A Simple Method to Smoking Salmon
Tired of cooking the same food, day in and day out? Of course you are, which is why here’s something a little different that you can try out that’s not just exciting, it will brighten your mood and lighten those taste buds for both you and your family. Yes, we’re talking about smoking salmon in the easiest way possible.
Selecting the right salmon
Just like you have to select the right meat to cook a steak, you most definitely have to choose the right fish and there’s a few pointers to keep an out eye for when it comes to salmon variants. Some smoke better than others, while others, not so much.
While Keta salmon is preferred by food buffs due to its sheer size, there are other factors to consider as well. If a salmon is grown in a properly monitored water farm, these become excellent for smoking as they have a lot of fat content on them, making the smoking process easy as well as providing you with a juicy salmon to munch down on.
If a salmon is caught from the wild, which is also its natural habitat, it won’t have that many fat deposits and will cook faster. While it won’t be as tender, the taste after successfully smoking this salmon will be out of this world. Most importantly, if you don’t want your smoking process to go to waste, you have to make sure that the salmon you’ve purchased is fresh. To do that, you’ll need to smell it and investigate the eyes. If there’s an unpleasant smell emanating from the salmon or if the eyes don’t feature a ‘clear’ texture, it won’t be a fresh one, meaning that it won’t taste as good.
After you’ve chosen your preferred salmon, you’ll need to pick its bones out, which can be done by the fish monger, or by you, depending on your expertise on the matter. Next, we’re ready to start the next process.
Brining a salmon and its importance
Brining a salmon means to dip it in water to reduce moisture build-up, as well as improve the preservation process, not to mention adding flavor to the entire dish. To get started, you’ll need to mix together a solution of water, sugar, and salt, which will essentially become the base of the brine. Next, you can add any ingredients to the base, as per your preference.
- Soy sauce
- White wine
Let the ingredients dissolve properly and then, dip the salmon in the brine for a minimum of 8 hours. Some might even recommend a whole day of soaking, so if you believe you’re patient enough to wait 24 hours, that’s up to you. After the brining, take out the soaked salmon and keep it in the fridge while it continues to soak in there for at least 4 hours.
Letting the salmon dry
At this point, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to eat? Not yet, because you’ll have to let the salmon dry now, so place it on a rack with a high-speed fan blowing cool air to speed up the process. This step should take a few hours to complete, with the end result being that the coating should be both dry and sticking before moving onto the smoking process.
How to smoke salmon and what’s the best temperature to avoid overcooking?
Using alder, apple, oak or hickory wood, depending on your choice, prep your smoker to 225 degrees [F] and place your salmon on the smoker while adjusting the internal temperature. If you enjoy a tender salmon, the sweet spot is 140 degrees, and at this point, you’ll visibility see the fish sweating out the fat, with a red color forming on the outer layer.
Also, always keep a probed digital thermometer with you at all times to check the temperature at various intervals. To get an accurate reading, place the probe on the thickest part of the salmon.
As for the smoking process, it should take around 2-6 hours to complete, but that will also depend on the size and thickness of your salmon. As stated before, continue monitoring the temperature of the salmon; it shouldn’t go above 140 degrees to avoid overcooking.
At this stage you’re probably wondering that it’s now time to dig in right? Wrong, because for the best taste, you’ll have to let the salmon rest for a few hours before serving. Depending on its size, if there are any leftovers, it will last between 7-10 days in the fridge. In case you plan on consuming it in the near future, you can always freeze it, and its longevity will shoot up to 6 months.