Smoked Salmon

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:  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!

19 Responses to Smoked Salmon

  • That almost doesn’t look like fish but it still looks very delicious!

  • If you continue showing us your smoked foods, especially the salmon, I’ll need to install a sump-pump in my mouth. Stop it, I love it!

  • Drool is right. Looks wonderful!

  • Wow, that does look good. And now I know what a pellicle is, in case I am ever on Jeopardy.

  • Chris – You’ll be home next week. There will (hopefully) be some left, and you can certainly try some!

  • Uncle Doug – You’re welcome to stop by and share in the wealth, too! That smoker is an amazing thing! I love it.

  • Janet – It’s super amazing. I’m throwing together some pasta using the salmon tonight. YUM!

  • Catherine – That was my take on it, too…and I frequently think maybe I should be on Jeopardy, so I can actually DO something with all the useless knowledge in my brain.

  • If you’ll meet me in New York or Montreal (best bagels) with that, I’ll bring the capers, cream cheese and red onion. Promise?

  • You’ve got it, Jeff! – But wait…what about the Dijon mustard?!

  • Cactus McHarris has the right idea. Even the thought mmmmmmmm

  • Mmmmm! They look so good. I had smoked Salmon only once and my mouth waters automatically when I think about it. Keep smokin.

  • Lorraine – Yes, he does. It’s not quite the texture of lox, but the flavor is much the same. 🙂

  • Aunt Marcy – Only once?! How can such a tragedy exist? Eat more smoked salmon! It’s so good!

  • Dad and I can truly say, because you shared with us, that this is right up there with other memorable food experiences! The salmon was perfectly done and so delicious.
    Thanks for a terrific treat!

  • John (AKA ‘mom & dad’) – You’re certainly welcome. Did you try it on a bagel with cream cheese and all the other fixins?

  • Yes, that would have been great. The only thing we had available was Ritz Crackers and the salmon was delicious on them. Next time we’ll have the fixin’s ready.

  • The salmon looked really good, but I dont like fish unless it is cod, lobster tail and abaloney. You are getting to be quite the cook. Keep it up!!! 🙂

    • Wow, sorry I never replied to this, Nancy! I love learning new things, and cooking is one of my favorite things to do, since the rewards are so…well…rewarding. And delicious. 🙂

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