To get the salmon ready, you’ll need to brine the fillets overnight in a non reactive bowl that has a lid. Try the following, simple but oh so effective brine:
2 cups of water
1/8 cup Kosher salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried fennel (dry roast the fennel in a pan for a few minutes and then crush it all up in a mortar and pestle – this lets ALL the flavour our!)
1/2 an onion, chopped
4 cloves smashed garlic
Place your salmon in skin side up and pop it all in the fridge overnight. Remember, you can always make more brine if you need it. This covers about three medium sized salmon fillets perfectly.
On the following morning I had my customary cup of coffee and then I pulled the salmon out of the fridge. Give the fillets a quick rinse with cold water and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Set up your fillets on a wire rack and place them in a cool and breezy area. Tough to do in Singapore but if you put it under the air conditioner and blast the fan, you’ll do just fine. From my last blog entry on the subject, the next step is a critical one that many people sadly omit. It’s THE step that will ensure your salmon is ready for smoking. What happens after about 2 hours of sitting in a cool breezy spot, the salmon fillets form a coat of pellicle, a thin lacquer-like layer on top of the salmon that will seal it in, also causing a sticky surface for the actual smoke to adhere to. Check out the photos. If you get a beautiful shine thats tacky to the touch…you’re golden!
Now, set your salmon on some grease proof paper and trim the edges. Place the fillets back onto the same wire rack and that will sit on top of your grid. Fire up the egg to a very cool 190 degrees F. Once there, add in two fist fulls of wood chips. Try to use any type of fruit wood as hickory or mesquite is just a bit too strong. For ours last night I used cherry wood and it worked a charm!
Once you’ve stabilized the temperature with a platesetter in place, chuck your rack on top of the grid and let it smoke, low and slow for the next 90 minutes. I’ve adjusted the time to account for reaching optimum ambient temperature and getting a good waft of smoke going.
After 90 minutes, pull off the rack and place it back in the same cool place. Once the fillets have reached room temperature, place them on a plate, wrap them in cling film and chuck them back in the fridge.
When you’re ready to serve, simply pull off the cling film and serve up with fresh rye bread and some Heather’s secret homemade cocktail sauce!
The verdict? 10/10 from the judges here at Chez Matla!
Overall Heather Rating: 10/10 Again!!!!
Hope you all had a great weekend and don’t be shy, drop us a line if you like this or any other BGAE post!