Salt Block Cured Salmon
– 2 Charcoal Companion Himalayan Salt Plate
– 1 bunch dill sprigs
– 4 lemon slices
– 4 orange slices
– 1/2 t anise seeds, toasted
– 1/2 t fennel seeds, toasted
– 2 t black pepper, toasted, coarsely ground
– 1/2 dried thyme
– 1/4 C sugar
– 1-2 lb salmon fillet, skin on, pin bones removed
Step 1: Lay half the dill over one of the salt blocks. Lay half of the lemon and orange slices over the dill. Combine the pepper, fennel and anise seeds, thyme and sugar in a a small bowl. Pat the seasoning mixture onto the fleshy parts of the salmon until thoroughly covered. Place the coated salmon on the dill sprigs. Lay the other half of the lemon and orange slices over the salmon, then the dill over the slices. Place the other salt block on top.
Step 2: Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap. Place in a rimmed pan or dish, as liquid may leak out. Refrigerate until fish feels resilient, but not quite firm to the touch. A thin fillet may take two days. A thick one could take four or five. The fish should be dry on the outside, but moist and oily inside. When it is ready, unwrap it, remove the fish, rinse lightly and pat dry. At this point, you can cold smoke fish.
Step 3: Fill a 12″ A-Maze-N Tube Smoker with the BBQrs Delight Cherry Grilling Pellets. Place the tube in your Yoder Smokers YS640, on the bottom rack, left side. Turn the cooker on, but do not press start. This will allow the fan to run and circulate the smoke through the cooker, for optimal smoke flavor. Light the A-Maze-N Tube Smoker with a torch. Place the salmon on the top rack, right side. Let smoke for four hours. Remove salmon. Slice thin, and serve with toasted bagels, cream cheese and thin sliced red onions or crackers, creme friache and capers.
Note: You can use the tube smoker without the fan running, or in a different cooker, but the smoke may become more stagnant when trapped, so you’ll want to open a vent, or open the lid occasionally. With the fan running, the 12″ A-Maze-N Tube Smoker will burn for about four hours. With out the fan running it will burn even longer.
*Recipe adapted from Mark Bitterman’s wonderful cookbook, Salt Block Cooking.