How to Make Tasmanian Salmon
This delicious Tasmanian salmon will have you wanting more!
5 Pounds salmon, trout or char
Birch or maple syrup for basting
1 Quart cool water
⅓ Cup diamond crystal kosher salt, about 2 ounces of any kosher salt
1 Cup brown sugar
Mix together the brine ingredients and place your fish in a (plastic or glass) container, cover and put in the refrigerator. This curing process eliminates some of the moisture inside of the fish while at the same time infusing it with salt, which will help preserve the salmon.
You will need to cure your salmon for at least 4 hours, even for thin fillets from trout or pink salmon. Double the brine if it's not enough to cover the fish.
Take your fish out of the brine and pat it dry. Set the fillets on your cooling rack, skin side down. Ideally, you'd do this right under a ceiling fan set on high, or outside in a cool, breezy place. By "cool" I mean 60°F (15°C) or cooler. Let the fish dry for 2 to 4 hours (or up to overnight in the fridge). You want the surface of the fish to develop a shiny skin called a pellicle.
Start by slicking the skin of your fish with some oil, so it won't stick to the smoker rack. Know that even though this is hot smoking, you still do not want high temperatures. Start with a small fire and work your way up as you go. It is important to bring the temperature up gradually or you will get that white albumin "bleed" on the meat. I can control my heat with my smoker, so I start the process between 140°F and 150°F (60°C or 65°C) for up to an hour, then finish at 175°F (79°C) for a final hour or two.
After an hour in the smoker, baste the fish with birch or maple syrup, or honey; do this every hour. This is a good way to brush away any albumin that might form.
Once your fish is smoked, let it rest on the cooling rack for an hour before you put it in the fridge. Once refrigerated and wrapped in plastic, smoked fish will keep for 10 days. If you vacuum-seal it, the fish will keep for up to 3 weeks. Or freeze your fish for up to a year.
Recipe by: Chef Michael Demagistris