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Worth the Effort Alder Smoked Salmon

Worth the Effort Alder Smoked Salmon
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This recipe is for a 5- 10lb Salmon, Pacific Pink or Atlantic species but will work with a whole Lake Trout or any larger fresh water fish. Although a lot more involved than most recipes, the result will be a wonderful slightly mahogany colored delicious moist fish. Set indirect heat for as close to 225 and work to maintain it, try not to go below 210 or over 250 and let the smoker do its job. Start with 2-3 cups of soaked alder wood chips or chunks spread on hot coals then when the smoke starts up, time to lay the fish on the grate with a half full water pan under to catch the drips and stop flare-ups. Its best to use a digital thermometer to ensure this and try not to lift the lid or open the smoker any more than you absolutely need to. Cooking time varies from 2-3 hours but when the flesh turns from translucent to opaque and flakes easily, take it off – let it rest – then serve.
Ingredients
  • Dry rub for BBQ grilling / smoking
  • (3/4) 1&1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • (3/4) 1&1/2 cup white sugar
  • (1/2) 1 cup paprika
  • (1/4) ½ cup kosher salt
  • (4) 8 tablespoons garlic powder
  • (2) 4 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • (2) 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • (2) 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • (1) 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • (1) 2 teaspoon cumin
  • (1) 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • (1) 2 teaspoon dried oregano, ground to a powder
  • (2) 4 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • (2) 4 tablespoons dried rosemary, ground to a powder
  • Vinegar Mop
  • 1¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅛ cup cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 slices of lemon
Instructions
  1. Dry rub for BBQ grilling / smoking ( 6 cup yield and double recipe)
  2. The dry rub recipe is for preparing much in larger quantities than required because it is my staple go-to rub for pork, chicken and fish, not very good as a beef rub and takes no longer to make a big batch than a small one that you’ll run out of. Just divide the recipe in half for the fish and see how you like it if you want, but believe me, you’ll be wishing you had made more when you try it on other meats and fish, grilled or smoked.
  3. Apply just enough to color the fish, don’t overdo it and cake it on or you will overpower the great natural flavor, about 4 Tablespoons per side and 2 Tablespoons on the cavity for a 6 lb Salmon. Set dry brined fish in the refrigerator 2-3 hours before smoking. This is much faster than a wet salt brine and imparts a wonderful slight savory sweet salty spicy enhancement to the flesh and kicks it up a notch.
  4. This dry brined smoked salmon will keep for 1-3 weeks refrigerated. however. There is no need to wet-brine the salmon as this rub will bring moisture to the surface which dries so you’re not steaming the fish and adds a little mahogany crust when finished smoking.
  5. Vinegar Mop
  6. After the alder smoke has died down or stopped, mix together the ingredients for the mop and gently brush on turning the salmon carefully. You can add more alder wood if you think you’d like more smoke flavor but I rarely do. Over smoked fish can be acrid and unpleasant. Try not to disturb the crust forming and apply lightly being careful not to break the salmon while turning. I mop it, then use a plate and large spatula to roll it over, then mop the other side. Then try to maintain the 225 temperature for another hour or two until the fish has finished smoking.
  7. Serve with potato salad, baked beans or chili and some green garden salad – your family and friends will have a taste experience that they are sure to remember.

 

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