I thought it might be cheaper than the store-bought stuff and close enough to just as good. It turned out pretty great.

Stuff I used

  • A mixture of brown sugar, kosher salt, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and paprika. Didn’t measure much.
  • One split chunk of a Bradford pear branch from a 3 year-old woodpile – so, fruit wood, aged long enough for light smoke.
  • Not very much lump charcoal. It filled the Weber chimney a little over half way through, and it was mostly small pieces.
  • Two plump fillets, about 1lb each.

How I did it

I lit the charcoal in the chimney, dumped it on the bottom, put the chunk of wood on top of it. Then I set up the heat deflector with a pan of water on top of it. I kept the fire low and slow, at 150 degrees as read by the lid termometer. That is very low but the Akorn can hold it easily with the bottom vent cracked about one quarter of an inch, and the top vent cracked just past the scalloped ends at the bottom of the blades. I waited about an hour – with the fire this low, that’s hardly any charcoal wasted – until I could barely see the smoke from the pearwood billowing out. The salmon went from the wrapping straight onto the bun warming rack. This was probably wrong. The fish was still pretty wet. I should have kept it unwrapped in the fridge for 12 hours or so, give it a chance to dry. I gave it a dusting of the seasoning mixture, closed the lid, and let it sit for 3 hours.

I put the salmon on the bun warming rack because I didn’t want it too close to either the heat, or the water in the pan. I wanted it smoked, not steamed or grilled.

What surprised me

At 150 degrees I expected that there would be no albumine droplets – a.k.a. boogers – on the salmon, but I was wrong. I think that if I had given it a chance to dry on the surface I would have gotten it out nicely glazed with no boogers. I’ll see next time.