American BBQ Smoked Salmon Recipe: How to Smoke Salmon

Americans love a good BBQ. BBQs are symbolic for hearty eating and spending time with family and friends. BBQ and the art of throwing one are a large part of American culture that only seems to grow even more so in popularity as the years pass. BBQ often great opportunities for spending time outdoors and being active, cooking delicious food and exploring new ways to smoke meat and vegetables, as well as of course socialization. People love to socialize. Interaction and hanging with friends and family is a common practice among people all over the world and America is no exception. BBQs are extremely great to throw and can be really enjoyable if done the right way, but on the other side they can also go horribly wrong and be a nightmare if the meat that all the guests wait so patiently for ends up tough or not edible. That is why it is important to be aware of how to be a pro at the grill and make the best meats and veggies for your BBQ party to be the talk of the century. There are a plethora (and I mean a plethora) of tips and tricks on how to grill meat the right way and the actual method of grilling meat is going to differ depending on what type of meat you are grilling. I could sit here for ages and rant on and on about the many different things you need to watch for when it comes to grilling every single meat out there, and because of all these long, details, I will keep the article short by only addressing one type of meat today and that is the delicious, salmon. This article will throw out tips, tricks, and recipes on how to create the perfect smoked salmon at your next BBQ party.
Tips on Smoking Salmon
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Here is a list of some seriously important tricks that you need to be aware of before you decide to smoke your salmon. These tips will only help to enhance the overall cooking and flavor of your salmon, to strike the perfect balance between that smoky taste and delicious, well known salmon flavor that we all love.
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Selecting Salmon for Cooking – When going to your local supermarket to check for the right salmon to purchase, look out for salmons that are a bright orange and pink color and contain no sort of super, revolting fishy smell. When checking the feel of the meat, salmon should be firm, but have a bit of softness to it. Do not select salmon that is too firm or too squishy. If you choose to go the frozen route with your salmon then make sure to thaw your salmon out the night before so you can have a good chunk of time to brine the salmon properly.
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Brining Method – A good smoked salmon always begins with a good brine. Brining helps with salmon and fish in general. Other than the fact that brining boosts flavor and brings a lot of moisture to the fish, brining also helps with making your fish look more visually appealing and can actually help with cooking the fish in a way that is much easier. Soaking salmon in a sea salt brine will help with keeping the fish together and not instantly falling apart when it hits the grill. A good brine technique for salmon would be to mix equal parts of salt, ginger, garlic, sugar, and brown sugar together. Mix the brine together very well so that all ingredients are combined equally. Next part of the brining method would be to take a slice of your fish and lay it skin down on the mixture in a plastic container (never use metal). Cover that layer completely in brine and do that for all your slices of salmon. Brine bellies and tip slices of salmon need to stay there for about three hours while thick fillets need to stay in there for about 4 hours. Once the time is over, take the fish out and run it under the tap so that all the brine is completely washed off from all slices of salmon. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and then proceed to lay the fish (skin side down) on a pan for about 2 hours so that the fish lays in open air.
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Cooking Method – For the perfect salmon recipe, slow cooking over low temperature is what you want to strive for. Slow cooking of salmon on the smoker over low temperatures will greatly help with making your salmon moist, smoky, and flaky. If you really have the time, set the smoker to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit and cook your salmon over that temperature for about 3 hours. If your time is limited than aim for 220 degrees Fahrenheit with a cooking time of about 2 hours. For smokers it is best that you use wood chips that are sweet such as apple or cherry wood. Cedar planks can also contribute to a really great salmon flavor. If you are cooking your salmon over the grill than cooking time and temperature will vary. Using grills to smoke salmon over the smoker method makes things a little more difficult which is why it is very important for that when using the grill you have your eye over the salmon. Naturally, smokers are not as hot as grills so cooking methods on the grill will be a lot shorter for that reason. When smoking salmon on a grill it is good to use a thermometer to help you gage if the salmon is done cooking or not. The internal temperature of the salmon should be about 150 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When cooking your salmon look out for a rich pink and a sort of flakiness aspect to it. Flakiness of the salmon could be a sign that your salmon is done cooking and you should use a thermometer to check that.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Cooking Salmon!
Removing Pin Bones
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This step needs to be done in a very calm and gentle manner with some serious patience. Pin bones that are ripped up quickly out the of the salmon will produce not too pretty looking salmon. Utilize tweezers to carefully pull the pin bones out of the salmon in a way that will not tear up the flesh (and ruin the overall look) of the salmon. To do this, remove the pin bones in the direction of where the pin bone is oriented.
