Smoked Canned Salmon: A Delicious DIY Recipe

Do you love the taste of smoked salmon but want to try making it yourself? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the art of smoking and canning salmon, so you can enjoy this delectable treat anytime you want. And the best part? You can achieve restaurant-quality results right in your own home!

The Joy of Homemade Smoked Canned Salmon

Have you ever received a gift that was so good, you wanted to learn how to make it yourself? That’s exactly what happened to me when my sister-in-law sent me a mouthwatering batch of smoked canned salmon from Craig. Intrigued by its incredible taste and texture, I decided to embark on a culinary adventure and dive into the world of homemade smoked canned salmon.

Freshness is Key: Catching the Perfect Fish

When it comes to preserving fish, nothing beats the freshness of catching it yourself. So, armed with a tip about a good coho bite from a friendly family at the marina, I set out on a fishing expedition. And sure enough, I caught six beautiful coho salmon the very next day.

To ensure the highest quality, it’s crucial to handle the fish properly from the moment it leaves the water. Coho salmon, in particular, need to be bled, dressed, and chilled immediately. If not, a harmful bacteria starts to grow, leading to a brown spot in the cavity, which adversely affects the fish’s flavor and quality.

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Butchering and Preparing the Fish

When it comes to smoking salmon, there are various methods. Some people prefer cutting longitudinal strips from fillet pieces for canning, while others, like myself, opt to can the fish with the bones in. The canning process softens the bones, making them not only edible but also adding a delightful taste. Additionally, I leave the skin on, as scales dissolve during canning.

To prepare the fish, I fillet one side in the usual way and leave the backbone in the other fillet. Then, I cut each side into portions to smoke.

The Art of Smoking

Now, let’s talk about the smoking process. I built my very own smoker using an old refrigerator. It features a 3-inch hole in the top, covered with a stove pipe and cap to keep the rain out. Inside the smoker, I placed an electric fan under the hole to draw air through the bottom holes, while netting keeps the bugs at bay.

To create a shiny and dry outer layer, known as a pellicle, I leave the fish in the smoker with just the fan on for a day or two. Once the pellicle is formed, I place a double burner electric hotplate in the bottom of the smoker, with a few chunks of debarked alder for added smoke flavor. Remember, you’re not aiming for a specific internal temperature here, as the purpose is to enhance the texture and impart a delicious smoky taste.

The Canning Process

After the smoking is complete, it’s time to load the jars with your mouthwatering creation. I find it helpful to use scissors to cut strips to fit the jar and pack them tightly. Now, here’s a nifty trick I’ve learned: to speed up the canner heating process, start it on a propane crab cooker. This ensures the water in the canner quickly reaches a boil for the venting process.

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Once the venting process is complete, transfer the canner to your kitchen stove, wait for the canner weight to reach 10 lbs of pressure, and set the timer for the recommended 110-minute cook time. Remember, it’s essential to follow specific procedures provided by experts like the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to ensure safety and avoid any risks associated with canning.

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

Congratulations! After the canning process, you’ll be left with jars of sensational smoked canned salmon. The lower portion of each jar will have a delightful layer of salmon oil, keeping all the fish in half-pints moist. While the fish in the top part of a pint jar may dry out slightly, it’s still an incredible treat. For my taste, I prefer using half-pint jars to ensure consistent moistness and flavor.

With your homemade smoked canned salmon safely preserved, you can enjoy it for months without worrying about freezer burn. It’s also incredibly convenient to transport, making it the perfect addition to picnics, camping trips, and more. Plus, the slightly smoky oil left behind in each jar is like a bonus dessert!

To learn more about proper fish handling and receive valuable tips, be sure to check out the Caring For Your Catch resource from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

So, why not dive into the world of homemade smoked canned salmon? Impress your friends and family with this delightful delicacy and savor the unbeatable taste of your very own creation. Happy smoking and canning!

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