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Wild Salmon Pastrami

Wild Salmon Pastrami

This recipe uses one of our favorite methods of preservation, and gives a delicious twist to traditional pastrami by substituting our wild caught sockeye salmon fillet. Such a unique and flavorful way to make salmon! Serve it for any occasion, fancy or not, this will be a crowd pleaser. A very cool addition to your boring old charcuterie board!

Wild Salmon Pastrami

Prep Time: 48 hours

Author: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

wild salmon pastrami


For the salmon pastrami

    • 1-2 lb Popsie’s sockeye salmon fillet
    • 1 cup citrus cure (ingredients below)
    • 1 bunch dill
    • ¼ cup gin
    • 1 tsp ground black peppercorns
    • ½ tsp ground juniper berries
    • ½ tsp ground coriander

For the citrus cure; Makes approximately 3 ½ cups of cure; cures up to 8 lbs of salmon

  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 1 large lime, zested


    For the citrus cure

    1. Mix all ingredients together and keep cold until ready to use. This cure is best when made right before using to retain fresh citrus flavor. It can also be made several days in advance.

    For the salmon pastrami

    1. Rub the fish thoroughly and generously on both sides with the cure over a sheet of parchment being careful not to waste any of the cure.
    2. The fish will release moisture during the curing process and to help drain, place a roasting rack on top of sheet tray and line the rack with scored parchment on top. Spread one bunch of dill on scored parchment. Next, place the salmon skin side up on the dill. Gather the cure that has fallen off the fish and sprinkle it back on top of the fish. Spread the other bunch of dill on top of salmon. Place approximately a 4-pound weight on the fish and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

    3. Remove from the refrigerator and take the weight off. Wash with gin on both sides then transfer skin side down to another sheet tray lined with a clean roasting rack and, once again, another scored parchment.
    4. Coarsely grind black pepper, juniper and coriander and evenly sprinkle over the entire filet.
    5. Refrigerate to dry out with good airflow for at least 4 hours or overnight.
    6. Unless you have a cold smoker I find a smoking gun is a very useful and inexpensive alternative. When ready to smoke, cover the entire tray with salmon filet still on it tightly with plastic wrap.
    7. Place the end of the smoking gun tube under the plastic. Give it a couple good blasts of smoke under the cover using manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the smoking gun tube while keeping plastic tightly sealed. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or until ready to eat. Wrap and freeze the filet to keep longer.

    Recipe Note

    The last two steps are not needed if you do not have a smoker. Lightly smoking just adds to the flavor but the cure alone is wonderfully delicious. 


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