This is a super easy recipe for semi-cured smoked salmon. The result is a lox like salmon product.
The dry brine is simple, 4 parts dark brown sugar to 1 part kosher salt (must be non-iodized salt) and whatever seasoning you would like to try (to your taste), i.e., granulated garlic, granulated onion, spice mix, etc., but the seasoning(s) MUST not contain any salt. Put all of the ingredients together and mix well. You will need to decide how much dry brine to mix based on how much salmon you are preparing.
You will need to use a non-reactive container for the brining process. This means most metal containers of any type, except stainless steel, should not be used. You can use glass or plastic with no issues. I personally use Ziploc bags because they are easy to use and dispose of after the brining process is complete.
Make sure that you remove all bones from the salmon, then rinse and completely dry the salmon (I use paper towels).
Very liberally coat the salmon on all sides with the dry brine mixture, and put into your brining container. After all the salmon is in the container, tightly cover and put into the fridge for up to 6 hours. The timing of the brining process will depend on how thick the salmon is. You can see the brining process happening, as the dry brine turns to liquid, as it pulls moisture out of the salmon. The reason I use Ziploc bags, is that I can easily turn the bags over a few times during the brining process.
The longer you brine the salmon, the firmer the end result product will be. My suggestion would be to never go over 6 hours with the salmon in the brine. I don't have a "perfect" number for the amount of time to brine, as it all depends on the thickness and the consistency of the salmon. You will have to try the process and practice to get your preferred end product.
Once you determine the brining process is complete, remove the salmon from the brine and gently rinse all remaining brine residue from the salmon under cool running water, and completely dry (I use paper towels).
Lay the salmon on racks (I use cookie cooling racks) and allow to air dry. Doing this air drying process allows the salmon to form a surface pellicle. This will explain the pellicle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellicle_(cooking). The length of time that it takes to form the pellicle depends on how thick the salmon is. This could take up to 4 to 6 hours depending on the environment, etc.. Once the pellicle starts to form, preheat your cooker to 200 to 225 degrees, so that it is hot and ready for the smoking process.
After the pellicle has formed, lightly season the salmon (if desired), remembering that whatever is used as the seasoning must NOT contain salt, and put it on the smoker to cook. Cook the salmon until it has an internal temperature of 145 degrees in the thickest part of the salmon.
To preserve the salmon, when doing a larger batch, vacuum seal and freeze.
I will have to try this, Herb. This is almost exactly what I do except I don't wait to form the pellicle. I'll have to see the difference next time I do this.
Diverreb1 wrote:Looks good.... Do you thin slice it as you would with Lox?
You must really love this stuff from the amount of fish you smoked....
Thanks... Can't wait to try it....
That's one of the reasons I picked the 480... If I went bigger I would have ended up cooking for the whole neighborhood.... This way I only do it for half.
There is no need to do this in a Yoder. This "concept" came from other cookers that have a "smoke" setting. Yoder cookers were designed to provide the perfect thin blue smoke at all temperatures. Basically this "smoke" setting causes an unclean smoldering fire, which puts out a more dense opaque smoke, which contains unburned wood solids and creosote that is deposited on the food. Perfect thin blue smoke contains no unburned wood solids or creosote, and is just the gas produced from a properly aspirated, clean burning fire.
I did a couple salmon two different times last week. Used a very similar brine. First batch I brined for about 12 hrs and the second batch about 20hrs.
It seems that it didnt get more salty with the longer brine. wasnt too dried out either. Makes it easy to brine overnight or one evening and smoke the next evening.
For the smoking process I smoked it at 160-170 for about 3 hours with the thicker fish in the 120s by the end and thinner ones in the 130s.
Then i bumped the ys640 up to 225 and pulled it off when they hit 145.