Apple Cider-Cured Smoked Salmon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 4 cups apple cider or juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 sprigs thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large salmon fillets (about 1 pound each), skin and pin bones removed
- A small bundle of wood chips or chunks
To make the brine: In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, salt, and apple juice and bring to a boil. Add the remaining brine ingredients, remove from the heat, and cool. This brine can be made 2 to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
Submerge the salmon fillets in the liquid brine for at least 6 hours or overnight, refrigerated. Remove the salmon from the brine and place, uncovered, on a wire rack set in a sheet pan. Refrigerate the fillets for at least 6 hours, or overnight, to dry them out. (A dry fillet will take on smoke quicker than a moist fillet)
To smoke the salmon: In an outdoor grill, make a small fire using mesquite charcoal or briquettes. Once the fire has burned down to a hot bed of coals, after about 1 hour, place the soaked wood on the coals. Position the grate 8 to 12 inches above the smoking wood and place the salmon fillets on the grate.
Cover the grill and shut any open-air vents. After 5 minutes, check the heat of the grill; large fillets will be cooked and smoked through in approximately 30 minutes if the heat is low, about 300 to 350 degrees F, while a hotter fire will cook the fillets in 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the salmon hot off the grill.
Recipe courtesy Wildwood Restaurant, Portland, OR
Hot Smoked Salmon with Salad of Apples, Dried Cherries, Hazelnuts and Greens and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay