Lake Michigan Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon is truly delicious and expensive. But, you can make your own on your Peoria Custom Cooker easily and inexpensively that will rival any that you can buy at your local grocery store. I used freshly caught salmon from lake Michigan. However, you will be able to find wild caught salmon at your local grocery store or fish monger. It is important to only use wild salmon not farm raised. The texture in the wild salmon is what makes this smoked salmon simply amazing. The salmon was brined overnight then air dried under a fan to form a tact or glaze on the flesh. Then smoked with pit temperatures of around 205 degrees over alder wood until firm. Smoked salmon is great to eat on crackers with cream cheese, in omelets, with a beer, or just as a snack. I used the following brine recipe. You can find several other brine recipes here.

  • 1/2 C. Salt
  • 1 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Lowery's seasoned salt
  • 4 Tbsp Molasses
  • 1 Qt Water

To prepare the salmon I removed all of the pin bones then cut the salmon into serving size pieces. I then placed them in the brine overnight.

After soaking in the brine I removed the salmon from the brine and placed it under a fan to air dry for 1 hour. In this time frame the salmon will develop a tact or glaze on the outside of the flesh. This glaze will form a surface for the alder wood smoke and seasoning to adhere to.

After 1 hour under the fan the salmon was ready to be smoked. I add a small amount of Cajun seasoning to some of the salmon and fired up the cooker.

I started the cooker using charcoal and 4 fist sized alder wood chunks. Alder wood is a very mild smoke wood and the traditional smoke wood used for salmon. I smoked the salmon at 210-220 degrees for about 4.5 hours.

After 4.5 hours of cook time the salmon was done to my liking. If you like your salmon even firmer feel free to cook it longer. The salmon was amazing and was eaten within a day! It had a mild alder flavor and firm texture. Smoked salmon pizza and omelets were served. But the best by far was a piece of smoked salmon and a cold beer. That is a winning combination!