Whenever I ask what I can bring for holiday parties, everybody asks for smoked salmon. Usually I’ll blend it with cream cheese and serve it as a dip, but this time I just chunked it up into bite-sized pieces and served it with a store-bought cheese spread and crackers.
1 salmon fillet (1-1/2 to 2 pounds), preferably wild-caught
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning
Combine all of the dry ingredients in bowl, mixing well. This is the cure.
Put the fillet flat in a zip-top bag. Cover both sides of the fillet with the cure mixture. Seal the bag and place in fridge for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours. Turn the fillet over every 3-4 hours.
Remove the fish from cure, rinse well in cold water and pat dry. Place the fish skin-side down on a rack. Move to the fridge to dry until surface is dry but slightly sticky to the touch – 1 to 3 hours.
Set up your grill for a 3 hour indirect cook at 225°F. Add your smoking wood (I used apple for this batch) and smoke until the fillet starts to flake – about 2 hours.
Sweet and salty and smoky – everything a holiday appetizer should be. I really like the complex flavors that the Chesapeake Bay seasoning adds. Next time I might even give it a light dusting of extra seasoning before smoking it.