Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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MMMM Smoked Salmon

Kristen MonroeOne of the best things about catching Lake Michigan salmon is getting to eat it later.  I was lucky to bring home 14 pounds of it last week. My favorite cooking techniques for salmon is of course, smoking it.  My husband and I have smoked salmon three times with different brines each instance.  Capt. Bob Bachler shared his favorite brine with me.

Brine

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup canning salt (non-iodized salt)
  • 1 jar seafood seasoning
  • Mixed with 1 gallon of cold water

We let the king salmon soak in the brine for 24 hours in the refrigerator – a 40-degree temperature works best.   Then we pulled it out of the brine and dried it for 3 hours.  You know it is ready to smoke once you see a whitish film form on the meat – that's called the pellicle. Last, we smoked it until the salmon reached a flakey texture before it developed the curds on the top.  It took about 5 hours while maintaining a 140- to 150-degree heat.  The length of the cooking depends on your smoker and its temperature.   According to Bachler, it’s best to smoke it at the lowest possible temperature for the longest duration of time.

The result was delicious.  It’s easy to get lost on the internet with thousands of “perfect” brine recipes and smoking techniques for salmon.  I only get to fish Lake Michigan once or twice a year, so experimenting can be scary.  There is nothing worse than spending all day hunting, or fishing and ruining your game with a bad recipe.  Sometimes it’s best to just call a friend.

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