Monday, November 17, 2008

Smoking & Canning Wild Alaskan Salmon

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor

One of the many fantastic benefits of being a Catholic Priest in the Alaskan bush is fishing! I love salmon, especially when it is smoked and canned. Out here one can catch the salmon in a net. All residents of Dillingham can get a free subsistence license, i.e. we can catch as many salmon as we can eat in a year, for FREE! I also clean them, fillet them, smoke and can them. It is about a three day process if done right.

There are several different ways to smoke salmon. Below is just one example. My dad taught me this method when I was growing up in Bend, Oregon. My great grandfather (who grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon) taught my dad. So, it is a special recipe handed down from generation to generation. My mom taught me how to can the salmon and my grandmother taught her.

Smoked Salmon Recipe

1. Wild Alaskan Sockeye (Red) Smoked Salmon; eight Salmon.

2. Brine: (Two to One) i.e. two cups brown sugar to one cup salt (my dad always told me to use non-iodized salt).

3. Mix brown sugar and salt.

4. Layer salmon fillets in pan coating each layer with brine.

5. Put in fridge for at least one hour (a day is fine).

6. After brine, rinse each fillet off in cold water.

7. Glaze: Place fish on oiled racks, blow fan over fish for up to 24 hours.

8. Salmon is glazed when the surface of each piece is slick on top.

9. Smoke four hours for canning (flavor intensifies when canning).

10. If not canning, smoke for eight hours.

11. Use Alder wood or what ever you prefer, i.e. cherry wood.

12. The finished product ready to be canned.

Canning Smoked Salmon:

NOTE: This canning process ONLY applies to smoked salmon. Other meats or vegetables require a different set of instructions.

· Put 1.5 inches of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker.

· Wash all the jars in the dishwasher (use ONLY wide mouth pint jars).

· Put something on bottom of the pressure cooker, preferably a rack.

· For smoked Salmon, do not put water in jars.

· Put lids and rings in a pan of hot water on the stove; do not bring them to a boil.

· Rims of jars must be spotless after putting the salmon into jars, use a clean rag.

· Do not fill jars to the top, leave 1/4th inch of free space between salmon and top. This is done so lids can seal properly.

· Put hot lids on clean rims of jars and screw ring down tight.

· Put jars in canner, put lid on canner, turn stove on high.

· Leave the pressure regulator off.

· Let steam blow out of hole for 10 minutes (important for sterilization).

· Put pressure regulator on (the little circular donut, put on 10psi).

· After the gage reads 10psi, start decreasing heat.

· Watch closely; do not let it get over 10psi or so.

· Some canners have special donut regulators that do not allow going over 10psi.

· Donut regulator: Set stove heat so the pressure regulator barely has a hissing noise.

· At 10psi, cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

· After 1 hour and 45 minutes, slide cooker off of hot burner and let cool.

· Do not take pressure regulator off until completely cooled, may take several hours.

· After cooker cools, take of pressure regulator, then take of lid, then take out jars.

· Cricket noise: count the number of cricket noises you hear as the canner cools.

· The cricket noise is the sound of each jar sealing.

· Set Jars on dishtowel for 20 minutes, may have to wipe them off with a damp rag.

· Tap jars on the top with tablespoon, a thud sound means that it has not sealed.

· A tight clear ringing sound means that it is sealed.

The Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon is ready to store on your shelf for when that cold weather sets in and you are relaxing by the wood stove.


Anonymous said...

I've had it and it is Awsome! I knew anything that tasted that good had to take a lot of work, but I had no idea. Thank you Father Scott for sharing all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn, you are so welcome. Nice to hear from you! Hope all is well in NC. Happy Thanksgiving...Fr. Scott

jm said...

I tried this fish in December when you brought some fish to share after Mass when we were decorating the church for Christmas. I have tried lots of smoked fish, and your's ranks right up there with the best! You should enter it in the Beaver Round-up contest.

Holy Rosary Mission said...

Thanx for the feed back. I will think about entering it in the Beaver Round...Fr. Scott

Anonymous said...

After packing the fish into the jars, do you add any oil?

Anonymous said...

very informative, thank you. Do you add oil or water before sealing and cooking?

Anonymous said...

Love this recipe,have you ever added garlic or red chili pepper flakes to the brine,we like a bit of heat,thanks for sharing,Robin Eagle Creek Or

Unknown said...

Excellent directions. You saved me today. THANKS

SaraM said...

How did you build your smoker? Is that an old fridge?

Anonymous said...

yes, its an old fridge! I got it at the Dillingham Dump. It was free!! Fr Scott

Anonymous said...

After packing the smoked salmon in the jars you add NOTHING. Fr Scott

anonymous H said...

Are you hot smoking or cold smoking the salmon? Does it matter?

Anonymous said...

I build a fire with alder wood in the fridge, I use dry wood to start it and wet wood to create smoke, then I smoke for four hours. I also use briquettes for coals, so, to answer your question, hot. Fr Scott

Choclate said...

Fr. Scott did u customize the fridge i love tge idea of using a fridge so i called my welder to come by n look at an old fridge i have n the backyard and i might tweak that old fridge. Because i need to make at leadt four racks at a time. Thx uou Fr.!!

MerryBelle said...

Thank you Father! Your straight forward instructions are the perfect tool for even a veteran canner/preserver. I peel the skin off my smoked salmon before putting it in the jars. Any thoughts on skin on - skin off?? I save it in a zip lock baggie for treats for my dogs.
Mary Ann
Talkeetna, AK

Roy Rountree said...

Very much matching my method. Although I add about two tablespoons of olive oil to the jars before canning. I also add.a few slices of japaleneo per reds or a few garlic cloves to the jars as well. Take the skin off.

Paul Koski said...

What was the room temperature during glazing with the fan blowing? Can I do it in the house?

Unknown said...

How long does the salmon last in the jars after done? Years?

Anonymous said...

Your smoker reminds me of one's from my childhood. May I ask what exactly is in the kettle on top of the electric burner? I have everything else but am curious as to how you get your smoke rolling.

Anonymous said...

Hi Father. Just reading thru some of these and the cold smoke or hot smoke question caught my eye. I believe you are cold smoking, although with your fire source being at the bottom does probably raise the temps a bit. I don't think, however, that it's enough to reach over 120 degrees and in that respect it would technically be considered warm smoking but for this discussion lets just call it cold. Thanks.

Unknown said...

How long does the salmon last in the jars after done? Years?

Unknown said...

How long does the salmon last in the jars after done? Years?

Akfishrgirl said...

Regular canned salmon will last up to 5 years when stored in a cool, dark place. I'd guess at least that.

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