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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 08:28pm - Feb 15,12
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Location: Hammond, IN

Post Posted: 11:25am - Aug 12,19 
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I know, many of us like to smoke our salmon. Many guys here have their own ways they like to do it and some may not know how to do it or what the process is. I'd like to share my recipe and way of doing it.

To start you either use fresh or thawed salmon fillets cut into hand sized pieces. The fish needs to be brined. To make a brine use the ratio of 1 cup of water to 1 table spoon of NON IODIZED salt. It is very important that the salt is non iodized. Most times this is sold as what is called "plain" salt. Make enough of this salt water solution to cover your fish. You want to soak your fish in this solution in a non reactive container. Plastic or glass will do for the container. Place the container with the fish in it in the refrigerator over night to get a nice brine. At the same time the fish is soaking, you will also want to soak your chips for smoking. I use apple wood chips. The chips should also soak over night in a separate container.

After 24 hours remove the fish and rinse it over thoroughly. I sometimes resoak the fish for another 2 hours in completely fresh water to remove even more of the salt then re rinse.

Place the fish on a rack and so it can dry out a bit in the fridge for a couple hours.

The next step is to make a dry brine.

For this you need:

1/2 cup non iodized salt
2 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all of this up in a zip lock bag. Once it is all mixed up pack it on both sides of the fish pieces. Place the fish back on the rack for another 4 hours to dry out a bit. After 4 hours the fish should be tacky. This is the pectalin or "velcro" that smoke will adhere to.

Turn on your smoker and try to maintain a temperature lower than 70 degrees if possible. Load up the pan with your soaked apple wood chips. Place fish on smoking racks. Every so often make sure the pan has chips and is generating smoke. Add chips as needed. Checking every hour and a half to 2 hours should be good or as needed. Smoke the fish for 8 hours 40 minutes.

The fish will come out with a nice pink to red color and will look juicy. It's not water, rather the oils of the fish liquefied clear. The skin side will be golden. If you try this recipe you'll be glad you did!

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Joined: 09:27pm - Mar 12,03
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Post Posted: 01:09pm - Aug 12,19 
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Sounds like a winner! Liking the dry rub/brine after the soak,

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Post Posted: 06:35pm - Aug 12,19 
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thanks blackjaw, I'm gonna try it

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 08:50pm - Feb 2,08
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Location: yorkville

Post Posted: 07:40pm - Aug 12,19 
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Great detailed info on this,thanks!

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 02:23am - Dec 3,11
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Location: Highland Indiana

Post Posted: 04:36am - Aug 15,19 
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You mentioned lower than 70° that can't be right, did you mean 170?

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Chitown-Angler
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Location: Hammond, IN

Post Posted: 11:42am - Aug 15,19 
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No, I meant what I said. You can crank it up at the end. You want to smoke with as little heat as possible. If you smoke at a high heat you will not get the same results. Also, if you smoke at a higher temp the proteins in the fish contract faster making a white cream cone to the top. Smoking at a lower temp for a long period prevents this. The pictures I provided were of the end result of the process I described. I can understand why you thought I meant hotter, but no; this is the process.

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Joined: 03:32pm - Feb 19,08
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Post Posted: 01:12pm - Aug 15,19 
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Brine overnight

rinse & clean and put in the refrigerator with a battery fan all day to get the nice skin that the smoke holds on it


4 5 0o 6 6 pm same night :

I smoke at 120 for 2 hours
then 140 for 2 hours
then 170 for 2 hours

baste with pure maple syrup every hour



from an Alaskan guide years agl

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Chitown-Angler
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Post Posted: 02:29pm - Aug 15,19 
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Sounds good!

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Location: Geneva, IL

Post Posted: 05:53pm - Aug 15,19 
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Always like these threads and the sharing of information. I substitue a mixture of honey and habbaneros for the maple.

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Post Posted: 05:55pm - Aug 15,19 
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I don't do filets very often. I do steaks and chunks mostly, and Johnny Finn's Indian Candy which is a whole different procedure except for the smoking part. I like steaks the best, next to the Indian Candy.

