OK, this isn’t a true Sunday Suppers post as all the prep too place on Friday and Saturday but we definitely enjoyed the fruits of our weekend labor on Sunday. When I was coming up with our themed Thanksgiving meal, I decided Salmon HAD to be involved. It was either going to be an appetizer of smoked salmon and crackers or salmon chowder.
Micah liked the idea of smoked salmon so I started searching for recipes. We have actually have a smoker that Micah got a few years back on craigslist. It was new and only $30. One our best Craigslist scores ever. Turns out smoking salmon is actually fairly easy and cheap. All I needed was brown sugar, white sugar, pepper, salt and salmon. I picked up some salmon for relatively cheap at our local Filipino seafood store.
It took 15 minutes to put the cure rub together and get the salmon set in the fridge. I mixed 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 and about 4 tbsp. of cracked black pepper in a bowl. I cut two large pieces of salmon (so they are the same size), pulled out any pin bones and patted the fish dry. I set out a large piece of plastic wrap where I put a third of my curing rub down, my salmon skin side down and another third of the rub. I then topped my first piece of salmon with my second piece, flesh side down. Lastly, I covered the top with the remaining rub and wrapped my salmon up tightly in the plastic wrap. I wrapped the salmon parcel in aluminum foil, placed it on a old cookie sheet, weighed it down with two heavy books and put it in the fridge to cure.
I let it sit for 9 hours on one side before turning it over. Once 18 or so hours had passed, I rinsed off the salmon and let it sit in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) for a couple hours until it looked shiny and had a matte like texture. We then smoked it for a couple hours. We read that the smoker should be no more than 200 degrees which is hard to gauge in our smoker. We waited until the heat died down before we put the salmon in there. We ran out of heat before the salmon was fully cooked so we finished it in the oven. We cooked it at 200 degrees until the thickest part of the salmon registered at 160 degrees.
And that’s it. It’s that easy. I’m not trying to toot our own horns but the salmon is GOOD. Like really good. Like the best smoked salmon we’ve ever had. It’s flakey but moist and it melts in your mouth. I thought it was a little salty at first but it mellowed out by the second day. This may be one of our most successful projects yet.
We didn’t add any preservatives so it only keeps for 3 days unless you freeze it. We gave some of it to our friend Darik who traded us for bacon he recently cured and smoked at our house (that post is coming). The salmon is really versatile. We’ve had it on sandwiches, in a Salmon hash for breakfast and on it’s own. Really, it’s so tasty. We’ve got plans to make more salmon, package it with Momager’s food sealer and give it out as Christmas gifts.
So what do you think? Would give smoking salmon a try?