Mr. T's Smoked Salmon.


  • I copied this recipe from the Cookshack forum years ago. Mr. T. was one of the Contributors on that forum. This is a really good recipe. This recipe was made for use with the cookshack smoker. You may need to do some modifying with your smoker. The Cookshack smokers are wood stingy and 3 oz. of wood would be a good amount of smoke on salmon. These smokers also cook very moist so you may need to add some sort of moisture if your smoker is more on the dry side.

    Mr.T’s Smoked Salmon

    Salmon has always been one of my favorite items to smoke. All types of salmon have been in my smokers at one time or another. From the Kings and hard to find Sable Fish or Black Cod to the small Blue Backs always in search of that one recipe and technique that people would crave for. After over 20 years of experiments expressly working with salmon, they now say “Don’t screw with the recipe anymore” and yes I am going to share the very sought after recipe for the first time.

    My favorite salmon to smoke is the Sockeye. Its deep red color and texture seem to do well canned or kept in fridge. Although the Kings and Sable have a wonderful flavor the Sockeye is well accepted and more economical.

    Question: Should I use fresh or frozen salmon?

    Answer: Frozen, the ice crystals formed in the fish while frozen seem to aid in the brine absorption after thawing.

    Question: Should I get salmon with or without the skin?

    Answer: The salmon with the skin on works best. The fish has a tendency to fall apart more readily without the skin.

    How long do you brine?

    Answer: Some will tell you that 30 minutes to 2 hours will be sufficient. The shorter time is fine if you are going to cold smoke for sushi but that would be another thread. I brine from 16 to 24 hours depending on the size of fish. I find the texture is more firm with the longer brine.

    Question: Does it go into the smoker after coming out of the brine?

    Answer: No. Give it a quick rinse and pat dry. Place on a wire rack and allow to air dry until a pellicle has formed on the entire surface. This will take two or more hours depending on the humidity in your area. A fan blowing across the fish will aid in the time needed to form the pellicle. The pellicle will cause your fish or meat to have a shiny surface which will assist in smoke retention and also will help retain the fat in the fish.

    Question: What are the cream colored blotches I see on some smoked salmon?

    Answer: That would be fat that has seeped through the pellicle. No harm in eating it but for cosmetic purposes you may want to scrape it off after the fish has cooled.

    Question: Should I hot or cold smoke?

    Answer: Hot smoke for the ready to eat. Cold smoke for sushi or if it is to be canned, again that would be another thread.

    Question: How long do you smoke?

    Answer: It’s not the length of time but the desired temperature we are looking for. Smoke at 200° to an minimum internal temp of 145° in the thickest piece for a period of 30 minutes minimum (FDA,2001). Cooking temp may be lowered once fish has reached 145°. Store at a temperature of 38° or less ( FDA,2001).

    Question: What kind of wood should I use?

    Answer: Any of the light woods work well. The preferred wood I use is Alder.

    Question: How much wood should I use for one fillet?

    Answer: It’s always been my opinion that the smoker doesn’t know how much it’s holding. I use Approx. 3 oz. full or not.

    Question: What will the end result be and how can I use it?

    Answer: The salmon will be moist, neither dry nor juicy. It is not intended to be served as a main course. It’s intended to be used as a finger food eaten alone or as a snack on crackers and creamed cheese or as a mouse. It also has endless uses as a appetizer. Will definitely be a hit at any pot luck. Try different appetizer recipes and enjoy. It can easily be packed in a saddle bag or back pack and taken into the mountains. WARNING: Grizzly bears like both fresh and smoked salmon.

    Question: Would you share your brine recipe?

    Answer: Yes and I would be proud if you used it, and then let me know the results.

    Mr. T’s Smoked fish Brine

    Ingredients:
    ½ cup canning or Kosher salt, 5.1 oz. by weight.
    ½ tsp. Paprika
    1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 ½ tsp. cayenne
    1 quart water
    1 Tbs. garlic powder
    2 cups brown sugar
    4 bay leaves

    PH 4.1
    Sal. 84%

    Preparation:
    Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar has dissolved.
    Place fish in non reactive container with brine and completely cover. A zip bag works well at this point. If using a bag I overhaul or move the fish around two or three times during the brining period.

    That’s it. Any questions just ask. Have fun and enjoy.

  • Team Blue Traeger Canning Regular Contributors Veteran

    Idaho Smokey Thank You. Always looking for new/different ways to do smoked salmon. I do both hot & cold smoked salmon. Thanks again.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    Idaho Smokey Thanks for the recipe will give it a try next time I get some salmon.

  • Sous Vide Dry Cured Sausage Traeger Team Blue

    Man, so many recipes and so little time!!

  • Regular Contributors

    Dr_Pain said in Mr. T's Smoked Salmon.:

    Man, so many recipes and so little time!!

    I pity the foo…but really its so hard to keep up with these lately!

  • Sous Vide Dry Cured Sausage Traeger Team Blue

    Ridley Acres said in Mr. T's Smoked Salmon.:

    Dr_Pain said in Mr. T's Smoked Salmon.:

    Man, so many recipes and so little time!!

    I pity the foo…but really its so hard to keep up with these lately!

    You ain’t joking bro! I get on the board and BOOM another recipe that I want to try.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    Dr_Pain I have the same feeling, I would like to try them all right away but can’t. I am printing and keeping them in a three ring binder for later.

  • Team Blue

    That sounds really good

  • Team Blue Team Orange Masterbuilt Regular Contributors

    Copied that one to put in my recipe file. Something I will be trying.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt

    Idaho Smokey nice thorough post. Will add it to my list as well.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Idaho Smokey I don’t know what made you start posting more but I am glad you did!


  • Jonathon: I was really just here to read but saw a post about doing turkey and posted the recipe. Then was asked to add the recipe to the recipe forum. I have a bunch more Just ask.

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User

    Idaho Smokey just keep posting em. You’re doing great.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    Idaho Smokey Thanks for your posts, keep up the good work.

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