5 lbs of salmon
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 (3 ounce) package dry crab and shrimp seasoning mix
lemon pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, sliced
4 lemons, sliced and crushed
2 oranges, sliced and crushed
1 lime, sliced and crushed
4 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste
Honey or orange marmalade for basting
- Pour water into a large bowl or small bucket. Always brine foods in a food-grade, nonreactive container such as a stainless steel or enameled stockpot, a brining bag, or a food-grade plastic bucket.If using a pot, use one that does not contain aluminum. Stir in salt, white sugar, brown sugar, seasoning mix, lemon pepper, and black pepper. Add onion, lemons, oranges, lime, garlic, and hot pepper sauce.
- Submerge salmon in brine. Keep in the refrigerator for 12 to 36 hours.
- Pat salmon fillets dry with paper towels; do not rinse.
- Place on smoking rack skin-side down. Place fish under a fan on high for about 4 hours–or outside in a cool, breezy place (lower than 60 degrees F) to seal the fish. Let the fish dry for 2-4 hours, or in a refrigerator overnight
- To smoke the salmon, set your smoker low to 150 degrees F. Add your favorite wood to the smoker.
- Slick the skin side of your fish with some oil to avoid sticking.
- Start the temperature of your smoker low (150 degrees) and keep it there for an hour. For the last hour or two of cooking, finish it up at 175 degrees F. Baste the fish every hour with honey or marmalade. The salmon is finished when an internal temperature of 130 degrees - 140 degrees is reached.
*A NOTE ABOUT ALBUMIN: Low smoking temperature will allow the fish to cook without contracting to quickly. As the fish cooks, it will release albumen from the meat. Albumin is a creamy, whitish substance that appears on the surface of meats during cooking. A little albumin is to be expected. A lot of albumen means that your fish will be dry. Basting every hour with some honey or orange marmalade will brush away any albumin that forms and keep your fish looking pretty.