D. & D.'s Smoked Salmon - 2005
Dale and Diane entered this smoked salmon in the Fishin' Club's annual Smoked Salmon contest at our last meeting.
Not only did they win, but this is the second year in a row that they have won, and this is a club full of salmon fishermen, all of whom have their own favorite smoked salmon recipes, in short, a REALLY tough bunch of judges.
There's a lot to doing a gourmet smoked salmon like this, but boy is it good!
Mini- Chief electric smoker
Alder and cherry chips
Non-reactive container for marinating
3 to 4 lbs skinless, boneless salmon fillets
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup dry Japanese sake
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 whole star anise
1 Tbs. whole coriander seeds
4 whole allspice berries
1 stick cinnamon - broken in pieces
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
Finely grind spices in a spice mill (I use a clean coffee grinder). Add to marinade and mix well in the marinating container. Cut across salmon fillet to get 2 to 3 inch wide chunks. Marinate salmon chunks for at least 12 hours, turning several times to marinate evenly. Keep refrigerated.
Spray smoker racks and drip pan with cooking spray before loading the marinated salmon chunks. Put the thicker pieces on the lower racks. Strain marinade to collect remaining spices and distribute these spices on the salmon chunks. Air dry the salmon on the racks until the surface dulls and no longer looks wet, approximately 60 minutes.
Pre-heat the smoker for 30 minutes with the empty flavor pan in place before starting the following smoking sequence:
START: Place filled racks into the preheated smoker and fill flavor pan with alder chips.
At 1 Hour: Dump ashes from flavor pan and re-fill with alder chips.
At 2 Hours: Dump ashes from flavor pan and re-fill with cherry chips.
At 3 Hours: Dump ashes from flavor pan and put empty pan back into the smoker.
At 4 Hours: Smoked salmon may be removed from smoker. At this point, the salmon will be quite moist in the thickest parts. Additional time in the smoker will produce a firmer, dryer texture. One additional hour in the smoker (5 hours total elapsed time) was given to the salmon entered in the Fishin' Club contest.
Wasabi Dipping Sauce (Optional)
2 to 3 Tbs. Wasabi powder (to taste)
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. water
4 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. honey.
Stir ingredients together in a small nonreactive bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate until use.
A couple of quick notes:
If your salmon smells fishy, it won't taste right smoked. Smoked bad salmon is still bad salmon. You can't "fix" bad salmon by smoking it. If it smells fishy, use it in a crab trap or something, and go get some good salmon.
Luhr-Jensen makes three different smokers, the Big Chief, the Little Chief, and the Mini Chief. They are a good product, made in the good old USA, and available, along with the chips, at Walmart.
The Mini Chief uses the same heating element as the Little Chief, so it gets a little hotter, and smokes a little faster. If you use a Little Chief, you may want to extend your times a bit. Air temperature and humidity will also have a large effect on smoking times.
It's not a bad idea to put the smoked salmon in a regular oven at 165 degrees for about 20 minutes, to kill any unwanted bacteria. You would want to allow for the additional cooking and drying this would produce.