Today, I smoked salmon. I LOVE smoked salmon, and I was very excited to try it out, since I now own a smoker. I started at about 11:00 am, with the already thawed salmon fillets.
The Salmon: Skinless frozen fillets from WalMart. Pretty cheap, and only about 3/4 inch thick at the thickest points. This was 1 lb (four 4oz portions).
The Brine: AKhap’s brine, found on this forum, here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/127170/hot-smoking-salmon-throwing-down-the-gauntlet. I used 1/4 of a gallon of water, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of non-iodized salt, boiled it, then cooled it. I brined the fillets for exactly 90 minutes.
After their 90 minutes in the brine, I rinsed them with cool water, and patted them dry. The fillets then spent 3 hours under the box fan at a distance of about 12 inches, blowing full-blast to form a pellicle. According to Wikipedia, A pellicle is a skin or coating of proteins on the surface of meat, fish or poultry, which allow smoke to better adhere to the surface of the meat during the smoking process.
Pretty awesome set-up, eh? Box fan over the laundry room sink. I assure you, the fillets didn’t come into contact with anything dirty, although it may appear otherwise.
Here’s one of the fillets once the pellicle had formed. See how it’s darker, shiny, and slightly more translucent on the outer layer?
Three hours under the fan formed what I imagine is a nice pellicle. I have no idea, really, as I just learned what a pellicle is, and this is my first smoking of salmon. It looks lovely to me.
They went into the preheated smoker at 140°F with hickory chips. The internal temperature of the fish was supposed to be 140°F, and it reached that temperature in a surprisingly short time – only two and a half hours. I brought them inside and set them on the stove to cool. Apparently, that white stuff oozing from the tops is another indicator that it’s ready.
I couldn’t resist, and I busted into one of the fillets when it was almost cooled down. The flavor is spectacular, but the pellicle is kind of tough. I am wondering what I can do in the future to prevent the tough pellicle. In any case, the endeavor was more than worth it, because it’s really delicious!
Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!