"I love fresh salmon." Whether grilled, baked, smoked, sautéed, I'm all in. The little market in Lone Oak, KY. catches fish from the Gulf Coast in Alabama each week and hauls it back to Kentucky in a refrigerated truck. Taking advantage of the fresh fish for flavor, heart health, and the joy of cooking is such a gift to the community.
I'm not negating the wonderful fresh fish available in our neck of the woods. The rivers, lakes, and ponds that surround western Kentucky are such a blessing for those who enjoy fishing, cooking, and eating their catch.
A couple of weeks ago, we bought a pellet grill. Nothing fancy. Kevin ran across a deal he couldn't walk away from at the local Lowes Home Improvement Store. He got a close-out on a grill, regularly-priced at $500 for $200. That's right. There were six available. He called a few of his buddies at CSI and the grill's flew off the shelves. (If there were more, I would've shared with my readers).
It was time to test out the new smoker/grill on fresh salmon. Now, Kevin isn't a big fish fan....so, in his attempt to eat more fish, he gave it a whirl and I'm oh so glad he did. If you want the recipe...let's get to it.
Two pounds of salmon (or whatever you need for the meal)
Quart of cool water (make sure your fish is covered)
1/3 cup Kosher salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
Mix together the brine and place the fish in a plastic or glass container. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. This process helps to eliminate excess moisture in the fish as well as infuse the fish with the salt.
The next morning, take the fish out of the brine and pat dry. Let it rest in the fridge, skin side down, for a couple of hours (minimum of two hours).
Smoking on the pellet grill
Rub the skin with a bit of oil so it won't stick to the rack. For the wood pellets, Kevin used the apple wood. You'll start with a small fire and gradually work your way up to a higher heat. Smoke/grill at 140-150 degrees for about an hour gradually moving to 175 degrees for three hours. Once the internal temperature of the fish reaches 140 degrees, it should sustain that temperature for 30 minutes while on the grill.
After the first hour, baste the fish with pure maple syrup every hour.
After the salmon has held its internal temperature of 140 degrees for 30 minutes, take it off the grill and let it rest on a rack before serving or placing it in the fridge. Once wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, smoked salmon will last for 10 days.