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Pacific Plank-Smoked Salmon
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Botch Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
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Pacific Plank-Smoked Salmon
Anyone here ever have this Native American specialty up in the Seattle area? I dearly love it, and didn't see any threads about this style of cooking so thought I'd relate my experiments.

Basically a flat board is soaked for several hours in water, placed on a grill (gas is fine) and the salmon fillets laid on top of the board. The board starts smoking heavily while simultaneously protecting the delicate fish from the direct heat, and in just a few minutes your salmon is both done and smoked nicely. A covered grill is a good idea.

Wood: Most of the restaurants up in Seattle use alder, you can also use cedar (a friend of mine built a 7' fence around his backyard using 8' boards, I grabbed all the cutoffs and have enough for the rest of my lifetime; make sure the wood is untreated!) It must be soaked several hours, 45 minutes won't be enough and you'll be dousing flames in short order (need to keep a douser and a fire extinguisher close by for this one anyway). I've noticed in the hardware stores they're selling wood made just for this technique, but its only 3/8" thick (will be good for one session only), nicely sanded and even engraved (why bother? you're going to burn it) and ridiculously expensive ($7.99 for an 18" piece!). Get untreated wood from the lumberyard; in fact you could probably pick out all the warped wood and dicker a lower price.

Very easy to make, you just have to remember to soak the wood a few hours prior. Put the wood on the center of the grill first; just as soon as it starts to smoke center the salmon on the wood, and close the lid. I can't give a specific cooking time, just check the fish at the widest part until it's flaky, and you're done!

Finally, here's a sauce I came up with that goes with the fish very nicely, I think: 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tblsp honey, and two finely minced chipotle peppers; stir thoroughly to combine and refrigerate while the wood is soaking. This sauce is much more mellow than it sounds, something in either the honey or the mayo really tames the fire of the chipotles.

10-05-2006 04:31 PM
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