Friday, May 1, 2009

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

I know, I know. I'm corny but I really couldn’t help myself. Forgive me.

Anyhow, the weather here in Portland has started to warm up and I think Spring might actually be here. Today reached a comfortable 70F, and, more importantly, it was dry, which means I finally got the opportunity to use my new smoker*. I’ve been itching to smoke something, anything, but Mother Nature and I haven’t really been on the same schedule. I won’t even mention all the other distractions, which I like to lovingly call Real Life. Then everything just fell into place. I found myself with a whole Alaskan Sockeye, I had the time and Mother Nature was cooperating.



I used the brine recipe (scaled down for 2 pounds of fish) and smoke technique from Ed’s Kasilof Seafoods, for no other reason than that it looked easy. I’m pretty pleased with this first attempt. Even though there’s a lot of sugar in the brine, the result is not at all sweet, which is fine with me because I’m not a fan of salmon candy. If you’re looking for a sweeter flavor, you’ll need to play around with the salt-sugar ratio. I’m going to experiment a bit and see what interesting spice combinations I can come up with. Or maybe you have a favorite way to smoke salmon? Do share! I’m also hoping to share some of the ways I use smoked salmon in the next few posts, but I want to know how you enjoy it. Feel free to leave links to your favorite recipes in the comments.


*For those of you who have been following my gas vs. coal saga, I finally nixed the gas idea and bought a smoker instead. Technically it’s not new because I bought it at the end of the summer, but this is the first time I’ve used it for smoking, and I love it!

14 comments:

Manggy said...

Well done Darlene! I obviously don't have any tips for you (uh... people smoke here, but that's well beyond my means), but I'm eager to see what you produce! :)

QGIRL said...

Good job! I've never smoked anything.
Can't wait to read more about your smoking adventures.
We have a gas grill but I would love to get another one with coal or wood. Food just tastes better with a little smokey char!

Darlene said...

Thank you manggy! I've got a million ways to use them, but let's see how much time I have. Life's been pretty busy these days.

qgirl, this first attempt was quite an adventure. I got smoke in my eyes, which totally stings. I had tears running down my face as I'm trying to prepare everything. My neighbors have a clear view into my backyard, and they probably got a few chuckles in watching me figure things out.

Paula said...

Ooooh, love it! You're smokin! (I'd love for someone to say that to me ... in passing on the street or something! Ahem. Movin' on ...

I would love to smoke 'em if I had 'em, which sadly, I don't. :-( Your's looks terrific! Smoked salmon is a HUGE hit in my household; alas, I always have to purchase it. I'm so looking forward to your smoked creations!

Pam said...

You've got to get the Smoke & Spice Cookbook. It's wonderful.

Darlene said...

Pam, thanks for the tip about the book. I will definitely check it out.

pigpigscorner said...

Love the colour! I've never tried this technique before.

Barry said...

Caught your post via Tastespotting. You could always try adding aromatics to the smoker itself as opposed to the brine. Not 100% sure sure it would work but seems like it might based on my regular grilling experience. Your salmon looks perfect, by the way.

Joy the Baker said...

This would be gone in a matter of minutes if it were in my house. It looks just lovely! And I love a recipe that's not too sweet. Well played!

Darlene said...

Pigpigscorner, welcome back! I've smoked stuff a few times, but I usually use my neighbor's electric smoker. This time I used my new coal smoker. It requires a little more babysitting than the electric type, but the results are great.

Barry, thank you. you might be onto something with the aromatics. I used soaked woodchips for the smoky flavor, but I'll have to see the best way to introduce the aromatics without them burning away quickly. I'm also thinking next time I'm going to coat the salmon with crushed peppercorns at least.

Joy the Baker, thanks for stopping by. Smoked salmon is a favorite in our house as well. Even my 6 year old will fight for it :-)

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