Alaska Smoked Salmon

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Every spring and summer, the rivers of Alaska fill with salmon, rushing upstream to spawn in streams and lakes. While all considered Pacific Salmon, there are actually a number of different species of salmon rushing upstream. Each has a distinct flavor, and a loyal market. For example, sockeye salmon are traditionally used for canning.

However, almost all salmon can be used for smoking. Although favorites include pink salmon and keta salmon, just about every kind of salmon smokes well. The process of smoking salmon is relatively simple: soak the meat in a salt-and-sugar brine, then leave it in the smoke of a hardwood fire. The brine and the smoke flavor the meat, and different brine recipes and different smoking woods make for very different smoking results.

Smoked Salmon Dishes

While the brine and wood flavor the meat, the cooking process can be altered to yield very different products. The most straightforward smoked salmon product is hot smoked salmon. The fire is kept hot, and the smoking process cooks the salmon into a tasty, flaky dish. This can also be frozen and re-heated, but is fully cooked once it is done smoking.

Alternately, the smoker can be kept at room temperature so that the salmon does not cook. The uncooked meat takes on a smooth consistency, and is used as a spread. In this form, it is called cold smoked salmon, or lox. On top of this, salmon smoked for over a day can turn into a salmon jerky, a dried treat favored by many hikers over beef jerky.


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