By Randy Beck
Catch, clean and fillet your fish (try to remove all bones) then cut your fillets into 3 – 4″ chunks, remove skin, rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
Making the brine; there’s about 1000 different recepies but I like this one, it’s simple and easy to make. In a mixing bowl mix
1 – cup coarse (pickling) salt
4 – cups of brown sugar
1 – teaspoon of dry Keens mustard powder
1 – teaspoon of dry garlic powder
Place fish chunks in a tray, (preferably glass, steel enamel or plastic) and sprinkle dry brine mixture over fish chunks until totally covered, then cover the tray with plastic food wrap and place in fridge over night.
The next day remove the tray from the fridge and you will notice that all of the dry brine has turned to liquid brine, remove the fish chunks from the tray and rinse off all the brine with cold water and pat dry with paper towel, then leave fish chunks on counter (on paper towel) to form a slight glaze, this is called “pellicle” at this point the fish chunks are now ready to go into the smoker.
Pre-heat the smoker for approx. 15 min. then load your fish chunks on to the drying racks with the thicker fish chunks on the bottom and thinner pieces on top and place drying racks in smoker I normally use between 3 – 4 pans full of wood chips usually alder or apple chips. I find drying times will vary with the thickness of the fish chunks and the temp. of the smoker, but usually somewhere between 5 – 8 hours will do.
After the smoking/drying is complete, remove the fish chunks from the drying rack to cool for approx. one hour if you can wait that long then open a cold beer and enjoy your smoked salmon !