Salmon candy has become my new favorite road food. And while it looks like regular smoked salmon, it’s not.
Well, I first heard about it years ago, when it was called squaw candy, but it’s no longer called that for obvious reasons. salmon candy for sale basically heavily smoked strips of salmon, originally smoked so long they were basically jerky. Nowadays it’s usually lacquered with something sweet, such as brown sugar, maple or birch syrup, or even molasses. The idea is to combine fatty-savory-smoky-sweet in one bite.
Strips from the belly of the salmon are best.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my recipe for smoked salmon. I really do. But it’s for large pieces of salmon, meant to be eaten as a meal, or crumbled into salads or whatever. It isn’t something you can wrap in a paper towel, stick in your pocket and carry with you when you are foraging or wandering around, or maybe fishing for more salmon.
Here’s what you need to get started:
I’ve uses a Traeger and a Bradley. Both are good. No matter what smoker you use, you will need to be able to a) know your smoking chamber’s temperature, and b) control the heat, at least in a rough sense.
The only downside to a Traeger smoker is that you need to use their wood pellets. As a guy who used a Brinkmann wood-fired BBQ for years, fueling it with scraps of almond and other fruit woods, buying wood can be annoying, but you get better precision with this method. I prefer to use alder wood for my salmon, but apple, cherry, oak, or maple work fine.
Buy a box of kosher salt from the supermarket. Do not use regular table salt, as it contains iodine and anti-caking agents that will give your salmon an “off” flavor. I use Diamond Crystal, which is cut finer than Morton’s.
Something sweet — salmon love sweet. I prefer to sweeten my smoked salmon with birch syrup; It’s just like maple syrup, only tapped from birch trees instead. Super cool stuff. But maple syrup is just as good. Just use real maple syrup, OK? Not the imitation crap. Honey works, too.
A large plastic container.
Buy the big, flat ones from the supermarket. They stack easily in a normal fridge, so you can have two different brines going. And they clean easily and are pretty cheap.
A wire rack.
You need to rest your brined fish on a rack with plenty of air circulation to form the all-important pellicle (more on that in a bit), and you will use it to rest the smoked fish before storing it.
A basting brush.
You probably already have this in your kitchen, but if not, pick one up. Get the flat kind, like you use to paint detail on window trim.
When you are ready to start, you will need smallish pieces of salmon about 1/4 to 1/2 pound each. Any salmonid fish will work with this recipe. I’ve done it with king salmon, sockeye, coho, and pink salmon, Dolly Varden, plus kokanee, steelhead, and Lahontan trout.