much happier with the end result. Candy-like outside with a moist inside.
Now I know there's a lot of debate about rinsing but again, I've tried it all. The theory that not rinsing creates better pelicle (the shiny coating that forms after drying) is just not true in my opinion. All I've found is that it creates a SALTY end product. I know some guys like it salty and dry but I'm going for something that is a little more edible without a dozen beer. Not that that's a bad idea. So YES PLEASE RINSE THOROUGHLY. I promise you can add flavor later.
So now I transfer the long strips to my racks. Why I recommend as long of peices as possible is so they don't fall through your racks. I made that mistake the first time, never again. I load all the racks into my 28 cubic foot smoker. I REALLY want to tell you all about the custom smoker I built but I could write another novel about that. So as I was saying, load your 12 oven racks into your stainless steel lined 28 cubic foot dream smoker and leave them to dry for 12 more hours. I leave a small fan at the bottom of the smoker and leave the door open a crack to promote better drying. It was warm last night so I took 4 bags of ice in a big pot and put it at the bottom of the smoker to keep things below 36 degrees. It was 44-46 outside overnight last night and the ice did the trick. I checked it with a fridge thermometer hanging inside.
So it's now been 24 hours since I started processing the fish. Started filleting at 9 AM Sunday. Out of the brine and on to the racks and left to dry before bed. Up at 9 AM Monday to start the smoke.
Out comes the ice. In goes my smoke making deal, it's this mesh box that holds sawdust and just smolders for 4-5 hours and creates very little heat. So I keep the temp between 80-110 for the first 4 hours. Every hour I open it up and mop on a 50/50 mix of maple syrup and water, that's it. Add ginger and bourbon and garlic and spices and msg or whatever the hell else you want but that's your call...KISS. The last two hours I gradually bring the temp up to 150 and keep it there for at least an hour. I pull the fish off the racks and into a bowl, hitting it with fresh cracked black pepper as I go. This year I packed it all into 4-5 peice bags so I don't have to give my friends so much. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
That looks amazing.
x2 great colour on the smoke , i used to load up vac bags to and realized this is gonna go fast with 5 in a vac seal package ,now ones and two's .
I saw your pics yesterday, looks perfect. I think next time I might try portions like that.
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