Be Careful When Picking the Salmon
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It is quite common for many people to completely turn their nose up at the belly of salmon when it comes to finding the perfect salmon to smoke or grill. Don´t do that! The belly actually makes for very good flavor. It is also fatty and rich. The better side is that the belly of salmon is actually cheaper than filets. Try to aim for organic raised salmon and also go for cuts that are all about the same thickness.
Ignoring the Leftovers
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It is common for many people to believe that the leftovers of salmon are of no good use and that they can´t possibly be used again for some delicious meals. Wrong! Salmon is so tasty and versatile as leftovers and I will prove that you now!
Versatile and Creative Ways to Use Up Leftover Smoked Salmon
Here are some really cool ways that you can get rid of the smoked salmon that is chilling in your refrigerator. Hey if you want to you can even smoke salmon on the spot and use it for these incredibly easy meal creations.
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Smoked Salmon Bread – You can use the leftover smoked salmon from yesterday´s BBQ and incorporate it into a delicious breakfast. Take some toasted rye bread and spread any yummy spread of your choosing such as butter, sour cream, spreadable cheese, and so on. Top with garnishes such as scallions. Garnish with chives, olive oil, or parsley.
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Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich – For this simple recipe simply use rye bread spread with fresh avocado. Lay your pieces of smoked salmon atop the avocado spread. Cook up some scrambled eggs and pour that atop the salmon. The next part is using any garnish of your choosing such as fresh tomatoes, cheese, chives, salt and pepper, and more!
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Smoked Salmon Dip – If you are totally sick and tired of the usual chip dips such as guacamole, salsa, sour cream and onion, and more amp up your snack with this delicious smoked salmon dip featured by bon appetit. To make this dip simply whisk up 2/3 cup crème fraiche, 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt, and 4 teaspoons of horseradish. Whisk all three ingredients until they are well blended. Next use a food processor to blend up about 1 pound of sliced smoked salmon. Continue to blend until the salmon has reached a size and consistency of a dip (about pea sized amount). Pour the salmon along with 2 tablespoons of chives into the blended mixture. You can then garnish the dip with some lemon zest and more chives and serve with tortilla chips or toasted bread.
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Chicory Salad with Smoked Salmon – This recipe is also featured by bon appetit. To make the dressing of the salad you first begin by whisking 2 tablespoons crème fraiche, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set the bowl aside. Toss in 4 cups of chicories with ½ of a small and thinly sliced shallots. Lay 4 oz smoked salmon, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, and 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds over the salad and lastly drizzle with dressing for a perfect, healthy and mouthwatering salad for lunch or dinner.
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Smoked Salmon Tartines with Fried Capers – Another delicious recipe featured by bon appetit includes this classic smoked salmon tartines with fried capers. You begin this recipe by tossing ½ of a small red onion that is sliced thinly along with 2/3 cup of champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar. In a small skillet heat up about ¼ cup vegetable oil and fry up 2 tablespoons of capers that have been rinsed and patted dry. Fry each caper for about 30 seconds until they are crisp and then place on a paper towel. Take country style bread that has either been toasted or grilled and spread about 1 cup of crème fraiche (divided upon 8 slices of bread). Season the spread with salt and pepper. Top the spread with smoked salmon, the pickled red onion, fried capers and sprinkle with chives and oil.
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Avocado on Crackers with Avocado – This is by far one of the simplest snack recipes you can utilize for a healthy snack when it is not quite time for lunch or dinner. Simply take the crackers and top pieces of smoked salmon atop the cracker. Add some thinly sliced avocado and season with some salt and pepper. The easiest, healthiest, and most convenient snack to eat when you are relaxing at home or working hard at work or school. For an even better taste serve these crackers up with some lemon!
Best Side Dishes with Smoked Salmon
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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Pesto Spaghetti
Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Lemon Asparagus
Quinoa Salad
Garlic and Feta Green Beans
Roasted Broccoli with Sesame Rice
Cilantro Lime Rice
Sesame Cucumbers
Garlic Kale and Brown Rice
Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
Grilled Brussel Sprouts with Sprinkled Parmesan
Couscous
Cucumber Dill Salad
Hopefully this article has shed some light on all things salmon. With the tips and tricks I have told you, you should be ready now to take on that smoker and grill collecting dust in the backyard and cook up you, your family, or your friends a mouthwatering and tasty salmon BBQ feast! Utilize the options of sides to create versatile and creative supplementary foods to enjoy with your smoked salmon and without a doubt take advantage of those leftover recipes that will leave you extremely happy that you decided to smoke salmon in the first place.

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