Smoked Salmon - light on sugar and salt

Brian_W

New member
Finding a recipie on the forum that doesn't use cups of salt and sugar was proving to be a challenge, until I ran across a post from K Kruger. I emailed him to get the details and he graciously responded with the recipie below. I used this on a 2 lb salmon filet smoked over apple wood:

Mix one cup plus 2 tablespoons of water with a scant 3 tablespoons Morton kosher (or a scant 4 of DC or a scant 2 of table salt), 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated onion, 1 tablespoon savory (if you don't have it use thyme), and 2 teaspoons each ground celery seed (not celery salt) gran garlic and black pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer 10 min, dissolving the salt and sugar. Remove to a bowl and add 3 cups cold water (ice the water first to speed cooling). Cool the mix to fridge temps. Add the salmon and brine 90 min or so. Rinse briefly, pat dry with paper towel, then air dry on a rack over a pan. It will get tacky when the pellicle forms.


For the rub: Start with Kosher (very little since the salmon was brined) the followed with Turbinado, savory, dill, garlic, onion, and celery. Everything is applied separately, one at a time, VERY lightly, especially the salt which should be very, very light. The others follow, lightly. You should be apple to see the salmon flesh when done. Press lightly into the flesh.


I Minion with a small amount of lit, maybe 8-10 tops. Have small pieces of wood - I used apple, in there before adding the lit, strewn about. Add the lit, assemble the cooker, then immediately load in the salmon. Smoke, letting the temps rise as they may for a bit, choking the vents when necessary. I just let it rise then choke and let the temps drift down. You can also just choke earlier and stabilize if you prefer. Doesn't really matter. Smoke till just cooked through but still moist (my preference), or longer if you prefer.
 
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Rob N

TVWBB Member
This recipe looks real good I would be interessted in what it looks like all said and done! What temp do you bring the smoker up to and keep? Also how long did your 2 lb salmon take to reach moist but cooked? Did you use some planks to lay the fish on? Sorry for the 21 Q's Ive just had some salmon fillets forever and wanted to try them on the WSM! Thanks a ton Brian. I like the low salt and sugar recipe as well!
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I don't really bring a temp up and hold it. When the temp nears 250 or so (I'm not particular, maybe lower or higher if I'm busy with other stuff), then choke the vents and let the temps drift down.

Timing depends on thickness of fish, ambient conditions, cooktemps, etc. Usually 1.5-3 hours depending on all these variables.
 

Chad_M

TVWBB Member
Just made this on Saturday for watching football with friends on Sunday and got several comments that it was the best smoked salmon ever.

I did it for 3 hours with 3 chunks of apple wood. The WSM ran around 200 for the first 2 hours, then around 240 for the last hour.




chad
 

Bill Rogers

TVWBB Member
Can someone shed some light on what is supposed to be done with the water bowl in this cook? Add water, which seems like it should be done with a 3 hour cook, or don't add water and foil it for a high(er)temperature cook (but for a 3 hour cook?)?
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I don't bother with water; I foil the pan. I Minion the cook with maybe 8-10 lit then let the temps rise. When in the mid- to upper-200s I choke the vents and let the temps fall slowly. At some point along the way down the salmon will be done.
 

Bill Rogers

TVWBB Member
Kevin,

Thank you for the response and the additional information. The salmon turned out great and I will definitely be using your recipe again!

Bill
 

Dennis T.

TVWBB Super Fan
What does it mean to "Minion with a small amount of lit, maybe 8-10 tops"? How much unlit do you use?

I'd like to give this a try. Sounds great.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
It means to start with the Minion Method, using 8-10 lit briquettes. I usually half at least a half ring of unlit in there - though I won't use that much.
 

Larry Corall

TVWBB Super Fan
I use pretty much this same recipe for salmon minus the savory. I've always (for over 30 years) used the water or maybe a little apple or cranberry juice and brined overnight before smoking. Last couple of times I've mixed my ingredients dry and have cured overnight. I've found that I like the curing process better than the brine.
 

r benash

TVWBB Emerald Member
Thanks for all the detail and sharing the results. Going to give this a try as I have the same sentiment the times that I have done salmon this way (too much sugar).

One question though in this statement - is the order AFA strength of the different salts correct? I thought it would be in the order of

Diamond Crystal, Mortons, Table Salt from weakest to strongest? I think Morton and DC are switched in the recipe:

plus 2 tablespoons of water with a scant 4 tablespoons Morton kosher (or a scant 3 of DC or a scant 2 of table salt)
Note from Moderator: This error has been corrected at the top of this thread.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Correct. Apparently I inadvertently reversed the two. It should read 2 T of table salt, or 3 of Morton or 4 of Diamond.

Note from Moderator: This error has been corrected at the top of this thread.
 

ryanburns

TVWBB Member
I have gotten the same response about the best smoked salmon ever before also. I think the thing that makes it so good vs. store bought is it's freshness. You just can't get that with some vacuumed sealed stuff from the store. Every year during the salmon run I smoke close to 20 pounds of it.
 

r benash

TVWBB Emerald Member
I have gotten the same response about the best smoked salmon ever before also. I think the thing that makes it so good vs. store bought is it's freshness. You just can't get that with some vacuumed sealed stuff from the store. Every year during the salmon run I smoke close to 20 pounds of it.
What you said. There's no way that I know of to match the experience of fresh caught within hours same day fish/shell fish cooks. Nothing, no how.

Do it every year - catch fresh do the "within hours cook" then save some of the catch for later.

NOTHING matches the cooks on that first hours later effort.

Only thing better is sushi on the boat. Seriously.

It' a seafood thing. It degrades quickly. Others smarter than me can perhaps expalin better.

That said, fresh caught cleaned quickly and saved seafood later on is the "second best' and will always be better than what you get at the fish counter.

And there are some fresh fish counters that I like, use and swear buy.

Just saying fresh/self caught seafood anything prepped, cooked, eaten within hours or less off the trip will ALWAYS be better - period. And nostalgia has nothing to do with it, except the self caught part - but leave that out and I stand by my statement.
 

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