|How to Smoke Salmon
- Recipe #1
|Step 5 - Smoking
The next step is to smoke the fish. There are lots of
different smokers out there, and lots of them do a good job of smoking fish. I
prefer the electric smokers because they are much more hassle-free than the
charcoal or wood-fired smokers. With an electric smoker, some people even get
as fancy as to run the smoker on a timer... so in case you didn't plan ahead,
you don't have to wake up at 3am to shut the smoker off.
A couple of
words about small, uninsulated smokers... first of all, they are
weather-dependant. In other words, if you're smoking fish on a warm August day
with no wind, it will take less time to finish than it will if you're smoking
on a cold, windy October night. On a warm day it might take six hours to
achieve your desired result, and on a cold night it might take ten or twelve
You should also be aware that some electric smokers have bigger
elements (higher wattages) than their smaller counterparts... and therefore the
bigger ones have more consistent results.
When using an electric smoker,
you should always try to avoid using an extension cord if at all possible. But,
if you must use an extension cord, make sure it's a heavy duty grounded cord
(14 gauge or bigger) and use the shortest one possible, to avoid any voltage
As always, USE COMMON SENSE. Don't set up your smoker indoors.
Don't set it up on your deck. Set it up on a firm, level, non-flammable
surface, out of the wind, and clear of any houses, garages, wood piles or other
smoker for 15 minutes to get it up to temperature. Put your rack of fish into
it, and add your wood chips to get it smoking. The amount of wood chips and
what type you use are completely up to your tastes. For this recipe in a Big
Chief Smoker, I use one pan of alder chips at the start, and one pan of apple
chips after one hour... then I let the fish sit in there and dry out for
another four hours or so, for a complete smoking/drying time of about six
hours. Again, this is done to taste, and due to wind and temperature
fluctuations, I check on the appearance of the fish after about five hours, and
make a judgement from there.
Here is what the
fish looked like after six hours in the smoker... notice that the thin tail
pieces are up top and the thicker shoulder fillets are at the bottom.