For steaks and chunks I make up my brine recipe and soak them in a 5 gallon bucket in my cooler with ice bottles packed around the bucket and in the brine bucket. I soak them for 24 hours (12 hours for filets).

When I get home from work the next day, I immediately take the fish out of the brine, rinse, and place them on racks oiled with pam and placed atop my cooler. Then I get a charcoal fire going in my cheap offset smoker that I converted to a reverse return smoker. Once the coals are red I bring the fish out and place the racks on the smoker. It takes a bit for the smoker to get up to temp and by the time it does I have a decent pellicle formed and I throw a chunk of soaked Cherry wood on the coals in the firebox.

I maintain 150-175° for 6 hours. Every hour I add charcoal and a new wood chunk, and at the 5th hour I just add charcoal and go to bed. The fire peters out with the fish still on there and the next morning my fish is cooled and firm in my smoker and I take them off easily and refrigerate.

Pretty simple for a charcoal smoker and I've had people begging for more. I used the same temps and smoking regiment when I started smoking with my basic weber upright smoker. Never dry. Sometimes I glaze them with brown sugar and butter, and my favorite smoked fish is a Brown Trout. They have a buttery flavor to me. I also use a water pan in my firebox. I smoke the Indian candy the same way, and have actually smoked both candy and standard brined fish at the same time and both came out great.

Every smoker is different. What smoker are you using, Blackjaw? I don't think I could keep my smoker at 70 in the summer without continually packing ice in the barrel. Now I gotta figure out the ice to charcoal ratio :lol:

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Chitown-Angler
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Post Posted: 04:56am - Aug 16,19 
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I’m using a Lhur Jensen Little Chief. The basic idea is smoke at a lower temp and for a long period. Probably doesn’t have to be 70. Finish briefly with 160-170. The offset helps in cold smoking where as the heat and smoke are produced in one area and a pipe leads to another box, but that’s a whole other story.

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Joined: 02:23am - Dec 3,11
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Location: Highland Indiana

Post Posted: 11:30am - Aug 21,19 
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blackjaw wrote:
I’m using a Lhur Jensen Little Chief. The basic idea is smoke at a lower temp and for a long period. Probably doesn’t have to be 70. Finish briefly with 160-170. The offset helps in cold smoking where as the heat and smoke are produced in one area and a pipe leads to another box, but that’s a whole other story.


I understand cold smoking and I do have a separate smoke box connected by a pipe. The reason why I said 70 must be a mistake was that's even cooler than the ambient temperature during the day, how can I smoke at 70 if it's 85
outside? 70 degrees is just sitting on my counter in the air conditioning, not to mention how do you get wood to smoke at 70 if not using a separate smoke box??? Unless you mean 70 Celsius that would be around 160 Fahrenheit which makes sense.

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Location: Hammond, IN

Post Posted: 11:34am - Aug 21,19 
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ltrain wrote:
blackjaw wrote:
I’m using a Lhur Jensen Little Chief. The basic idea is smoke at a lower temp and for a long period. Probably doesn’t have to be 70. Finish briefly with 160-170. The offset helps in cold smoking where as the heat and smoke are produced in one area and a pipe leads to another box, but that’s a whole other story.


I understand cold smoking and I do have a separate smoke box connected by a pipe. The reason why I said 70 must be a mistake was that's even cooler than the ambient temperature during the day, how can I smoke at 70 if it's 85
outside? 70 degrees is just sitting on my counter in the air conditioning, not to mention how do you get wood to smoke at 70 if not using a separate smoke box??? Unless you mean 70 Celsius that would be around 160 Fahrenheit which makes sense.



Don't worry about it. Just smoke it as low as you can. The part of the recipe that can be changed slightly is the temp. I said 70 cause that is optimal, but just get it as low as you can. I'm currently in Florida and it has been 97 degrees here. I smoked my fish as low as I could for what it was. So don't worry about it too much. After 8 hours 40 min or 9 hours you'll be golden!

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