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Homemade Cured & Smoked Salmon

Cured Salmon

 

 

Before we get started, let’s ask the question – How safe is eating ‘cured salmon’ that has not been smoked . . . or at least heated for a minimum of 30 minutes to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F?

A lot of people love to eat sushi, but there is some debate as to whether or not ‘cured salmon’ can be eaten raw. Personally, think I’d rather not have to worry about whether or not my salmon might have a parasite.     That being said . . . let’s look at curing salmon.

 

Prepping the salmon [1]

  • Remove head, fins and tail as well as one-half inch along the belly incision on each side.
  • Cut steaks: 3″ steaks if salmon weighs 10 lbs or under;  1-1/2″ steaks if salmon is over 10 lbs.   (Split along backbone; leave skin on if desired)

Note: The salmon should be fresh and chilled before curing/ smoking.  Use ice in the water if needed for chilling.

Cure Recipe [1]

  1. 1/2 cup white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1 gallon cold water
  4. 1-3/4 cup Morton Tender Quick or Morton Sugar Cure – plain

 

View these Morton cure products on Amazon at these links:

Morton Tender Quick Home Meat Cure – 2 lb

 Morton Sugar Cure, Smoke Flavor, 7.5 Pound (Pack of 6) – plain

Directions:

  1. You will need 1 gallon of brine for each 5 lbs. of salmon (follow manufacturer’s directions).
  2. Completely submerge salmon in the brine holding it down with a ceramic plate or bowl.
  3. Cure for 16 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Remove salmon from brine and rinse in cool water, pat dry and cook as desired. It can also be smoked.
  5. Refrigerate if not consumed immediately.

 

Smoked Salmon

To make homemade smoked salmon you’ll use a Salmon Brine Mix vs. a Morton product  – following the manufacturer’s directions on the brine mix package.   Otherwise, the overall recipe is pretty much the same as for curing salmon . . . fresh salmon (prepared), brine mix, and 1 gallon ice water.

To read more about Salmon Brine Mix  visit this link at Hi Mountain Alaskan Salmon Brine, 13.4 Oz.

 

 

 

To make smoked salmon:

  • Immerse the salmon in the brine for 24 hours, keep in the refrigerator during this 24 hour period
  • Remove from brine, rinse in cold water and pat dry
  • Let the salmon sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then smoke. (The smoking process will depend on the method, type of smoker, outside temperature, etc.)

For information on smokers, visit this link:

Note: Should you not be able to get the salmon the desired internal temperature of 160 degrees F in the smoker; place it in a pre-heated oven to finish the process once the smoking process has achieved the desired color.

 

Fish Jerky

With hunting season over, those looking to enjoy outdoor sporting activities often turn to fishing. So in this post, we’ll take a look at fish jerky which has been a staple for mankind for a very long time.

 

 

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As with red meat jerky, the fish used should be the leanest AND freshest possible (the flesh of the fish deteriorates and decomposes rapidly).   Any fish used should also be free of any parasite or disease.  This is true for both freshwater and saltwater fish.  Some recommended fish are:

Freshwater Fish
  • Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Bluegills
  • Walleyes
  • Perch
  • Crappies

 

Saltwater Fish
  • Codfish
  • Flounder
  • Tuna (free of fat)

 

The more ‘oily’ fish such as snapper, mullet, whitefish, catfish and pike are not recommended for making jerky as the fat/oil is too evenly distributed throughout the flesh. Although, they are good for smoking.

Curing

Unlike red meat jerky, fish jerky is salt cured – liquid or dry – before dehydration. [1]   A couple methods are below:

Brine Cure – 1/4 cup of dine pickling or canning salt to 2 cups of water. Brine should cover the fish and make sure the salt is completely dissolved.  Using a glass container, place the fish in the brine and place in refrigerator for 48 hours.

Dry Brine Cure – Place a layer of dry salt in a glass dish, apply coating of salt to each strip of fish, place in pan – repeat for each fish strip.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 48 hours.

For both wet/dry brine cure, remove fish from container upon completion of 48 hours and rinse under cold water then pat dry. You can now marinate and/or dehydrate the fish.  While marinating is not necessary, it does add to the flavor.

Fish Jerky Marinade

For the recipe below, allow the mixture to set overnight in the refrigerator before using with the fish strips.  This lets all the flavors blend.   When ready to use the fish marinade, allow the fish strips to set in the marinade for about two (2) hours in the refrigerator before placing into the dehydrator or oven.  You can, of course, use your favorite pre-packaged marinade.

Fish  Marinade Recipe [1]

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
Drying

Dehydrator Drying –  follow manufacturer’s directions for fish.

Oven Drying – place on wire racks over a pan to catch drippings.  Set over to 150 degrees F, leaving the oven door slightly open.  Dry for about one hour, turn strips over and to dry for an additional hour.  When completed, the fish jerky should  bend but not break.  For safety an internal temperature should reach 160 degrees.

 

Just like red meat jerky, fish jerky needs to be stored in a cool dry place, frozen or vacuum packed to enjoy later.

 

Check back – next time when we’ll look at how to prepare cured and smoked salmon.  Not exactly jerky – but so delicious !!

 

 

 

 

[1] The Complete Jerky Book

‘Ground Meat’ Jerky Recipes

Like making sliced jerky, jerky made from ground meat(s) can be seasoned with spices – your own or pre-packaged, plus needing a cure.  [ Read more about cures at these links:  Cures &   Morton  Salt.] 

 

The amount of ground meat being  used should always be weighed to ensure the correct amount of seasoning and cure are used.

The recipes below are written with beef as the ground meat ingredient; however, any ground meat, i.e., buffalo, venison, etc. can be used – or a combination.

GroundMeatJerky

Ground Meat Jerky No. 1 [1]

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground lean beef
  • 2 teaspoons Morton Tender Quick (Cure)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. Mix all cure and spices together.
  2. In a glass or plastic container, place meat and sprinkle with some of the cure/spice mixture – then mix well
  3. Continue to add in remaining cure/spice mixture, mixing well, until all of the mixture is used
  4. Cover container and allow meat to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Alternate Method:    Dissolve cure and spices in 1/2 cup water.  Pour over meat and mix well.  Cover and allow meat to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

 

Ground Meat Jerky No. 2 [1]

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Morton Sugar Cure
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

Directions

  1. Mix all cure and spices together.
  2. In a glass or plastic container, place meat and sprinkle with some of the cure/spice mixture – then mix well
  3. Continue to add in remaining cure/spice mixture, mixing well, until all of the mixture is used
  4. Cover container and allow meat to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Alternate Method:    Dissolve cure and spices in 1/2 cup water.  Pour over meat and mix well.  Cover and allow meat to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

 

Commercial Seasonings

If you have a favorite flavor of pre-packaged jerky seasonings, these can also be used to flavor ground meat jerky as well.

The ‘standard’ recipe for using pre-packaged seasoning for ground meat jerky is

  • 4 teaspoons pre-packaged seasoning per 1 lb. of meat
  • 1/4 teaspoon cure per 1 lb of meat
  • 1 oz water per 1 lb of meat

Follow the same directions above incorporating pre-packaged seasonings into the ground meat.

You can also check the seasonings package label for alternate recipes to make ground meat jerky.

 

And now, something that has absolutely nothing to do with jerky but looks like – at least in my opinion – it could have multiple uses.  All-in-one breakfast cooker – comes with griddle, coffee maker and toaster oven.  Seems like it would be good for camp or emergency use.  Best part . . . it has auto shut-off!

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[1] The Complete Jerky Book