Fish smoking has been a part of most maritime communities throughout the ages. Recognized in ancient times as an effective and delicious way to preserve salmon and other fish, it has continued to offer a valuable product in today’s societies.
How to Smoke Salmon
Wild-caught sockeye salmon is a favorite for smoking. Because salmon is a fatty fish (containing those healthy omega-3 fatty acids), it’s a particularly good fish for smoking: it’s those fats that absorb the wonderful flavors.
The salmon is soaked for several hours in a solution of kosher salt and water, sometimes with white or brown sugar added. The fish is then rinsed and set out to dry. Drying causes the fish to develop a pellicle, or skin-like layer of stickiness that attracts the smoke particles. Maple syrup, teriyaki sauce or pepper is often brushed on for additional tang, and the fish is smoked at a temperature of 120℉ or above for up to eight hours. Thus, because the salmon has been exposed to heat, it is considered “cooked.”
This process yields a rich red-brown, smoky, flaky, salty and satisfyingly chewy treat eaten just as is. But cut into small pieces, the smoked salmon tidbits make a signature difference when added to casseroles, quiches, soups, dips, pasta, egg dishes - the possibilities are endless!
Try this favorite family recipe to make your own Gin-Brined, Maple-Glazed Hot Smoked Sockeye Salmon.
Gin-Brined, Maple-Glazed Hot Smoked Sockeye Salmon
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup gin or vodka
Mix brine ingredients and add to ziplock bag with fillet of salmon.
Brine in fridge for 2 hours.
Optional: Remove from brine and leave salmon uncovered, overnight, in fridge to form pellicle.
- Place salmon on tray or rack in smoker and smoke for 2 hours at 200 degrees F.
- Brush with maple syrup 1/2 way through smoking.