Chuck's Smoked Salmon


Chuck Derrick Pres. Chitina Dipnetters Assn.




Mix salt and brown sugar, add evenly ½ liquid smoke and mix in good, add remaining liquid smoke and mix. Cut fish filets into 3 sections or more making them ¼ to ½ inch shorter than the height of the canning jars. Separate thin tail sections from thicker filet sections as the thinner pieces require less brine time. In a plastic tub place a layer of thick sections skin side down and cover (don’t get too carried away) with cure mix. Do the next layer the same. Last layer is placed skin side up. In another plastic tub do the same with the thinner filet sections. This cure mix will draw out moisture from the filets making it's own brine. Under refrigeration cure thin sections for 6 hrs. and thicker sections for 8-9 hrs. When cure time is up rinse off individual filet pieces with a garden hose sprayer, removing any rock salt. Dry off excess water by patting with paper towel or old cloth towel or you can lay them out on racks to air dry. Place thin and thick filet sections on separate smoker racks as smoking time will vary according to thickness. If planning to can the smoked fish, I only smoke the filet sections for 3-4 pans of chips in my electric BIG CHIEF SMOKER. This results in fish pieces that are still raw in the middle but results in a much better tasting product after the canning process. Smoking the pieces longer can result in a dry and somewhat bitter tasting fish after they are canned. If you plan to eat the smoked fish without canning, you can either leave it in the smoker long enough till it is ready to eat or as I do, smoke it till it is still a bit raw and then finish it by placing the fish in your oven at 225 degrees for about 30 minutes. When smoking is done, remove the skin from the filets. Cut filets into strips (reason for initially making pieces just shorter than canning jars) and place in large mouth pint canning jars. You can refrigerate the smoked salmon pieces until you have 3 or more batches as this will save on canning set-up and cleanup time. For sockeye salmon figure ¾ to1 smoked filet per wide mouth pint jar. My Presto 22 qt. pressure canner holds a total of 16 wide mouth pint jars in 2 layers.


Wash the canning jars and boil the lids (not bands). Fill the jars with fish strips (lengths ¼ to ½ inch below jar top). Place lids on jars and screw bands on firmly (not tight). Put 1 inch of water in the bottom of canner and place first layer of jars on canner rack. Place other rack/divider on top of first layer and add second layer of jars. Close canner lid and heat without steam vent weight till a steady flow of steam appears from the vent. Let steam for 7-10 minutes and then place weight over steam vent and bring canner pressure up to 10 lbs. Cook at 10 lbs. for 90 minutes. You will probably have to adjust heat several times during the canning process to keep pressure near 10 lbs. After 90 minutes, remove heat and let pressure return to 0 lbs. and vent lock button falls back down. Remove weight and open canner. Place jars on a towel to cool (away from drafts). Jars will seal upon cooling. Before the jars are all the way cool the jar bands may feel loose, but do not re-tighten. Re-tighten bands only after jars are completely cooled. Enjoy!!!!!!!!