Anadromous fish (fish that migrate to and from the Ocean) are delicious. There are many good ways to prepare them but smoking them is one of my favorite ways to do it. The Lower Sacramento River is home to a lot of these sea-going fish throughout the year. Late summer and early fall are great times to find Hatchery Salmon and Steelhead in the river. If the Adipose fin on the fish is clipped off, this indicates it was raised in the hatchery and is legal to kill and keep. If the Adipose fin is intact, this indicates it’s a wild fish and must be released immediately. Wild Steelhead and Salmon are endangered species so it’s important we protect the stocks we still have. Hatchery fish have been introduced to the river system to supplement and are there for us anglers to extract and eat.
Here’s a little recipe that I got from my good buddy, Lee Kuepper of Alaska’s Angling Addiction.
Cut into strips. Roll in large grain kosher salt, then in brown sugar. Lay in brine bowl with layer of brown sugar on the bottom and sprinkle more brown sugar on top.
After this has been done to all of the strips, ad a mixture of (50/20/20/10) Yoshidas marinade, real honey, real maple syrup, and soy sauce. Set in cool area to brine for 36 hours, stirring every 12 hours or so.
After brine – lay strips on drying racks for 24 hours. The strips should start to get firm and turn nearly see-through in some spots.
Smoke for about 8 hours on very low heat with your favorite wood chips or chunks. I like applewood.. No higher than 150 degrees. Enjoy the deliciousness.
Remember – if the Adipose fin is there, Keep that fish wet and let him swim away.