This makes seasoning for 5 lbs. (2.25 kg) of Sliced Salmon
- 3 tbsp. (45 ml) Bradley Demerara Cure (Do not use more than this amount.)
- 2 tsp. (10 ml) white pepper
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) garlic powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) onion powder
- 2 cups (480 ml) water
Note: If the meat weighs either more or less than 5 pounds (2.25 kg), the amount of cure mix applied must be proportional to that weight. For example, if the weight of the meat is 2 1/2 pounds (1.15 kg), then each ingredient, including the Bradley Cure, needs to be cut in half.
Salmon jerky is usually processed by making numerous deep cuts across the fillet; make these cuts through the flesh and all the way to the skin. When the fillet begins to dry, a gap will open where you made the cut. The opening of numerous gaps will increase the drying area, and it will allow the flesh to dry faster. Nevertheless, if you use this method, you’ll need over 24 hours of drying time to make salmon jerky.
However, if you remove the skin from the fillet, and if you slice the salmon flesh thinly, you can make salmon in one day. The use of parchment paper and oil prevents the skinned salmon from sticking to the wire mesh, and this helps to overcome the fragility problem when you make salmon jerky from skinned salmon.
To prepare the raw material, remove the skin from the fillet, and slice the flesh. You may slice it across the filet or cut into hunks and then sliced from head to tail — the direction of the cuts is not critical. But no matter how you slice it, make the slices about 1/4 inch (7 mm) thick. The fillet is easier to slice if it is partially frozen.
- Prepare and chill the seasoning mixture. Add the sliced salmon; mix well. Refrigerate the fish overnight, stirring from time to time.
- The next morning, drain the cured salmon slices, and rinse each piece in cold water for about three seconds. Drain the slices again in a colander.
- Place the slices between sheets of paper towels and newspaper for 15 minutes. If you exceed this time, the salmon slices may stick to the paper towels, and removal of the salmon slices from the paper towel will be difficult.
- Remove the slices from the paper, place them in a large bowl, and pour on about 1/2 cup of salad oil, cooking oil, or olive oil. Stir until each slice of salmon is well coated with oil. Coating the raw salmon slices with oil is important; without a coating of oil, they will stick to the parchment paper.
- Lay the slices of oiled salmon on parchment paper that has been placed on a wire-mesh smoking rack or in a smoking basket.
- Dry the slices at 160°F (71°C) for about 30 minutes, and then carefully turn each slice over using a spatula. In this initial drying period, the slices of salmon are very easy to tear, but the slices become less delicate as the drying progresses. Continue to turn the slices over every 30 to 45 minutes until the surfaces of the slices are dry enough to prevent sticking to the wire mesh. This will require 4 to 5 hours. Remove and discard the parchment paper when the slices are so dry that they will not stick to the wire mesh.
Now, it’s time to smoke!
- Maintain the same temperature, and smoke the salmon slices for 2 to 4 hours.
- If necessary, raise temperature to 175°F (80°C), and continue drying until done. When the salmon jerky is done, it will be about half the thickness of the raw salmon, and it will have lost about half of its weight. Let the jerky cool to room temperature, then freeze or refrigerate it.
Note: If the salt taste is too mild, the next time you make this product, add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the ingredients list. If the salt taste is too strong, reduce the amount of Bradley Cure by about 1 teaspoon. About a teaspoon of brown sugar may be added if you like your jerky a little sweeter.