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salmon - skin on or skin off

burr_baby33burr_baby33 Posts: 501
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum
I cook a lot of salmon.  I have always removed the skin and trimmed the grey flesh off the skin side before cooking.  I season both sides with raging river and a little maple syrup, flip it and cook to medium rare with an alder chunk.  Most recipes will tell you to cook it with skin on.  Is there a reason or benefit to leaving the skin on?
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Comments

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 9,190
    I believe it is related to the protection factor the skin and fat layer provide to the meat as they act as a buffer to the heat source(always cooked with skin down). If you are keeping your fish moist with the method you use, I would see no reason for changing it. Unless you would like the crispy skin to eat.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    I always cook on the skin - there's a lot of oil and flavor in the skin.  I season the meat side.  Just season it twice as much if you seasoned both sides before.  Once cooked, the filet slides right off the skin, or you can serve and eat on the skin.

    I cooked a 2.5# steelhead trout filet last night.  I brined for about an hour with turbinado, salt and soy.  Rinsed it all off.  Then applied DP Raging River, cooked 340 dome direct on skin for 12 minutes (thickest part was 130).  Best trout I've ever had.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Skin off for me. The grey flesh you're cutting off is just a different colored meat. Tastes a little bolder, but there's no reason not to eat it.

    Both are just personal preference.

    A muslim, a socialist and an illegal immigrant walk into a bar 

    Blogging: Never before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited September 2012
    I don't think there's any reason for "skin on" or "skin off" - it's just a matter of personal preference.  When I 1st started eating it, I'd do it skin off.  Then slowly over time I eased into skin on & now that's how I do it. 

    Though, I will say that I've noticed a HUGE difference between good quality fresh salmon, and salmon that's ummmm... not so great.  Even the Egg couldn't help some salmon I've bought!! :-&

    And If I'm not mistaken, I think the skin has more concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, but as with chicken skin, it also has more fat as well.

    HTH,
    HH
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • GLWGLW Posts: 178

    I've done both on and off over several years and i've decided skin on produces a richer flavored fish.  That makes sense to me as skin has more fat thus adding that additional flavor profile.  With that said, i cook it with the skin on but do not like the taste of the skin so i never eat it. 

    Hint - look for wild caught salmon vs farm raised.  Sam's typically offers wild caught.  As Hillbilly mentions, I think this makes much more of a differnce than skin on or off.

    When in doubt add more pepper.
  • dtun1dtun1 Posts: 32
    I personally have found that the salmon keeps more moisture in the meat with the skin on. I always cook with the skin up for the first 5 minutes then flip with skin down on grill & cook till the meat begins to flake. I also mist with olive oil before placing on the egg.
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 5,877
    edited September 2012
    dtun1 said:
    I personally have found that the salmon keeps more moisture in the meat with the skin on. I always cook with the skin up for the first 5 minutes then flip with skin down on grill & cook till the meat begins to flake. I also mist with olive oil before placing on the egg.
    +1,  direct, skinless side first - get the grill marks and turn it while you can, before it flakes. 
    When planking a 1/2 fish, split down the backbone, have sone both ways. Sockeye, always skin down, very little herb/spice used. This salmon, like prime rib is to good to cover up with much seasoning. We don't use other than sockeye very often but when we do (Atlantic, pinks etc...) skin up as I want the skin to hold the herb and spice that covers the taste of the not so great fish.  
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    I do skin off, both sides rubbed with honey then coated with raging river. I do cook them on alder or cedar planks so I'm not exposing directly to heat.  They stay nice and moist this way.  I also cut off the dark meat, simply because my family doesn't like the bolder fish taste.  All personal preference.
  • I always cook it with the skin on and cook the whole time with skin side down using the skin as a buffer against the heat. When the flesh is starting to get flaky sometimes the skin just falls off as you serve it. I've heard of folks who like eating the skin as a crispy treat all on its own. I can usually enjoy one bite of it that way, but personally can't imagine eating all the skin on its own. As others have stated I think at the end of the day you just do whatever works for you.
  • Thanks for all the input.  I'm gonna cook tonight with skin on and report back.  All my salmon is wild caught Alaska silver and king salmon caught in salt water off Kodiak Island. Freezer is absolutely full. Got home on 9-1. 
  • GLWGLW Posts: 178
    My dogs love the cooked skin.
    When in doubt add more pepper.
  • DonWWDonWW Posts: 257
    Late weigh in on this.  Have always cooked skin on for me.  80% of the cook with the skin side down and then flip and finish up.  Helps retain moisture, and makes it easier if you have a topping (e.g. crushed pecan) on the fish.
    XL BGE.  Dallas, Texas.
  • I've cooked silver salmon 3 times with skin on since my last post.  OK, I'm a skin on guy from now on. Last night I cooked a huge piece with Raging river, maple syrup and a big chunk of alder.  Having the leftovers for lunch today.  The salmon we caught in August were the largest I have ever seen; Kodiak Island.

