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View Full Version : Smoking - the mahogany look????



piscolabis
10-10-2007, 08:07 PM
What's the trick for getting that rich smooth mahogany look on smoked salmon?
I've made two batches. The second batch I was sure I had it right. I brined the meat for 6 hrs (as per recipe), rinsed thoroughly in cold fresh water after taking out of brine, patted it dry then let it rest for 3 hrs. and let a pellicle form. I put it in a cold smoker and turned on the heat and let the temp. rise slowly. Then possibly the mistake . . . after 30 minutes I noticed liquid coming out of the top and beading up. I touched it lightly with a paper towel and the liquid immediately soaked into the paper. Then I let it continue to smoke heavily for a total of three hrs. at about 175 degrees F and shut it off, took out the shelves and let it cool until refrigerating. The finished top looked somewhat paled where I dabbed off the liquid.
No beautiful mahogany finish on top (but outstanding taste!!).
Any ideas from the experts on what I need to get that beautiful look?
Tom

sethonious
10-11-2007, 10:50 AM
You already identified your problem. DON"T TOUCH IT! That liquid will dry and turn into that nice finish. Also don't rinse too thouroughly, just a quick rinse might also be in order.

piscolabis
10-11-2007, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the tips. I wondered as I soaked the liquid onto the paper towel if the liquid would puddle and leave blotches and also if I wasn't taking away some of the brine. I thoroughly rinsed the meat because the first batch was salty. I'm sure it was salty because I brined it too long overnight.
Third time, I'm confident, will be the charm. I'll follow your tips.
Thanks again.
Tom

sethonious
10-12-2007, 01:14 PM
Also if you are worried about the saltiness you can put a honey glaze, which will counteract the saltiness and help with the coating.

KOKANEEKIDTC
12-20-2007, 10:59 PM
hey piscolabis! i know that you original post was some time ago but since all of the next season's tackle is tied and the boat is ready to go, and i am out of projects i started reading some of the old posts. when you said after putting the fish in the smoker it started beading up. that was probably fat from the fish as it was getting heated up too fast... did you allow the fish to come to outside temp and also to form the "skin" (air dried) before sticking it in? the smoke will give the awsome color. the way i smoke fish is after bringing to a non-refrigerated temp and air drying to skin over, i put the fish in the smoker and get the smoke happening and lots of it. be sure to vent a bit so the smoke flows and does not get stale. the glaze goes on towards the end of the cycle and i brush on a mixture of brown sugar, karo, molassas, some sort of booze...brandy or rum. let it cook more and add a bit more smoke, bast some more, etc till the fish is done. i do it at about 170 or so. it is not really smoking as that method is done cold and over days. this is really smoke cooking but works well with the lower cooking temp. as far as it being too salty, you need to use canning/pickling or kosher salt. do not use iodized... that is the problem. i leave my fish in the brine for a day or two and it is not too salty. 1 cup to a gallon of water. i have been smoking fish and other stuff for more years than i would care to count and these methods have produced many many fine products. by the way.... repeated basting of your fish using my candy sauce turns the fish in to pieces of candy!!! no sooner is it done and the ex had it given away... feel free to pm me anytime! tc

cptdarel
12-21-2007, 06:18 AM
after the brine, as tc said air dry to a tacky sheen is called "pelical" in smoaker SLOWLY bring up temp, in fact I leave lid cracked open about 15% one hour + -. *;)
I don't touch it till about done then a dark rum and brown sugar glaze, brushed on pull out after 1 hour more. ;) ;)

piscolabis
01-10-2008, 11:21 PM
Thanks, all. I did let the pellicle form.
The wiping after it started oozing was the problem. I tried your suggestions of Kosher salt - it worked. I also let the next batch ooze and it came out perfect. I was keeping the heat about 160 F.
Tom

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-11-2008, 12:39 AM
tom, i learned about kosher salt after i discovered the same too salty thing... it was horrible and i tried all sorts of things to calm it down including tons of sugar... just remember to get your fish up to the outside temp and not throw cold fish into the smoker. all of the fat comes up and settles on your fillets and will cause it to go rancid.

