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Salmon Question

Rich GRich G Posts: 103
edited 5:03AM in EggHead Forum
Hi, all. I cooked up some salmon yesterday as I mentioned in the thread Smokey started below. I'm amazed I don't do it more often, but I don't. Anyway, I didn't have time to go to the Fish Market and get some wild salmon, so I put a side of farm-raised salmon on from Costco. I brined it for a couple hours in a simple brine (water, salt, brn sugar), removed from brine and let it dry for a bit. Cooked at 230º for about 2.5 hrs. Tasted great.[p]Here's the question.....the color was VERY pale pink. I'm used to seeing my dad's smoked salmon have a much deeper pink/red color. Do you think the color had to do with the farm-raised salmon I was using, or, perhaps the temp I was cooking at?[p]Appreciate any thoughts from those of you who cook salmon more often.[p]TIA,
Rich G.


  • YBYB Posts: 3,861
    Rich G,
    The ones I buy at Sam's have color added on the label.The one you bought probably didn't have the color added.

  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    YB,[p]In fact, it did have color added. Hence, I was even more surprised at the final, pale color. Seems the additives leeched out or something (perhaps having something to do with the brine?[p]Thx for the idea![p]R
  • eggaholiceggaholic Posts: 309
    Rich G,
    It could have been a different species of salmon, some are much deeper in color than others.
    That being said, a farm raised fish will not have as deep a color as his wild cousin. That's why they add color.[p]Cheers, Brian

  • JSlotJSlot Posts: 1,218
    Rich G,[p]I'm not quite sure what color you are looking for, but I'll give you something to try to determine if it is or isn't the brine that deteriorates the color. I've been doing salmon using a recipe from Raichlen's "How to Grill". Basically, you quick-cure the salmon instead of brining. You usually brine to add moisture, while curing reduces moisture.[p]1) Soak salmon in rum for 15 minutes[p]2) Mix up 50/50 mixture of brown sugar and coarse salt (½ cup of each if memory serves me correctly)[p]3) Remove fish from rum and pat dry[p]4) Place 1/3 sugar/salt mixture in bottom of 9" x 13" glass baking dish[p]5) Lay salmon in baking dish and pack remaining sugar/salt mixture over and around fish covering it completely[p]6) Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 4 hours[p]7) Remove from fridge, rinse the salmon and pat it dry[p]8) Cook at 325° indirect for ~30 minutes[p]It is an outstanding recipe. Better than the cold smoked salmon you get at the grocery. Good luck![p]Jim
  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    Jim,[p]Thanks for the recipe, I'll give it a try. The flavor on the salmon I cooked was great, BTW, and would have been even better with wild fish.[p]I'll try your method and see if the color varies in the same manner is it did this time.[p]Thanks again.[p]Rich G.
  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    Brian,[p]Thanks. Definitely agree, the farm-raised salmon lacks both depth of color as well as flavor compared to the wild salmon. I was thinking of trying a side by side test (wild vs farm-raised) using the same prep method and see if the color variations are the same. Then again, if I go buy wild salmon, why buy the farm-raised stuff, too!! All in the name of science. ;)[p]Appreciate the input.[p]Rich G.
  • Rich G,
    The postings are correct. Farmed salmon is paler & has color added to make it more appealing. From what I've read, salmon get their deep red color from eating fine crustaceans in the wild. The copper river salmon run that just ended is proof of that. Try some if you ever get a chance. Higher oil/omega3's content in them, taste great. I did mine on a cedar plank & it came out spectacular.

  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    Mark,[p]Darn it all!! Now I HAVE to go and pick up some wild salmon and cook it up for comparison. Woe is me. ;)[p]I'm well aware of the color and flavor differences of wild vs farm salmon. I live in the SF Bay Area, so we get to partake in the twice yearly catch of salmon running up or down the coast. Have gone out in Santa Cruz a few times to catch my own (with no luck.)[p]Fresh-caught, wild salmon is one of the best meals. Simple seasoning (s&p for me) and a quick grill to rare/med rare. Heaven!![p]Thanks for posting a response!![p]Rich G.
  • Rich G,
    Farm raised will be the reason for the difference in color.
    There are studies coming out now that show problems with farm raised salmon. The pens are kept in areas that have much less current, makes keeping the pens together much easier but also means the pollution is higher ( pollution created by the salmon). Some of the operations are now having problems with Health Agencies because of these conditions.
    This situation will be interesting to follow into the future.

  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    Jim Minion,[p]Good to hear from you, Jim! I'm not overly familiar with the techniques used in farm raising any fish, so that's interesting stuff, and I will research a bit more. Fresh caught is better with seafood no matter what, but the convenience and availability factor makes the farm-raised fish nice to have around (unless, of course, they ain't healthy to eat!)[p]I'll hit the Fish Market on Monday to see what came off the boats that morning....[p]R
  • Rich G,
    I remember back in the mid to late 80's, we could buy Norwegian salmon in Atlanta at the grocery store. Don't remember the price, but it wasn't much, and IT WAS SPECTACULAR. Then salmon got popular and now we have that dyed farm-raised stuff. Just like Calphalon (other thread), it's ok and I have it at least once a week, but it's no comparison to the good stuff.

  • Rich GRich G Posts: 103
    Dave's Not Here,[p]Yeah, I totally agree. I almost never get the farm raised stuff, and I'm embarrassed that I did with the salmon season still going and boats bringin' 'em in fresh no more than 30 mi from my house..... It was a convenience thing.[p]I will atone for my sins by getting some of the real deal next week!! :)[p]Rich G.
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