  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,457
    How many people actually eat the skin? I do, but Mrs. G doesn't touch it (although she does believe it should be cooked with the skin on)

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,443

    I like skin on direct raised:

     

    imageimage
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • Good question, Griffin.  I've never even heard of eating salmon skin until a friend told me he did and now we know about Griffin.  OK, I'm going to try the skin on the next cook.  My friend says he loves it.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    The skin is used in many Asian dishes.  I see it in sushi all the time.  That's about the only time I eat it - and when I chow down on sardines.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • probe1957probe1957 Posts: 208
    I have had my Egg for about 8 years and never tried salmon.  I saw it in the store the other day and thought I would have to.  You guys have motivated me.

    Can I get some particulars?  Dome temp?  Cook to temp?  Based on this thread, I have decided to try skin on first.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    edited October 2012
    probe1957 said:
    I have had my Egg for about 8 years and never tried salmon.  I saw it in the store the other day and thought I would have to.  You guys have motivated me.

    Can I get some particulars?  Dome temp?  Cook to temp?  Based on this thread, I have decided to try skin on first.

    There are lots of ways to cook.  Here's what I did last time, and it was the best to date.  Note, this was steelhead trout, but it looks and tastes like salmon and cooks the same.

    I score the skin with a razor, very shallow.  Brine for a couple hours in a salt/sugar solution (you can look one up for fish). 

    Spread a little oil on the top to help the spices/herbs to infuse better, the add whatever spices you want plus S&P.  I like the DP Raging River on salmon.

    I cook direct at around 300, skin down.  I do not flip - I find all the juices run out when you flip.

    Cook about 10-14 minutes or until the center of the thickest part just turns opaque.

    Serve on skin, (sometimes it just sticks to the grate) or without.

    Squeeze fresh lemon on top.  Serve immediately.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,443
    I follow nolaegghead but without the brine. I do skin on but do not eat it. But hay, Jason has been correct before :-B
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    edited October 2012
    The brining dramatically improves the flavor in a way I can't really explain, and it keeps the albumen from leaking out and forming funky albumen balls on the meat.

    And the brine doesn't make it taste sweet - I prefer savory to sweet.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • DonWWDonWW Posts: 257
    Agreed on lots of ways to cook.  It's a very forgiving fish to prepare. 

    The #1 issue for me is get a great piece of meat.  You can't recover from a moderate quality salmon filet.  One cooking style I do is to cover with a brown sugar rub mix.  Flipping that for about 60 seconds after the main cooking is complete does wonders for the flavor of the brown sugar, just a touch of caramelization.
    XL BGE.  Dallas, Texas.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    DonWW said:
    Agreed on lots of ways to cook.  It's a very forgiving fish to prepare. 

    The #1 issue for me is get a great piece of meat.  You can't recover from a moderate quality salmon filet.  One cooking style I do is to cover with a brown sugar rub mix.  Flipping that for about 60 seconds after the main cooking is complete does wonders for the flavor of the brown sugar, just a touch of caramelization.
    +1 on getting good quality salmon.  Freshness is more important than wild or farmed.  Fresh wild is the best.  And there are many types of salmon, some better than other.  Higher fat content is desirable.   Depending on when and where the fish was caught, and the species, it'll have different fat contents. 

    Smell the fish when you're buying it - it shouldn't smell fishy at all.  If it does, you don't want it.  This holds for most fish.  If you smell any trace of ammonia, it's way beyond fresh.  IQF frozen on the boat is always frozen fresh.  The best salmon isn't frozen, though.  I avoid like the plague any "store frozen" fish. 
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,457
    Mickey said:
    I follow nolaegghead but without the brine. I do skin on but do not eat it. But hay, Jason has been correct before :-B

    Every once in awhile, but don't worry, I won't let it got to my head. I don't know if the skin is healthy for you or not, and I don't always eat it, but I like it when its a bit crispy.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • Marinate, pop on the grill, skin side up.  After about 8 min, skin peels right off.  Flip, grill other side and you're done.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    Griffin said:
    Mickey said:
    I follow nolaegghead but without the brine. I do skin on but do not eat it. But hay, Jason has been correct before :-B

    Every once in awhile, but don't worry, I won't let it got to my head. I don't know if the skin is healthy for you or not, and I don't always eat it, but I like it when its a bit crispy.
    It's loaded with fat, but it's good fat.  Compared to all that land-animal fat we eat in BBQ, it's practically health food.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,221
    You want to limit Atlantic salmon as well.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    Yeah, well there's no wild salmon (at least that I know that are legal to catch) in the Atlantic anymore.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,221
    Not commercially anyway

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,550
    As we say in New Orleans, yeah, you right. :)
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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