I have tried multiple ways to smoke salmon and the dry brine method is my favorite. It is much simpler, cleaner, and quicker than keeping your fillets in a gooey tub overnight. Not to mention, the taste is far superior.
What you will need:
- A smoker, alder chips, and salmon fillets (obviously).
- Dark brown sugar.
- Non iodized salt. I like to use coarse canning salt.
- Garlic cloves.
- Mixing bowl
- Tupperware type container for salmon fillets and brine.
1. Prepare the fillets
- Make sure you are using wild fresh salmon. Best is Sockeye or Chinook, but any wild salmon will do.
- You can cut them into 2-3″ wide strips or leave them whole if they are not too thick, and leave skin on.
- Slice diagonal lines into the fillets to allow greater brine penetration.
2. Prepare the brine.
- The ratio is 4 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of salt, 10 cloves of garlic.
- If you need more brine, keep the ratio the same.
- Mix in mixing bowl.
3. Brine the fillets.
- Cover the fillets generously with the brine mix.
- Stack in Tupperware starting with skin side down.
- Stack flesh to flesh, and skin to skin.
- Cover and let sit in fridge for approximately 6 hours.
- The container will turn into a gooey mess
4. Rinse and Rack
- Gently rinse coarse granules off fillets under the tap.
- Spray racks with non stick cooking spray like Pam. This will make removal later much easier.
- Place on rack.
- Let dry with good circulation for 6 hours to develop sticky top layer.
5. Smoker time
- Use smoker outdoors with nothing flammable in close proximity. Don’t use extension cord.
- Pre- heat smoker for 15 mins.
- Add alder chips and racks of salmon fillets.
- You can add chips to determine strength of flavour. Usually more pans of fresh chips at the beginning.
- Keep in smoker for around 6 hours. You can check earlier if you would like.
- The fillets always taste better the next day after cooling and sitting in the fridge.
- You can vacuum pack the smoked fillets to preserve them longer in the fridge.
- Some people use a blanket or a box over the smoker, but I never had good success with that method.
- I got this recipe from salmonuniversity.com