Cooking with Nick : Smoking Salmon

A nice treat that Nick makes each year is something he calls ‘Salmon Candy’. It is smoked salmon with a salty-sweet maple syrup flavouring. It’s really good and makes a wonderful alternative to bacon.

Here are some photos of the process but if you’re interested in trying this yourself, the method is written out below. It is worth it as it’s unlike anything you can buy at the store, and it’s really easy to do. All it takes is time and a charcoal burning grill. And the ingredients of course!


While this recipe is easy it takes quite a bit of time and some advance planning. Nick had frozen the fish because he wasn’t ready to do it when he brought it home from the store, but either frozen or not is fine.

Ingredients:

Salmon. We used a whole side of a small wild salmon, sliced up.  (Since this takes a long time to do you might as well do a lot.)
For the brine: Water, 1/3 cup each of brown sugar and maple syrup, 1/4 cup sea salt
For basting: 1/3 cup honey or corn syrup and 1/4 cup water
Wood chips made for smoking: we used hickory wood but whatever you get is fine. Soak the wood first in water for several hours, or as long as your brine the fish.

Prepping the fish:
Basically, the pieces of salmon are soaked in a brine of water, maple syrup, brown sugar and sea salt for 24 hours.  Just completely cover the fish in the brine, put a cover on the container and leave it on the counter away from direct light.  (Seems like it should go in the fridge right?  But no.  This method has been used to preserve fish for centuries so I guess it’s ok!  I’ve never felt any ill-effects myself).

Prepping the barbeque:
The fish is not going to cook over the coals. The coals are pushed to the side and a can of water is placed under the grill where the fish will be. The wood-chips are piled on top of the grill over the burning coals, where they will smoke (but shouldn’t actually burn). You might have to add another handful throughout the process.

Doing it:
We have a perforated flat bbq pizza pan that we put directly in the grill to catch the drips, but tin foil or disposable tin pan with slits cut into it would be fine. Then a rack is placed on top of this (we used the one that came with the broiling pan for the stove. The fish is put on the rack and the cover of the bbq is put on firmly. Then you wait. No turning of the fish is required as the bottom won’t burn because it’s not directly over the heat. Mid-way and towards the end, baste the fish with the mixture of honey and water.

It’s done in about 2 hours, when it’s a dark orange-y brown colour. Test a piece to see if it’s ready. Yum, right?!

Leftovers get stored in a freezer bag in the freezer and just pulled out as needed.  It has a strong flavour so a little goes a long way. Note that it’s a pretty smokey process, so you will smell like smoke!

I’ll show you some ideas of how to use this delicacy in a future post.

Let me know if you try this!

 

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