Preservation of various meats is something that out ancestors did as a matter of course but which modern people have forgotten how to do because of all of the convenience that comes with living in a specialized society. It's not so difficult to relearn these almost lost arts. Ironically, the Internet and other modern technologies like mass production manufacturing has brought specialized devices tailor to the art of smoking within the reach of the everyman. These devices are inexpensive and well worth it since building one can be troublesome if you are not the handy type. Also, the manufactured devices and backyard grill add ons are much more precise in how they control the temperature and smoke volume.
You can use gas grills smokers, a built in grill with a smoker addition, or gas grills with a built in smoker to make some full-flavored smoked salmon or other smoked fish. It takes time and energy, but the heavenly and nutritive finish are well worth all of the preparation and work. Smoking like this will elevate cooking on gas grills to new heights.
In this world of processed and chemical filled frankenfood, it would be invigorating to travel back to another time when small native settlements would smoke their eats over a smoldering fire or in a smoke filled smoke house so that it could be preserved to tide them over during winter. This is in our blood. Most cultures through history had some form of smoking as food preservation before modern science and refrigeration were discovered. I will not feud against refrigeration, but substances in food, I believe, can lead to unhealthiness or nutritional scarcity. While food smoking does create some naturally formed substances that you would not want to ingest exclusively or every day, with reasonable frequency it is fine, as is betrayed by the fact that people have been doing it for ages minus any distinguishing chronic or inevitable effect.
Let's smoke some fish.
High quality fish is the best. You can eat fresh salt water fish like salmon and tuna raw. Sushi anyone? If you eat fish raw, it must be just caught. Beside merely fresh, uncooked as described, or barbecuing it, you can also freeze it in order to preserve it for later. Canning is good too but you might have to first learn about safe canning methods. Smoking is yet another method of safeguarding fish. I relish chilled vacuum shut smoked salmon from the supermarket, and I have sometimes enjoyed canned smoked sprats from Latvia, which were very enchanting and tasteful on rye bread.
You want to be shielded from microbes and parasites, so I advocate soaking the fish in a brine (salt) solution first. You can use electric, charcoal, wood, or gas grills smokers for the job.
Buy the fish. Clean them out and cut the heads off. Carve them into fillets and blocks. Leave the skin on. Put the skin side down onto the grates so if they stick you lose the skin and it does not matter. If you were to try this with fish steaks the meat would stick to the grains and fall by the wayside. All you would have remained would be a hodgepodge and a lot of anger, and wasted fish.
Submerge the fish in a brine solution of sugar, spices, and salt. You can use a conservative but I say that you do not need things that you can not spell. Use your own intelligence.
Prepare the fish with this basic brine solution:
1/2 cup non-iodized (Kosher is adequate) salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart water
Stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
Place fish into the solution, being careful to see to it that the fish is completely covered in the brine and place it in the refrigerator.
Fat 1 inch plus lumps should be in brine from 8 to 12 hours.
Thin 1 inch or less lumps should be in from 6 to 8 hours.
Take your fish from the brine and rinse each segment under cool water. Being gentle, pat dry and lay the lumps on some paper towel to air dry for at least one hour. After one hour you should observe that the fish has a kind of glossy surface film, or "pellicle". This is natural. This film serves as a surface for the smoke to stick to during the smoking process. After an hour of drying, the fish should be a bit sticky to the touch, and this means that it is ready for the smoking process.
Woods such as Mesquite, Hickory, and Apple are acceptable. Adler is another acceptable wood. Do not use pine as it is imparts a petroleum like taste and you will get a horrid taste to your food. When using fruit woods, you can also add some pieces of the genuine fruit to the wood for added flavor. You will have to refill the wood holder a few times during the entire smoking process.
In your gas grill's smoker or other type of smoker, place the fish chunks skins down as mentioned earlier and they should not be touching each other. Use big enough portions so that you stretch area. This is so because since you require some room between pieces, smaller but more numerous portions would mean not enough room for all your fish. More substantial pieces spaced apart so they do not touch actually mean that you can fit more fish on the cooking grate. See, you are already benefiting from my experience! Here's another recommendation. If you have a multi level grape system in your smoker, you will want to swap the top and bottom grains through the process since the lower ones get increased heat and smoke.
Twelve hours in the smoker will result in a juicy smoked salmon. Twenty four hours will result in a salmon jerky, which is a magnificent jerky but hard to get any bones out if you come across any. It's really useful to try to Yank out as many bones as you can when you start, but there can sometimes be some little spiny ones inside the meat that you fail to see. Do your best is all I can inform you to do. I used pliers to pull the visibly bulging bones from the raw fish. Remove gently, firmly, and straight out. For the twelve hour moist version of smoked salmon, any lingering bones are effortlessly dealt with in the course of the eating phase. For the twenty four hour jerky version, it is best to just separate the meat while it is still flexible straight from the smoker. You can utilize it in sauces and gravy but not in soups. Some people use the remaining skin and bones as a feline food. Your results may vary.
While the salmon is cooling on the grates after the smoking is concluded, you can add additional spices like garlic and black pepper, or hot pepper like cayenne if that is your preference. The oily white stuff is salmon oil, which is basically Omega 3 fatty acids and is very nutritive for you. That stuff helps to clear out your arms and it also soaks up spices very well. I tell you that because most people would think that it was "yucky" when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
Storage is a snap if you have a vacuum sealing machine. I mean the type of device that attaches to a plastic bag which holds the salmon, and it sucks out the air and heat seals the bag once the air is no longer present. No air means that the food will not go off as quickly. You should still have it refrigerated, however. Freezing will not damage it, but the texture can be affected.
Since the complete process can take the better part of two days, you want to work with batches of at least 6 pounds – larger batches – to make it useful and cost effective. Non vacuum sealed but plastic bagged smoked and refrigerated fish can go for about a month, while the vacuum sealed fish can last for a few months or longer.
I could have put this in the beginning, but a bit of advice about wild caught vs. farm salmon. Now I have come to the realization that any salmon or fish farmer reading this may not care for it, but farmed fish is abundant with fake foods and antibiotics, if not hormones. You do not want that. The majority of the time they get the salmon flesh orangey pink by adding dye to the feed recipe. In the wild, salmon flesh is off white if they eat fish like herring, and the pink color actually comes from them consuming krill and shrimp. The color of wild salmon is a pale pink color, not orange. Also, the fatty acid profile of the fish is TOTALLY different when you compare the two. The counterfeit and processed fish feed can not compare to the stuff that the wild fish consume, and their fats are full of health-giving Omega 3 fats like DHA and EPA. As a matter of fact, farm fish are the opposite, usually full of hazardous pro inflammatory Omega 6 fats. This is why I will not eat Tilapia. It is more affordable, but it is also farmed and full of Omega 6 fats, which will intensify inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and artery disease. You do not want that because the inexpensive price is NOT worth it. Get crazy. If your fish guy disagrees, then find another fish monger because he / she is full of something stinky, and I do not mean spoiled fish.
There you have it. I feel confident that this knowledge on how to prepare smoked salmon is desired and encourages you to be a bit assured, or possibly go fetch the equipment that you may require to do this.
Please take action now that you have some knowledge to get started. All of the reading and research in the world will not accomplish anything unless you put it into action.