Trying new things, whether they be recipes, activities or life events, results in successes and failures. I constantly strive (and struggle) to not get caught up on the less than desirable results and focus on what I got out of it and what I learned to do better or different the next time.
I recently have been craving a salmon, a lot. During the midst of one of my cravings, I decided I would try smoking salmon, and it seemed simple enough. I had cooked salmon on a cedar plank on the grill or in the oven many times, and always love the result. I started researching recipes to cook the salmon in the smoker and then decided to go for it using somewhat of my own methods. My mistake with this recipe was being over zealous and cooking the salmon on the cedar plank in the smoker, which resulted dry salmon with good flavor. I think the salmon would turn out fantastic if cooked using the proper method, because getting the smoked flavor from the smoker or the cedar plank, plus the tangy sweetness from the glaze and a bit of saltiness from the capers would make the perfect balance of flavors.
So lesson learned: if cooking salmon in the smoker, put it in an aluminum foil boat (which will preserve moisture); or if cooking the salmon on the grill, cook it on the cedar plank (learn from my mistake: don’t go overboard and do both). Here’s how to properly cook this salmon:
Smoked Salmon with a Sweet, Citrus Glaze
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons sauvignon blanc
- 4 tbs brown sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 lemons
1. Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, sauvignon blanc, brown sugar, zest and juice from one lemon (be sure to pick out the seeds), and salt and pepper, to taste. You will use two tablespoons as a marinade and reserve the rest for the glaze.
2. Two options here:
(a) If cooking on the grill, soak the cedar plank for an hour. While the cedar plank is soaking, marinate the salmon in two tablespoons of the above mixture, and reserve the rest.
(b) If smoking, create an aluminum foil “boat”, then place the salmon in it and marinate the salmon in two tablespoons of the above mixture for half an hour. Also soak your wood chips during the marinating period.
3. (a) When ready to grill, place the salmon on the cedar plank, then top with some capers and slices of lemon.
(b) When ready to smoke, place capers and lemon slices on top of the salmon.
4. (a) Place the planked salmon on the grill and cook at a medium-low heat for about half an hour to an hour, until the temperature of the salmon reaches 150º F. The time will vary based on the thickness and size of the salmon. The goal is to cook it at a low temperature allowing it to take in the most flavor from the cedar plank and remain moist.
(b) Place the salmon in the “boat” in the smoker. Smoke between 170-185º F for 3-5 hours. The salmon must reach 150º F. I kept my temperature around 175º F and smoked it for about 4.5 hours
5. When the salmon is done cooking, place the mixture reserved from step one into a medium sauce pan. Cook on medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it reaches a syrup like consistency. It should bubble-up while cooking. Top the salmon with the glaze and serve.
Keep it simple and enjoy!