Smoke House Salmon

" This is a great appetizer to serve before Thanksgiving dinner with pumpernickel rye pieces and wine,whiskey or whatever you like.Provide sour cream,chopped dill,capers, finely chopper red onions .. Serve with wine,whiskey or whatever you like."

Freshly-caught whole Salmon
Brine (see recipe below)

Clean fish by gutting and scaling. Tip: Wash scales off with garden hose, or knife (just hose against the scales and they wash off). Remove all small bones, blood, and ragged edges; cut into easy-to-handle strips approximately 3-inches wide by 1-inch depth. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare Bring. Place the salmon in the prepared brine, skin-side up, for 1-1/2 to 3 hours (completely immerse the fish strips in the brine solution). Note: If fish is two inches or more thick, then it needs more time. After brine time is completed, remove salmon from the brine; thoroughly rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Place brined fish on smoker racks and let dry for approximately 1 to 2 hours. NOTE: You will notice a glossy look to the fish when it is dry. This is called the "pellicle" and its formation on the surface of your meat is important.

Place racks of salmon in your smoker. Fill the smoke house pan with the desired fuel (wood chips or pellet) of your choice (alder, apple, cherry, mesquite, or hickory) and slip it through the door onto the heating element. Plug in smoker. A pan of fuel will start to smoke in approximately 20 minutes and last about 45 minutes. Cook salmon either using the Hot Smoke (use lower section for hot smoking) or Cold Smoke methods.

HOT SMOKE: Smoke about 6 to 8 hours at 165 to 190 degree F. (check temperature often and do not let it get too hot). Salmon is done when fat white stuff come to surface, feels firm, and has a golden glaze on the surface. Note: May only need four pans of wood or more in larger smoke/house. (Shed type).

COLD SMOKE: Is smoked shorter time, or can be smoked much longer for smoke/cured fish "Indian style." This style can be smoked for days. Using a Big Chief Smoker, 8 to 12 hours Ė may need 6 to 8 pans of wood.

CANNING: If canning - Hot/Smoke 4 hours and Cold/Smoke 6 hours or less.

Approximately 1-1/2 gallons cold water
Non-iodized salt (kosher or pickling salt)
2 cups granulated sugar (can substitute 1 1/2 cups brown sugar)

Prepare Brine in a large glass, crockery, stainless steel, or plastic bowl (not aluminum). Combine water and salt. NOTE: mix until a hard boiled egg will float in the brine. Mix in sugar.

Variation: Can also add to brine mixture for additional flavor, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, pepper, Tabasco sauce, soy sauce, and/or Worcestershire sauce.