Paul discovers the smoked salmon formula
OK, I finally got a really good result for smoked salmon. For this I used 2 parts brown sugar and about 1 part kosher salt. The fillet was on the small side so the total batch of cure was about 1 cup. Maybe even less. I scaled and boned the fillet, but left the skin on. I covered the fillet with the cure, but not so thick that I couldn’t see salmon in places. I tried to not heap it on. I left it in the fridge for about 6 hours and some fluid came out of the fish. Maybe an ounce or two, but it was still very flexible after curing and not notably stiffer like my previous attempts. I rinsed off the cure and dried the fillet and let it sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours so it had a dry surface that you could touch without getting a wet finger. Almost like a really thin crust. Then into the egg cooker with the Amazin smoke tray. I opened the bottom and top vents completely, and put the fillet directly on the BBQ grate with the skin down and right over the smoke tray. The smoke tray was about 12” below the fillet. Then let it smoke for 4-5 hours. In the Egg BBQ the Amazin tray burns really slow and took at least 4 hours to burn to the first turn which is just 1/3rd of the tray. I forgot to check which pellets I used but will look later and report at another time. There was some darkening of the meat and skin, but it was mostly cold the whole time. For the last hour I tried to close the top to keep a little heat in the cooker, but never saw the temp needle move and didn’t feel heat when I opened the cooker. Maybe there was a small amount of warmth in the fish since it was right over the smoke tray, but it never got warm to the touch. After 4 hours or so it was done. There was some darkening of the meat and skin and think it was smoke stain and not cooked from heat. I was a little worried about spoiling, but it tastes really good and would definitely do it the same way again. It was probably good that the fillet was a smaller/thinner piece. Maybe just ½ to ¾” thick. I would adjust the cure and try to cure and smoke longer and maybe even try for some really low heat if the fillet is big sucker, but generally thinner may be better. At least it was this one time.