How to smoke salmon

Print Article

According to kokanee salmon fishing experts I’ve talked to, there’s still a few more weeks of excellent jigging action this spring.

Kokanee limits have been common on several area lakes, including Little Bitterroot Lake, Ashley Lake, and Lake Mary Ronan.

So, the question is, “What are you doing with all those salmon you are catching?”

No doubt the easiest way to enjoy these tasty fish is to cook them on a barbecue. No marinade. No special sauces. Just head ‘em and gut ‘em and place them on the grill.

The high oil content of kokes allows them to cook easily, taste great, and contribute to a healthy ingestion of omega-3 fish oils.

And, when cooked properly, the backbone and ribs can be easily stripped from the fish, leaving a piece of boneless meat, which is awesome for feeding to children.

Another popular option is to cook the salmon by slow smoking. There are no doubt as many brine recipes as Flathead Valley anglers who own smokers.

In l981, the inaugural year of Fishfull Thinking, Ralph Johnson shared the “secrets” that made his smoked salmon so delicious.

After you cut off the head and remove the entrails with a lengthwise belly slit, giving special attention to removing the bloodline, you should thoroughly rinse the fish before brining.

Ralph used a 5-gallon bucket to mix 2 cups of table salt in a gallon of fresh water, then added a quarter cup of brown sugar.

Next step is soaking the fish, totally submerged, in the brine from 16 to 20 hours. The longer the soaking, the saltier the finished product.

Some people use custom homemade smokers fashioned from old refrigerators, while many of us use small, inexpensive smoker and grill combinations.

Hanging each fish by the tail allows the most thorough smoking, but even just laying the fish on a grate will work, as long as the fish aren’t touching each other.

Depending on heat levels and the amount of smoke produced by our personal favorite woods, kokanee salmon should be done in about 8 hours.

Smoked kokanee readily dries out and turns rubbery, even when refrigerated. Stripping the meat from the bones after smoking, then pressure canning it, will preserve the fish for years.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Jones book a coffee table classic

April 18, 2018 at 6:55 am | Hungry Horse News Renowned Troy wildlife photographer Don Jones has a released a new book “Wild Montana.” The photo book features a host of Montana’s wildlife and birds, all of them taken in the field of wild animals ...

Comments

Read More

FWP: Poachers cut out the best cuts of game, left the rest to rot

April 18, 2018 at 7:00 am | Hungry Horse News Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens are asking for help from the public on several incidents of poaching between Columbia Falls Stage Road and Highway 206. FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish decl...

Comments

Read More

Forest looks to move Polebridge boat ramp

April 11, 2018 at 7:33 am | Hungry Horse News The Flathead National Forest is proposing a new boat launch ramp on the North Fork of the Flathead near Polebridge. The current boat launch has problems for floaters because the river dynamics have c...

Comments

Read More

Late season ice

April 11, 2018 at 7:31 am | Hungry Horse News If there’s any silver-lining in the cold-windy-snowy-sunny-rainy-squally-grauply, typically April weather we’re having, it’s a few more days of ice fishing. And that sounds good to me! If you reme...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X