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The salmon and the snake

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    The salmon and the snake

    Hi all, I'm travelling around in the southern part of Sweden, right now I'm visiting my mom. They have a weber grill, and I brought my Maverick ET-733 (never leave home without it ). I offered to cook dinner, and they let me borrow their grill to experiment. I like to think of it as a win-win

    So, this was a great opportunity to try the snake method. I'd like to rename it to the "cake method", as I figured out a cheap way to mimmick the commercial product called the Vortex. I found an old cake form (one you use to make desserts), and I thought: "hey, that should be perfect for bbq"

    Part of the cake form, and the beginning of the snake:
    Click image for larger version

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    I placed the cake form in the middle of the grill, and placed briquettes around it. I decided to only fill a quarter circle, as I figured it should be enough for smoking salmon. Turned out to last a good 3 hours. I fired up 5 briquettes in the chimney, and placed them at one end of my quarter circle. I then placed four chunks of apple wood on top of the snake.

    Getting started with the smoking using apple wood:
    Click image for larger version

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    Done smoking, fully monitored by ole' trustworthy Maverick probes: Click image for larger version

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    Overall, there are two things to take away from this:
    1. It is extremely easy to regulate heat and smoke using the snake method (and the vents of course). All of a sudden the Smokenator and Vortex are rendered obsolete.
    2. Apple wood and salmon goes together just as well as apple wood and chicken. Friggin' awesome!

    I set the grill to run at 120 deg C (250 deg F), and smoked the salmon. No salt, no spices, no nothing. I smoked it until the internal temp reached 58 deg C (135 deg F).

    I served it with my sweet potato cognac mash and some asparagus with butter and parmesan cheese flakes. Overall, a very nice dish and great flavor. Tomorrow I will cook a pork butt. It is great fun trying different gear, a great learning experience.
    Click image for larger version

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    Attached Files

    #2
    That looks awesome as usual Henrik!! Good job. I loves me some smoked salmon That's a nice way to recycle an old cake ring. You can put your coals inside and wings around the kettle similar to a vortex I bet. Nice!

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! I never thought of reversing the ring, i.e placing the coals inside. Good idea, will remember that.

    #3
    Awesome dinner Henrik! You always inspire us... thank you!

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Much obliged, thanks!

    #4
    And here I thought I was going to hear a fable: The Tale of the Salmon and the Snake, where the salmon wins of course. However, this is waaaay better! What a great idea to use the ring from a springform pan to make the mini-snake, Henrik. Even as I speak, people are probably shamelessly copying your technique. That salmon looks delicious! Did it taste smoky?

    Kathryn

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, the title wrote itself :-)

      The salmon turned out great, I've done it before. It has PLENTY of smoke flavor (just like readily smoked fish you buy in the store). Perhaps hard to see from the pictures, but the surface gets a proper brown hue from the smoke, while the salmon is pink on the inside.

    #5
    The salmon and the snake. Sounds like a child's book. Looks like a gourmet meal!

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Huskee!

    #6
    Nice cook Henrik. How did you cook the asparagus? Steamed?

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, just a very short time. I check them with some sharp pointy device every minute or so, I like them al dente. Or rather, I really don't like them overcooked :-)

    #7
    Great idea Henrik, also love the pictures. My wife loves salmon I think I will surprise her with this.

    Comment


      #8
      Looks really good and something I will have to try. I do a smoked salmon with a rub and alder wood with my Smokenator - mostly a recipe I coopted from a cedar plank recipe, which all the women folk in this household love. I'm a big lox fan, so I wonder if I'd prefer this un-seasoned. Also, I only cook my salmon until it's flaky to the touch, and yours looks a little beyond that, so I'll have to try temp-ing mine and see. Thanks for the insight.

      Comment


      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        Alder is my usual goto wood with seafood, it is superb, but I must say the apple wood turned out great. I've done it twice now. Let me know if you try it unseasoned. If I were to add anything perhaps it would be salt, but I honestly can't say I miss it. The salmon taste together with the smoke is just perfect in my opinion.

      • The Burn
        The Burn commented
        Editing a comment
        The GF's vegetarian daughter who always requests my salmon will be home from school next week, so I'll do half a salmon with the usual rub and half of it naked, with the apple wood.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Salmon was the first thing that got me into smoking years ago, and apple wood was what I used. I experimented with future batches and my wife and I decided apple was surely the way to go with salmon. I have never tried alder but you are one of many that recommends it for fish.

      #9
      Henric, I love the cake form idea. Awesome meal as always!

      Comment


      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Jon!

      #10
      Nice. You seem like a good candidate for the PartyQ. I use the snake method with the PartyQ and it works well (a bit tricky to get started as the Q when set to a low temp will choke the coals so make sure the starting coals are sell started before closing the lid). I smoke tones of salmon in the fall when the outside temp is about 40-45F/4.5C because I can start it at 90-100 degrees to let the mild apple wood set in. Then rapidly bring it up to cure temp without "cooking" the fish. Cheers!

      Comment


        #11
        I did my salmon tonight. 2/3 with my usual rub and 1/3 with a nice dose of sea salt. Used the smokinator with a fair amount of apple wood. 135 was a good end internal temp and I did like the apple smoke flavor and the salted-only salmon. Mine came out with a color more like your last, smaller photo and not as dark and red as your plated picture. Here's the un-rubbed 1/3 (with a few flecks of ancho chile that floated over)



        Looked back at your photos at didn't notice a water plan anywhere and realized that might account for some of the difference. So next time ...


        Comment


          #12
          Nice! I'm glad you liked it. Yes, let's see if I can spot the differences:
          1. I dit NOT use a water pan. Did you? I figured it is a fish with high fat content, and I wouldn't smoke it for long (compared to, say, pork butt), so I skipped the pan.
          2. You used the Smokenator, I used my home made Vortex. The difference could be that you're using wood chips, while I was using wood chunks. Is that correct? Either way, I placed three large chunks of apple wood at the very beginning of the snake, so the salmon got a load of smoke. I have used the Smokenator before, but didn't manage to get the chunks in there, so I used chips.
          3. What temperature did you have in your kettle when smoking? If you were running higher than I did (250 deg F), perhaps your salmon was on the grate for a shorter time period than mine.

          I see temp (=> time) and smoke as the two main factors that would account for surface color differences.

          Comment


            #13
            I'm going to guess that it was the water pan and change that next time. Force of habit.

            I did use wood chunks - three good sized ones. Since it was a short cook, I did one layer of unlit coals at the bottom of the Smokenator, the 3 wood chunks, and then about half a chimney of lit coals, so I got good smoke early on also.

            I did run a little hot at the beginning, maybe about 275, but it came down to 250 and even below, so our total time was probably similar

            Thanks

            Comment

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