Salmon season is getting ready to kick off within northern California and hopefully, it should be a bountiful season. Salmon are a good fighting fish so, whether you are fishing the rivers or in the ocean, salmon are of fun to find. Oh, and by the way, they really taste great, and these are really good in order to. My Dad took me salmon fishing when I found myself 9 or 10 and I've looked forward to this time of the season ever since. Whether you smoke it or grill it, there's nothing compared to fresh caught salmon.
But now that you've got caught it, what now with it? I love to cut a few one inch steaks and fillet the remainder for smoking. Salmon is such a flavorful fish; I don't like to use too much seasoning. I choose to keep it simple; I don't want to drown out the flavor of the carp. So, when I grill salmon steaks, I brush coconut oil on both sides, add salt and pepper, (sometimes lemon pepper), and dill. That's it; the steaks are ready for the smoking.
You can make use of a gas grill charcoal grill, but either way it is advisable to pre heat your grill to medium heat. Personally, I'm an old charcoal die hard, not surprisingly when you pre heat my smoker grill to 325 degrees and it's time to start grilling salmon ham. But, remember, salmon cooks quickly, a single inch steak at 325 degrees should only take about 4 minutes a side. So, be sure and do not overcook it. When grilled properly, your salmon will be moist and flaky. When you pull it off the grill, serve it up. It's best when served sizzling.
As for smoking salmon at home, it's really not really that difficult. It's lots of fun and the finished product great. If you have a smoker grill and have never smoked salmon before, you really should give it a test. It's a lot easier than you might know.
The first thing you need attempt is make your brine. The easiest of brines contains water, salt, and sugar. Do not use table salt. Use kosher salt, or, better yet, canning salt. Mix 2 cups canning or kosher salt, and 2 cups brown sugar in 1 gallon water. There's lots of other substances that you can add, but I particularly flavor of the salmon so Time passes easy on the seasonings. Next, place your fish within a plastic or glass container, add your brine so the fish is fully submerged, and set up the refrigerator no less than 8 hours. You can go longer than 8 hours, but don't overdo it. The longer the salmon is inside the brine, the saltier it will feel. I usually let it go for 10 to 12 hours.
The next step is to air dry your cured salmon in a very good place. This is an important step in the smoking process. Since your fish dry's, you will uncover that a thin, sticky, lacquer like substance forms on the fish. This substance is called a pellicle, and this drying process should take about two hours.
With that done, you're ready to smoke your trout. So, fire up your smoker grill and pre heat to about 150 degrees. This is leaner than normal smoking temperatures for most meats. But, must take this activity salmon, and consult your to smoke salmon at higher the temperature. It will cook too fast. Next, you need include your smoke, but, you don't desire to overdo it. So, I wrap 3 handfuls of wood chips in aluminum foil, poke holes in the foil, and place it on top within the coals. Now, place the salmon on the grill, skin side down and let it sit alone.
Depending on the thickness of your fillets, the smoking process will take anywhere from about 1 hour, up to 4 hours for thick slabs. Once you have done this a few times, you'll get yourself a feel for when it's done. For now, use a thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Or, you can check it with a fork, when trapped getting flaky, it comes down to done. And it truly is done, pull them the grill, let it sit for 20 minutes or so, and be able to dig in.
So the the next time you get some salmon, fire up your smoker grill. Your friends and relations will love the steaks and I promise you, they will love the smoked salmon as well. Give it a try, you won't be sorry.