If you’ve ever had salmon jerky, you know that it lends itself well to marinade-based recipes. Also, while on a camping trip, you may have found salmon with lemon juice, salt, pepper and perhaps some batter, to do the trick.
Smoked salmon jerky is one of the most common forms of fish jerky. There’s nothing like wild caught salmon that you know was raised in fresh water, because what you find in the grocery store is often farmed. Learn how to make wild salmon jerky that’ll last for months at a time.
Smoked salmon and how to make it
There is no best smoked salmon. The most common kind of smoked fish is hot smoked fish, which uses smoke from wood, charcoal or gas, at slightly lower than cooking temperatures. Many recipes are exceedingly simple, using only fish, salt and something sweet, like syrup or sugar.
Smoking meat is an intricate process. Cooking times, temperatures and resources for producing smoke will produce different results, and can sometimes ruin your meat, if done wrong. Techniques, like placing water in your drip pan to control temperature, are many.
The process of hot smoked salmon also requires a smoker, or kiln. Smoking meat is generally an outdoor process, and once you realize how fun it can be, will often become a lifestyle choice that’s rich in culture and expertise.
Dehydrated salmon and its benefits
First and foremost, you can create large batches of dried salmon jerky in your own kitchen. You can use fresh salmon from the grocery store or make your own wild salmon jerky virtually at the press of a button.
A meat dehydrator can also produce many of the same flavors as smoked salmon. Smoked paprika, for example, is used frequently in smoked meat, and can replace the generic ‘liquid smoke’ ingredients that are used in meat jerky recipes.
This kind of dried salmon jerky is excellent for preserving nutrients and flavor, as well. The dehydration process is simply removing moisture, which protects your food from bacteria and gives it a longer shelf life.
Alaskan salmon jerky; a blissfully simple recipe
- 1 lb. salmon meat
- Maple or birch syrup
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- ½ tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
This recipe for fish jerky assumes that your salmon has been thoroughly deskinned, descaled, gutted, cleaned and beheaded. It’s essential to remove the bones and wash your meat as well as possible, for safe consumption.
When you’re ready to jerky salmon, place the meat in your freezer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl or container that you can use for marinating your salmon.
Now that your salmon meat is cool, you can slice it without making a mess of it. Cut the meat into slices about 1/8” thick before completely submerging them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.
Before dehydrating salmon, it’s useful to remove as much moisture as possible. You can shake off each strip and blot it with paper towel, and it’ll shorten drying time without negatively impacting flavor.
Set your jerky dehydrator to 145 degrees using its adjustable thermostat and dry for 8-12 hours. The results should be leathery, but not brittle.
You may have to experiment to find your preference, as the dryer your meat is, the longer it’ll last without growing mold. If you’re looking to use it up within a couple of weeks and prefer softer meat, you might prefer to dehydrate your fish for only 4 hours.
Become a pro at making jerky
Alaskan salmon is just the beginning. Since smoked paprika has a strong smoke flavor, you could try other spices and sauces, or replace the maple syrup with molasses. You might also experiment with curing your wild salmon with water and salt, to dry it out further for a 3-month+ shelf life.
A home dehydrator is an amazing way to create large batches of dry foods that lend will to long-term storage and delicious recipes!