i dedicate this post to one of the most generous people that i know - he is known as M2 (m-squared). he is an excellent chef in his own right, a self-made, down to earth chef (you'll see what i mean soon). he and i differ in some ways in that he tends to favor more traditional types of cooking whereas i try to be more innovative. he lives by the philosophy of true farm to table - from raising his own animals, slaughtering them by hand in the most humane way possible, and cooking everything fresh - a philosophy that i would love to take on.
M2 was kind enough to invite me for a salmon smoking adventure. smoked salmon is something that i hold dear to me, and something that i buy more of than a new york deli (or at least it seems that way to my bank account). it is also something that i would not think of making myself - but now, after being walked through how to smoke salmon myself, its something i'm now down for.
we started with wood chips, you can take your pick - there are all sorts of varieties, but we used apple wood chips. one tip i learned is to soak the apple chips in water for a while - this keeps them from burning too quickly, and lets them smoke longer.
(click on any of the photos for the recipe)
the next step is to take your salmon and cure it. the photo below shows the cured salmon. the way to cure your salmon is to lather your salmon in equal amounts of brown sugar and salt. you can cure for any duration between 2-48 hours - just keep in mind that maybe the longer that you cure the salmon the saltier it will get. once it is cured, rinse it off in cold water and lay it on a drying rack.
take some of the salmon and crust it with freshly ground black pepper and set it aside. here is a good opportunity to get creative with any variety of herbs and spices to suit your fancy.
the man himself prepping the grill. the goal here is to create a situation where the wood chips smoke the salmon but do not overheat the grill.
keep that temperature around 200F!
once you've smoked for about 3 hours (the salmon, that is) - or longer depending on how smokey you want the taste to be, you can take it out of the grill.
package up the salmon in wax paper and tie up with kitchen twine for gifting. this really epitomizes M2 - his generosity when it to comes to spreading food, and love.