Saturday, December 13, 2008

Smoked Salmon

Today was my first attempt at smoked salmon. Of all days I decided to use a different charcoal which was very slow starting. Because of this, I actually put too much in and the smoker ended up trying to stay around 275 degrees. My target was 225-250 so the salmon cooked a little quicker then I wanted but still came out outstanding. It was very very flavorful and I will make sure I use my old faithful charcoal next time.

I picked up 3.5 lbs of fresh salmon from Wholefoods.

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup non-iodized table salt
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
3 tablespoons granulated onion
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon dried savory
2 teaspoons dried tarragon

Place the salmon flesh-side up on a non-reactive platter or in a glass baking dish. Pour all of the rub over the salmon and spread it evenly over the surface, about 1/4" thick. Move the salmon into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. This fillet was refrigerated for three hours.

Next, rinse the fillet thoroughly under cold running water to remove all the salt and sugar. Pat all surfaces dry with paper towels. You'll notice that the fillet now has a more intense color.

Place the fillet flesh-side up on a clean platter or sheet pan and let it dry until tacky, about 30 minutes. This tackiness is known as "pellicle". It is the result of water-soluble proteins drawn to the surface of the fish by the rub that dry to create a sticky layer. This layer prevents moisture loss and attracts and holds smoke particles during cooking.

You can dry the fish in the refrigerator, or on the kitchen counter in front of an electric fan

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Fold a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil in half to make a sling slightly larger than the salmon fillet. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and place the salmon flesh-side up on the foil.

Sprinkle on the finishing rub on all surfaces except the skin side. This rub is sweet, so adjust the amount used according to your taste. The Cardogs suggest applying twice the amount you would if you were applying heavy salt and pepper to meat.

The final product.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Smoked Chicken

Well, yesterday was my first attempt at chicken on the smoker. I can only say that all in attendance said it was the best chicken they ever had. It was so juicy that the breast itself was like having clear gravy on moist!

First I spatchcocked the chicken. You can google it or watch a quick video on youtube but it is a way of cutting the chicken in half.

I put each chicken in a brine of 1 gallon water mixed with 3/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4-1/2 cut of brown sugar. I used a 1gallon water jug and then shook until it was all dissolved. I then added 1 tablespoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons of paprika. I brined each chicken seperately for 10 hours.

I pulled them out of the brine, rinsed under cold water twice for 30 seconds each and then pat dried.

I used Bad Byron's Butt Rub. You can get it at I mixed it with softened butter. I rubbed this under the skin as much as I could.

Rubbed both sides with olive oil and put the rub all over it. Back into the fridge for 2 hours. I put on the smoker and dusted with more rub to cover bare spots.

I smoked it for roughly an hour and 45 minutes and then put on the gas grill on high heat to crisp up the skin.