Once a means to preserve fish, smoking is now a method of imparting flavor
Smoking fish at home might seem a daunting task but it’s more akin to grilling. For centuries, curing and smoking techniques were used for practical purposes to preserve meat and fish. And while smoking for preservation is still a common method throughout the world, it turns out that smoked meats and fish are also just plain delicious.
Salmon and trout are two of the most popular—and sustainable!—types of fish to smoke, and there’s nothing fishy about these stand-out entrées at High West Distillery & Saloon and Tin Angel Café. The chefs at these establishments have also divulged their processes so you can try the art of smoking at home.
Ashley Chapman’s Smoked Salmon
The lively atmosphere and top-notch whiskey at High West Distillery & Saloon is rivaled only by its food, and executive chef Ashley Chapman gets high marks for his smoked salmon, served with local ricotta cheese, crushed spring peas and slow-cooked onion.
Chapman uses sustainably farm-raised Loch Duart salmon from Scotland, which has a mild and delicate flavor. Chapman says he prefers farm-raised salmon to wild salmon due to the higher fat content, which helps keep the salmon from drying out during the smoking process.
Rub salmon in a 50/50 blend of salt and brown sugar with chopped rosemary and ground juniper.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Rinse salmon under cold running water and pat dry.
Air-dry salmon for 20 minutes at room temperature to develop “pellicle,” a tacky surface on the fish that encourages the smoke to stick to it.
Once the pellicle has formed, put a cast-iron pan with apple-wood chips on the stove on high and set them (barely) on fire.
Set the pan of chips in the bottom of the oven heated to 350 degrees.
Cover the pan with a lid to put out the fire and set the salmon on racks above the pan.
Take the lid off the pan and close the oven door, cooking for seven to eight minutes on full fan. (This cooking process might take a few minutes longer in a home oven.)
High West Distillery & Saloon
703 Park Ave., Park City
Jerry and Kestrel Liedtke’s Smoked Trout
Perhaps the best part about the warm and eclectic Tin Angel Café is how owners Jerry and Kestrel Liedtke have managed to balance delightful food with next-level sustainability, all while not losing a beat. The Liedtkes are incredibly mindful of the carbon emissions required to ship fresh seafood to Utah, which is why local Red Rainbow trout leads the way in their seafood offerings. Of the three trout dishes available, two are fabulously smoked.
The smoked trout salad is a wonderfully balanced mix of fresh, salty and creamy ingredients. The trout is served over mixed greens, fennel, pickled red onion, quinoa, pine nuts and goat cheese.
Fill a large pot with brine made up of two quarts water, ¼ cup salt, ¼ cup sugar, one juiced lemon, two tablespoons paprika and fresh herbs.
Bring brine to a boil and let it cool.
Soak trout in brine for 20 to 30 minutes.
Smoke the trout in electric smoker for 30 minutes at approximately 200 degrees.
Finish in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Tin Angel Café
365 W. 400 South, SLC
Pre-smoked & Packaged for Pickup
For smoked fish on the go, look no further than the Samak Smoke House & Country Store, located in Kamas near the start of beautiful Mirror Lake Scenic Byway—a gateway to the Uinta Mountains. While owners Dave Witham and Jen Hisey might be best known for their beef and turkey jerky, their smoking prowess has, fortunately for us, extended into the world of fish. You can pick up smoked local Rainbow trout, smoked wild Alaskan salmon or wild Alaskan salmon jerky in-store or online.
Samak Smoke House & Country Store
1937 Mirror Lake Highway, Kamas