How to Smoke Kokanee Salmon

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Smoking salmon is a tasty way to preserve it.
Smoking salmon is a tasty way to preserve it. (Image: fresh salmon fillet image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Kokanee is a breed of sockeye salmon that have been landlocked, it is believed, since the last ice age. Because they never see the ocean, their size is limited to 8 to 20 inches long or 4 to 6 lb. The average life span of a kokanee is four years, and, like the sockeye, they die shortly after spawning. The kokanee makes a good smoking fish because of its oily meat.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric smoker
  • Wood chips
  • Brine

Prepare the fish by removing the pinbones and cutting the flesh vertically; cut down to the skin, but not through it. Each cut should be about 1 inch apart.

Mix a dry brine of your choice. A common recipe is 4 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of salt and 15 minced garlic cloves.

Brine the fish by rubbing the mixture into the fillets; place the fillets in a pot. Put the pot into the refrigerator for about six hours.

Rinse the brine off the fish and set them aside to dry at room temperature for four hours.

Plug in your electric smoker and preheat for 15 minutes. Place the fish on a rack inside the smoker. Put wood chips in the smoker's wood pan. Add wood chips to the smoker periodically during the cooking process, the amount depending on the degree of smoke flavor you want.

Smoke for four to six hours until the desired temperature and flavor are reached. Remove the fillets from the smoker and allow to cool.

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