There is nothing like smoked salmon. Ever since I bought my Bradley smoker, I regularly smoke salmon.
The other day, I was walking in a Walmart and saw that they were selling smoked salmon nuggets in the freezer section. Thinking these would be a great bite size party snack, I immediately bought a whole fillet of salmon to make my own. Labour Day weekend was a couple days away and I knew that these would be a massive hit.
Worried that they might dry out, I was very delicate with the smoking time and temperature. In the end, they turned out incredible and I will most definitely be making these many more times in the future. The only advice I would give. Make lots!!
These bite size beauties are so tasty. If you put them out at a party, be prepared for them to go extremely quickly!
The dry brine is made of brown sugar, salt and spices. It is important to brine the salmon long enough but make sure that they are not brined too long. If they sit in the brine much longer than 8 hours, there is a good chance they will come out of the smoker too salty. Also, make sure the brine is washed off completely. Use cold water and get all of the brine off. Any brine left on will likely make the salmon too salty.
Place the salmon in a cool dry place so that a nice pellicle can form on the outer layer of the salmon. A pellicle is the dry layer that surrounds the salmon which helps in smoking and keeps the moisture from the salmon
Place the salmon nuggets in the smoker and smoke for 4 hours. Start at 120F and increase by 20F after each hour.
Serve these nuggets with a cream cheese dip. Make the dip by beating cream cheese with a little bit of milk. Slowly add milk until it forms a creamy texture that can be dipped. Stir in some chives or other fresh herbs.
Smoked Salmon Nuggets
- 4 pounds fresh whole salmon fillets
- 6 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups coarse kosher salt
- 2 tbsp ground ground garlic powder
- 2 tbsp ground onion powder
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cayenne
- Carefully cut the skin off the salmon and wash the fish thoroughly. Pat it dry with a paper towel and cut the salmon into 1 inch cubes.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together to make the dry brine. Toss the salmon cubes in the dry brine making sure that all sides of the salmon cubes are coated in the brine. Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
- Remove the salmon from the fridge and wash the brine off the cubes using cold water. Make sure the cubes are washed thoroughly so that they do not come out too salty.
- Lay the cubes on a flat surface (cookie sheet, smoker racks, etc.) ensuring they are not touching each other. Let the salmon cubes dry and form a nice pellicle surface on them. Use a fan, if possible, to circulate the air.
- Set the smoker for 120F and, using alder wood pucks (or wood of choice), place the salmon cubes in the smoker. Smoke for 4 hours increasing the temperature by 20F each hour. (120F for one hour, then 140F for one hour, then 160F for 1 hour, then 180F for one hour)
- Remove from the smoker and serve with a cream cheese dip.