Salmon Jerky

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Native American in the Pacific Northwest were among the first humans to use salmon as a major food source, and that's hardly surprising. Salmon are anadramous--that is, they live in the ocean and travel to fresh waters to mate and lay eggs. Once a year, the rivers and streams of northwestern America would fill with salmon rushing back to their mating grounds.

This was obviously a good time for the native peoples, who took advantage of the abundant fish. However, the salmon rush came but once a year, and fish doesn't keep well. Because of this, Native Americans would cure the fish into a tough jerky that lasted far longer than fresh fish. This salmon jerky is still popular today, and is a favorite breakfast on-the-go among the health-conscious.

Indian Hard Smoked Salmon

Salmon jerky is prepared in much the same way as hot smoked salmon and lox. The meat is sliced into thin strips, which are soaked in brine (a seasoned mix of salt water, sugars, and spices). The brined fish then gets smoked overnight, and air dries for another few days until dry but chewy. It is then usually frozen, since most people don't like the jerky when it has dried out all the way.

Once dried, salmon jerky usually won't go bad. It is high in protein, and low in oils and fats, as these parts of the fish are usually removed as they cure poorly. In addition, it travels well, and different methods of curing the meat (also called kippering) give a variety of flavors to this treat.


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