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-11-2008, 08:17 PM
ok Tom!!! this is the bottom line of an absolutely fool proof way to get the most beautiful color on not only the fish, but anything else you might want to cook... first of all ,depending on whichever is your strong hand, hold whatever it is that you want to have that beautiful color straight out in front of you being sure it is backlighted, then with the weak hand (and i emphacize weak) hand, hold up a bottle of kesslers or possibly some dark rum, lining the two items up to the back lighting. and, as you will immediately observe, the perfect color is instantly attained.... thus, throw out the food and enjoy the booze...and you won't have to worry about getting things just right and by the way, who cares if it gets burnt... i'm sorry but i needed to do a lighten up.... forgive me!

maui_mark
01-11-2008, 10:48 PM
Kokaneekidtc... I am getting to like your techniques more and more! [smiley=homersimpson.gif]
I realize the technique is more important than the actual smoker... but I'm just starting the search for the best smoker for my needs...
Thought your suggestion had great merit! Wild Turkey has a great color, especially when complimented by sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which has a great color also... just doing my reserach on smokers. Thanks for the grin! ;D Mark ;D

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-12-2008, 07:35 PM
maui mark... i figured that people would like that way. i have 2 brinkmans with the water bath and are charcoal fired. my other smoker is an old stainless steel oven of some sort and has 7 spots for oven sized racks. i installed one of my deep fryer units in there and use it to smoke as well as deep frying. ya can use anything you want and as long as it works well and it makes you happy, you win!!! tc

PlugROCKSTAR
01-12-2008, 11:03 PM
What's the trick for getting that rich smooth mahogany look on smoked salmon?

Any ideas from the experts on what I need to get that beautiful look?
Tom

You mean like this color? ;)
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/916steelhead/yummygold.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/916steelhead/Trout_GoldenBrown.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/916steelhead/t05.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/916steelhead/Smoke9-2.jpg

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-13-2008, 12:14 AM
916 jus' like 'dat!!! dem is jus' beautimus!!! atta boy!!! tc

PlugROCKSTAR
01-13-2008, 09:05 AM
916 jus' like 'dat!!! dem is jus' beautimus!!! atta boy!!! tc


thanks. trick is that you let the smoker do it's job. the only time you should open the smoker door is when you need to add more chips/wood.

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-13-2008, 07:10 PM
correct a mundo, 916... any unnecessary peek will add about 30 minutes to cooking time... this is per peek so unless you absolutely have to be in there, don't do it! taking off the top or opening that huge door just creates a hot air rising phenonomen and that heat gets gone really fast. if you are slow cooking at around 140-170, it takes a long time for the temp to get back to normal. tc

SOUTH_BAY_FISHER
01-18-2008, 03:23 PM
Wow what a thread ok here is my two plus cents. First off i used to do the whole brine this but never quite got the taste i wanted good yes but not the holly mother of christ this is the best thing ever. So i started using a different method after reading about smoking fish everyspare min i had at work for about a week i came up with this way and it is my new way of doing things.

first filet out the fish, then mix together koshersalt, fresh craked black pepper and garlic powder. i get about a cup of this mixture for around a limit or my size smoker full of fish. Then liberaly coat both sides of the fish with this mixture i mean pack it on there. Then layer the fish inbetween layers of brown sugar i always poor a little bit of scotch on top i've used burbon too with great sucsess. and let is sit till the sugar turns from crystals to a liquid. Then i pick up the filets wipe off the exstra sryup with my hands i don't wash off with water just wipe off the exsess then put on a rack to tack up after it tacks i smoke for 18-24 hrs i like a harder smoke on my fish i haven't run into anyone that doesn't like it yet. it also has the dark color you are looking for.

KOKANEEKIDTC
01-18-2008, 07:58 PM
south bay fisher: i like your method and will try it once i start catching again. it sounds more like a rub like on ribs and stuff...you have to start out with a good brine as it is the foundation for a good cure and finished product. my brine is the basic usual kosher salt deal but to that i add lots of secret herbs and spices and soak for at least a day or maybe two. here is where it gets unique. what i make is a brine but i also use acids... lemon, lime juice and my home made vinegar so it is actually a brine/marinade. i will give the basic ingredients to whomever wants them but they will have to experiment just like i did. my recipe has never changed in the last20 years and it took a very lone time of trial and error to reach what i think is the best way to do fish. even people who will not eat fish love my product. i use tons of brown sugar in the brine and while the fish is smoking i dissolve about a box of brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, ginger and ...........brandy, rum, whiskey works well as does some orange zest/ juice, etc. make it a syrup and during the last of the smoking time, brush the thickened "candy" on the fish several times and it will get thicker and thicker with each application. it is indeed fish candy. tc pm me if you want more info.