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Author Topic: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft  (Read 1338 times)

norm_2

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Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« on: December 10, 2016, 02:58:45 PM »

I had some frozen spring and chum that thawed and wet-brined.  When smoking, both the skin and meat sides are wet after flipping.  Juice would pool on top even after 2 flips.  When flipping them over, parts are breaking off.  Nothing holds together like with fresh fish.  I started with the meat side down.

Did I not heat and dry the meat side enough before flipping?  Is this a problem with all frozen fish?  Although I remember smoking some frozen pink salmon and it turned out fine.  Are there steps you take with frozen fish to avoid the problems I am having?

Thanks! 
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Noahs Arc

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 04:41:27 AM »

Why are you flipping the fillets? Did you let it form a pellicle?(spelling)
Can you explain your process in detail from start to finish that would help a little more.
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norm_2

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2016, 05:02:36 PM »

Thanks for replying Noahs Arc.  Prior to freezing cut fish into smoking size, thaw, brine, drain, put meat side down on racks, liquid is pooling on the skin-up side, flip over after 3 hours to dry the skin side but fish is very soft and breaks, liquid again pools on the meat side, flip over again after another 4 hours and fish is still soft, left in smoker for another couple hours and noticed steam still venting, the now skin side starts to dry out.  I prefer a drier fish.  Recognizing it is colder now, I had covered the smoker with a cardboard box.
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norm_2

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 05:08:19 PM »

Pellicle is spelt correctly and I only know because I looked it up.  I think you solved it, because it was cold, I did not let the pellicle form.  Thanks.
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Noahs Arc

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2016, 04:35:33 AM »

No problem, hope you have some more fish to try it out. I usually put the fish on the racks and run a portable fan over the fish for a few hours as it helps speed up the process.
Still not sure why you are flipping the fish though, you shouldn't have to do that.

If you've got the pellicle correct you should t have any of the little white boogers on the fish when you're done.
I have a big chief and it will hot smoke just fine in cold weather with the box on.

Give dry brine a try i love the finish product from dry brine. Just watch the salt. 4 cups brown sugar 1 cup non iodized salt is a good base ratio. I've done batches with just those 2 ingredients and turns out great.
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Animal Chin

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 06:11:49 PM »

Like Noah I usually leave it out to dry overnight on racks after brining to form pellicle and, possibly, remove extra moisture.

You're likely right about the colder temps, but did you add usual amount of salt or brine for long enough? I'm pretty sure the salt and sugar draw out the moisture from the fish as it's brining. This happened to me once and I had to use a dehydrator to finish it off as I was getting deposits of liquid on top after smoking, and this was when it was warm out. This particular batch I used less salt than normal in my brine and brined for less time as I wanted a less salty end product.

Normally, once it's finished brining, the fish is noticeably firmer than when it went in.

I smoke with skin removed.
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norm_2

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2016, 04:38:38 PM »

Animal chin, I will try your drying it overnight suggestion. I have never smoked in the winter before so I need to change my procedures.  I brined for several days but I prefer less salt and this didn't help.  I don't have a dehydrator so next time, I just have to prepare to leave it in the smoker longer.  Thanks.
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Animal Chin

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Re: Suggestions for smoking thawed salmon - it is really soft
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2016, 10:06:54 AM »

If worse comes to worse and it happens again, throw it in the oven at 180 degrees after you're done smoking.
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