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Smoked Salmon advice

Texas GeezerTexas Geezer Posts: 55
edited 4:34PM in EggHead Forum
I'm a relative newbie, but have had some great success with beef and pork cuts under my belt. Now my wife wants me to try smoked salmon. So I've been searching the archives for technique advise. What I've found seems a bit contradictory to me, and maybe a little confusing, and most of it is pretty old (so maybe there's some fresh, new-thinking, experience here.)[p]Alder wood is virtually impossible to find in my area in any form but bagged chips. So I'm tempted to try cedar, and specifically using a plank made from untreated fencing material.[p]I know about soaking the plank in water for a few hours before use, but was wondering if wrapping the bottom edge in aluminum foil would help to preserve it, and to make the smoke more subtle. Or is that merely going to defeat the purpose?[p]What is the preferred set-up? Most of the older advise seems to have been written before the plate setter was available. Is it best done direct with the grill in the "normal" position? Or with the plate setter inverted and grill on top of that? Does use of the plate setter in the cooking configuration alter the utility of using a plank, or even obviate the need to wrap the bottom of the plank in foil?[p]Or - shades of smoked salmon cooking blasphemy here - is the cedar plank method really better than using the alder wood chips with the lump?[p]Help! Too many options here, and if I don't get this right my reputation will be ruined.


  • SandbaggerSandbagger Posts: 977
    Texas Geezer, You might find Alder chunks at the Cabela's in North Fort Worth by the Speedway. I got some there last fall, along with Cherry, Maple, Apple. See the link. [p] Tom

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Texas Geezer,
    soak the cedar plank, don't wrap it. put it and the fish in at the same time, over a mdium fire 350 or so.
    the fish will be done before the plank burns too badly.
    you want some smoke, not a pantload. cedar is a softwodd and too much will be resiny, almost chemical tasting.[p]

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Sandbagger, Thanks, I would never have thought of them. I'm still trying to figure out whether adding chunks/chips is better or worse than using a cedar plank. I'd think that trying to do both would probably be too much. Got any thoughts on that?

  • stike, thanks. direct or indirect (plate setter) set-up? I'd like to keep the smoke taste subtle, not strong. The older advice seems to be a consensus on a direct set-up, but I think that pre-dated the plate setter's availability.

  • SandbaggerSandbagger Posts: 977
    Texas Geezer, cut that baby in half, do the first run with the plank, then the second run with the alder. Nothing beats a side by side comparison. Someone did Salmon at the fest and from what I heard it was "to die for".. [p]Just remember, take notes on how you prepared the salmon and how you smoked it. This will help you the next time, to make it even better. [p]Tom[p]Also try the Dizzy pig site for their recipe:

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Texas Geezer,
    if you go indirect, there's no direct heat to the cedar to get it to smoke a little.[p]direct, and don't preheat the plank or anything.
    put it on wet with the fish, skin side down. should cook in 15 minutes, so it won't smoke too much

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Texas Geezer, I personally stay away from cedar planks...I feel like I'm eating a closet...I use apple wood chips, soaked....I don't have all the bells and whistles, so I improvise...I marinate the whole salmon sides for a half hour of longer.....when I'm ready to start my fire, with a chimney, then dump it into bfg, spread it around, close the top and let the dome temp get to around, throw in a couple of hands full of wet chips, put the grill back, I then use a V rack I have and put a piece of foil about the size of the rack under it, then place grill on top and put the 2 sides on it....when the tmep gets back up to 325 or so, stabilize it and let it cook for about 15 to 20 min and take its temp....looking for 140...I sell 'em......good luck

  • nodock, well, that sounds simple and easy. Looks like I'm going to have to try all these methods to see which one I like the best. I guess I had kind of hoped that there was a "right way" but I shoulda known by now... <g>. I just didn't want to lose the new-found reputation I've gained as a smoking whiz among my circle of friends...

  • Woody54Woody54 Posts: 148
    Texas Geezer,[p]Th best salmon recipe I know of can be found at[p][p]Woody54
  • egginatoregginator Posts: 569
    Sandbagger,[p]I just cooked salmon on cedar Saturday. I let it go too long and started to char the cedar. DO NOT DO THIS! Cedar smoke is very bitter. From now on, I will use only alder planks, or alder chips and no plank. Either that, or just pay attention to what I am doing and not overcook the dang things. You can get alder planks in a mixed set at World Market in the DFW area.[p]Ed
  • I have done a very easy recipe for my friends that has them beggin for more. In fact, it is too easy and I have had people loving it when they don't even like fish. The rub to use is just 1/2 cub brown sugar and 1/4 fresh mint. Be generous but don't pile it on. Get the egg going to about 300 with apple chunks or chips. Set the fish on a large piece of foil witht he fish exposed to the smoke. Make sure the egg is up to temp using the plate setter/indirect method. Place the foil with the fish on the grill and smoke for 35-45 min. The time is just a estimate but you can tell when the fish is done when it has turned color and all the sugar has more than melted and formed a light crust. Mint sounds odd but it is nice on salmon.
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