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Salmon and Trout Brines
submitted by: BBS Chefs "Hammer Bob" and "Freshwater"


It's Salmon Season again and time to break out the smoker. Both of these recipes were submitted via our FishSniffer forum and are being posted here with permission of both of these "BBS Chefs". Enjoy!

From: "Hammer Bob"
re: brine recipe

When I mentioned ground rules (on the BBS about posting recipes) I was (and have been) trying to think of a way to minimize bogus recipes and more importantly those forgotten or missing ingredients, which are the secret to the success. Since I can't think of anything I'll just try honesty and hope for the same.....that is a scary thought seeing some of the posts on the board. I'll go ahead and start things off with my brine recipe and we can discuss smoking techniques at a later date!

Here it is:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-iodized salt
  • 2 cups soy sauce (1 cup soy and 1 cup Yoshidas original gourmet sauce really improves things!!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (black)
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • and here is the kick....1/2 tsp dry mustard

mix dry ingredients then add liquids. Cover fish with brine. I like to brine my fish for 48 hours overhauling the fish twice during that period. I also use a tight sealing rubbermaid or tupperware container (1.5 gal) and brine in the fridge.

You can save alot of $$ by buying the Yoshidas and soy in bulk (1 or 2 gals).

Also quality of the fish is directly related to the quality of the product. Those dark "smoker salmon" as some like to call them are best let go to die in the river to support the insects the salmon fry need to survive on after hatch. Good Luck!!

From: "Freshwater"
re:brine recipe... Montana Cure

This is the mojo for Montana Bull Trout. Also works excellent for all salmon.

  • 3/4 oz. ground Mace
  • 3/4 oz. ground Allspice
  • 1/3-1/2 oz. White Pepper
  • 1/2 oz. Garlic Powder
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup Kosher Salt+

Mix well in warm water..1-1/2 to 2 quarts. Add fish then put in fridge for 12-24 hours depending on your taste. Salmon tastes like a candy bar with this recipe. Kokanees are so good I get late-night phone calls asking if I have any more. When used on beef or pork this cure is also killer.

Feel Free to publicize "my" cure. I'll gladly share it with the world, but maybe not exactly where I catch the fish I use it on! One note, however. Buying spices an ounce or two at a time can get expensive. Some spices like mace (the ground up shells of the nutmeg) aren't always easy to find. I've found that health-food stores will often sell organically-grown spices in bulk weights if you ask. Then you can use healthy spices as you add all the carcinogens from the smoking process! BTW, my friends think my cure used on Kokanees makes them taste like Albacore! Now I have to try it on Albacore to see what that tastes like.

As for smoking technique, I have a lifetime supply of Willow & Maple so that's what I use. I like a slow cure and don't want the fish to get hard & dry, so watch things carefully. Unless the fish is 16" or larger I smoke them whole, and they take a bit longer that way than if filleted. It's always easier to over-smoke, but the best product is firm but not hard. 12-14" fish usually take about 30 hours to get just right. Once done, you can freeze the end results & it will stay excellent for months in your freezer. I used to keep my frozen smoked Kokes in a reefer in my shop next to my smoker, but two-legged varmits were raiding my stash so now it's kept under lock & key! Isn't it weird how many people who won't eat a fresh fish will go nuts over the same thing smoked?

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