How Long to Smoke Salmon
Salmon isn’t a popular fish for no reason. Worldwide, it forms a part of several dishes and delicacies. As a meal on its own, it is tasty and filling. Another thing to love about salmon is the variety of ways it can be enjoyed. Whether grilled, boiled, fried, smoked or even eaten raw, it makes for a pleasing meal. When it comes to smoking this popular fish, one of the biggest concerns is knowing when it is ready. Knowing when it is smoked ready means knowing just how long it takes to smoke salmon. If you’re going to attempt to smoke salmon for the first time, do not be intimidated by it. At the end of the day, its only fish. You don’t need to be a top chef to know how to smoke the perfect salmon whether to impress your friends or to enjoy by yourself. In this article, we will not only find out how long it takes to smoke salmon, but we will also find out some simple techniques and some smoked salmon recipes. Ready? Good.
First of all, we need to know all the necessary items and products for smoking a delicious salmon and set our culinary table. Don’t worry, these are not some exotic items. These are ingredients you should be able to get locally.
- A piece of salmon obviously. Most people prefer the fatty side. If don’t know what the fatty side is, you can ask your butcher or seller.
- Next are the ingredients to make the brine. These are one cup of soy sauce and half a cup of brown sugar. You’ll also need a bowl to mix them in. You can use only salt, sugar, and water if you prefer.
- A smoker and planks of light wood
- A knife, a cutting board, a tray, a spatula, some paper towels, and a zipper-lock bag.
How To Smoke Salmon
- The first thing to do is to prepare your brine. Most people with experience in smoking salmon will tell you that the process of preparing your brine will determine how much time you will require to smoke the salmon. Mix your ingredients in the bowl and place it aside. Cover it if you need to.
- Next, ensure that your fish is clean. Then remove the skin on top and leave the skin at the bottom. Once done, remove the bones. Most of the bones are very tiny and chances are you may miss a few of them if you’re not using a boning tool. But don’t be alarmed. The bones are too tiny to cause you any problems when you’re eating.
- Slice your salmon into sizeable strips. Preferably two inches wide. Place your slices into your brine solution and make sure each slice is well coated with the brine.
- Now remove the well-coated slices from the brine and carefully place them in your zipper-lock bag strip by strip. It will be easier if you have a bag big enough to hold all the slices. But don’t get rid of the rest of the brine solution. Instead, pour it into the bag. Once done, zip up the bag or seal it (if you’re not using a zipper-lock bag) and keep it in a refrigerator for twelve hours at least but not exceeding forty-eight hours. The brine solution requires time to work its wonders on the fish. In order to avoid accidental spillage of the brine, you can set the bag in a larger bowl before placing it in the refrigerator.
- Next is to prepare the smoker. Start some coal fire in the smoker for about ten minutes. Then add the smoking wood. Make sure the burning temperature is under 200 degrees but not lower than 150 degrees.
Alternatively, submerge your smoking plank in a bucket and let it soak for twenty minutes. The choice if wood depends on where you are. However, most people prefer cedar planks as other types of wood can generate the type of smoke that can affect the taste of your salmon. Now place your plank on a grill and turn on the grill to four hundred and fifty degrees (450 degrees) and no more. Note that the plank should not be placed directly on the fire. Now place your salmon strips on the cedar plank and keep your eye on it. This alternative offers a faster smoking time.
How Long To Smoke Salmon
If you’re not looking for the quick alternative, then our culinary journey continues here. Now set your cutting board and overlay it with some paper towels. The paper towels will absorb the extra brine solution. Fetch your salmon from the refrigerator and lay them strip by strip on the covered cutting board. Position the strips so that the side facing up is the side without the skin. Once done, dry out the tops of the salmon strips by dabbing them with some paper towel. They’re ready for the smoker. Place the salmon strips on the grill surface. It’s important to lay the strips directly on the grill surface so the smoke can have full access to the fish.
Now to the moment that tests your patience, eyesight, and mind. How long do you smoke it? You need to keep your eyes on the temperature of the fire and the temperature of the fish simultaneously. This will determine how long smoking your fish will take. As mentioned earlier, the temperature of the fire should be lower than 200 degrees but should not go lower. This should give us a heating time of two to three hours. In order to be sure about the temperature, you can try using a thermometer. There is no need to act like an expert and mess up your fish, right? You’ll only embarrass yourself. Some smokers already have thermometers attached to them. If you’re using one of those, keep your eyes on the reading on the reading.
That’s as simple as it gets. Once your salmon is smoked ready, don’t be in a rush to dig in. Allow it to sit first for at least 30 minutes in room temperature before you serve to impress your friends.
So this gives us a cook time of under three hours. If you add the preparation time, this will extend to about fourteen to sixteen hours.
What Temperature To Smoke Salmon
To recap, smoking salmon should be done in a temperature under 200 degrees but not less than 150 degrees.
If you’re using an electric smoker, the pre-smoking preparation remains the same. Once done, preheat your smoker by turning it on and setting it to 170 degrees. This falls within the same temperature range required for the nonelectric smoker. That done, use wood chips instead of planks. First, soak them in water for about fifteen minutes first. But continue to add more wood chips every twenty-five to thirty minutes.
Some Smoked Salmon Recipes
Time to get chef-ish with it. If you really want to impress your guests or friends or even just yourself, don’t serve your smoked salmon without first trying out some tasty recipes. Yum! Here are a few you can try your hands on.
- Salmon with scrambled eggs
This ten-minute recipe is easy to make and tasty. All you need (of course aside from your salmon) are a slice of lemon, one bagel, an egg, and black pepper. First, prepare your scrambled egg with black pepper (or a different spice you prefer). Then cut the bagel into two halves. Once done, drape a slice of smoked salmon on each half and an extra slice to garnish. Add some spoonfuls of scrambled eggs on the side and squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over it. Bon appétit!
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- Smoked salmon and lemon risotto
This may sound like a luxurious meal from a luxurious restaurant. But it’s actually something you can try at home and enjoy with your family. The ingredients you’ll need are one chopped onion, two tablespoons of olive oil, one clove of chopped garlic, 300 grams of risotto rice, three tablespoons of chopped parsley, some vegetables, and lemon. First, fry the onions in the olive oil for five minutes. Add the garlic and the risotto rice and let it cook for about two minutes while stirring it. Add your choice vegetables and allow it to simmer for about twenty minutes while you continue stirring. Let it simmer until cooked then add the lemon zest and the parsley. No need to add salt because of the salmon. Garnish with your salmon strips and serve to your impressed guests.
- Smoked salmon with avocados and rice
Now let’s get simple. This recipe is simple and yet will have you looking like a celebrity chef. You’ll need about 250 grams of rice, two tablespoons of wine vinegar, one tablespoon of caster sugar, half a lemon, and one large avocado. First, cook the rice. Then add the vinegar and sugar and let it cool covered. Next, peel the avocado, slice and squeeze lemon juice over it. Make sure the juice covers all the slices. Garnish the rice with strips of salmon and the slices of avocado.
In conclusion, it takes about two and a half hours to smoke salmon. This is minus the preparation time. Smoking salmon requires a temperature under 200 degrees but not less than 150 degrees. So, approximately 170 degrees. Smoking salmon can also be a great family bonding time. If you’re single, it’s a great time to have friends around. Or you just enjoy it alone with some simple recipes and your favorite bottle of wine. The taste is always pleasing.
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