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Been enjoying Andi's Dry Brine recipe for kippered salmon for a few cooks now so thought I'd post my latest cook. I made up a batch of Andi's recipe a while back so I have it on hand when needed. Full credit for this recipe goes to Andi Flanagan of Moose Pass, Alaska. It is worth repeating so here it is:

Andi's Dry Brine
1 lb canning salt
1/2 lb brown sugar
saltpeter or cure (optional by weight of salmon)
1 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp crushed bay leaf
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp clove
1 tbsp mace
maple syrup (optional)

Make sure your fish is free of any blood. Rinse fillets and coat them in the above mixture, making sure all are coated well. Cover and reef for 3-12 hours. Rinse and scrub lightly to get rid of all traces of salt. Dry with paper towels and set on your smoker racks on cans to let air circulate. Dry with a fan on them (Never in the sun) or outside in a breeze until a pellicle is formed. This can take up to 6 hours or more or less, but it is THE most important step to smoking fish. When you touch the fish, your fingers remain dry and the fish is shiny. I brush with maple syrup about halfway thru the drying time. Then smoke with hickory at 190 degrees until your fish is as dry as you want it. I go at 130 degrees w/3 oz. wood and start the smoke going before I put in my fish.

The pellicle is crucial because it holds in the moisture and fat. Have you found the white stuff coming out of your fish? That's fat. If it doesn't bother you, then have at it, but for a beautiful bronze product...the pellicle is most important. Anyway, you know you have a pellicle when you touch the flesh and don't stick to's dry. Reef the fish while dry-brining

I set the AmQ to 180-190 with probe set to 130; had a separate Maverick probe set to 127. Total cook time was about an hour and a half starting with a preheated smoker and salmon right out of the fridge; time will vary depending on thickness of filet.

I first trim off the thin edges of the salmon down to get more uniform thickness (trimmings are good pan seared with a light sprinkliong of CS Spicy Chicken Rub as a chef's snack) and coat with the dry brine.

Covered salmon with plastic wrap and weighed down.

After 4 hours here are the results:

At this time I rinsed of the brine mix and dried salmon off with paper towels and placed this back in fridge to form pellicle.

I let salmon dry for several hours then added maple syrup glaze and left if fridge to dry and set the glaze. Pull the salmon out this morning and put in smoker with a chunk of pecan wood. An hour and 45 minutes later the magic has happened and I now have kippered salmon, Andi's style:

This is GOOD stuff. Had a serving for lunch and the rest off to the fridge. I plan on vacuum packaging individual servings and freezing. These are great mixed with cream cheese or mixed in with scrambled eggs; just defrost in the fridge and they are ready to go.

If anyone on the forum is in contact with Andi please pass on my thanks for this recipe!

Last edited {1}
Original Post
I use the Morton's Canning/Pickling salt in the green box. It looks like regular table salt to me but no iodine. You could possibly try kosher but it would not dissolve like the canning salt; since the recipe is by weight the salt content would be the same. I noticed when rinsing off salmon and rinsing out the dish that not all of the canning salt dissolved; so I'd suggest staying with the canning salt which is the smaller granules. I rinsed off quickly and do not think the salt taste is objectional; also I used the maple syrup glaze that counters the salt. If you try the process and find the salt taste objectionable just adjust your curing time and rinse more or do a short soak in water.

Also, this mix makes enough for several slabs of salmon. I mixed the full amount and have used it I think 4 times now and still have plenty for a few more runs.

Last edited by tnq
I've been meaning to try Andi's recipe(it's been bookmarked for months), so I've got the salmon and a batch of Andi's Dry Brine prepared. Thanks for the reminder. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Nice job. It looks delicious and great pictures.

Oh. And since it says Kosher salt can be substituted for canning salt, I ground the Kosher a bit and am using it.
Last edited by pags
The salmon turned out very nice using the recipe from TN Q/ANDI. It had a very good texture and flavor with a nice glazed finish.

It was just a bit salty even though I thoroughly rinsed the salmon under cold running water after brining it. I brined it apprx. 8 hrs (overnight) using the recommended salt by weight. Did I brine it too long? The salt taste wasn't offensive but we were aware of its presence.
You might not even bother with any grinding with the kosher salt. Also, as you can see in the image above, I just lightly to moderately coated the fillet with the brine. First time I tried this I was a bit heavy handed on the brine and it was a bit saltier than I preferred. Through subsequent trials I've found that a moderate to light coating and limiting brine time has produced what I like best. And do not let meat temp get above 130; above that begins to gets what Andi calls Squaw Candy.


If at first you don't succeed..... We had salmon again tonight using the brine listed above. Followed your suggested changes:

1 Lightly used the brine vs the heavy hand last time.
2 Brined for 4 hrs vs. 8+ hrs.
3 Coarsely ground the Kosher salt vs finely ground (practically a powder).

It made a significant difference. Salmon was tasty, moist, and did not have the salty taste we got last time.

Good recipe and technique. Thanks for the help.
I smoked 3 salmon filets this last weekend using the techniques described in this topic. Although I used kosher salt instead of the canning salt. I figured since the salt was measured by weight, it wouldn't make much, if any, difference.

I coated the fish with the dry brine until they looked like the picture above, then wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 4 hours. After that I rinsed under cold water until all traces of the brine were gone.

After patting the filets dry, they went into the fridge for a few hours until dry to the touch. It took about 4 hours. I painted the tops of the filets with maple syrup, then put back in the fridge until they were dry again. I didn't know how much syrup to put on, so I did it lightly, figuring I can always put more on next time. The second stage of drying also took about 4 hours.

Into the smoker they went, 190 degrees with 1 oz. of apple wood to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. I allowed the filets to cool for 30 minutes before sampling. The flavor was just amazing. Way better than my first attempt at smoking salmon a few weeks ago, which weren't bad at all, either.

As mentioned, the flavor was excellent, nice smoke, alternating nuances of salt and sweet depending on the middle of the filet or a sample closer to the edge. The middle was moist, flaky, sweet, and tender, and the edges were quite a bit dryer, chewier, and saltier.

The only problem was with the white lipids bleeding out on the surface of the filets. This seemed to be happening only on the thickest parts. In the pictures above, I don't see any white stuff. How can I keep this from happening? Should I have put on more maple syrup?
Thanks, TN Q. I appreciate the pointers. I'll stop by my local kitchen supply store and pick up one of those knives. One other question, how much syrup do you apply?

Originally posted by TN Q:
To eliminate the "white stuff" you have to make sure the fillet is completly dry then apply the syrup. The "white stuff" doesn't affect flavor but it aint to pretty. I use a granton edged slicing knife for slicing as they seem to provide a cleaner cut.
I got it all worked out now, thanks to the help in this topic and a lot of experimentation. First off, while the Atlantic farmed salmon will do, I much prefer the Copper River or Sockeye salmon with the skin still on.

My dry brine consists of equal weights of dark brown sugar and kosher salt. I used to weigh them until I found 1 lb. boxes of each, so now I just throw them together in a bowl and mix. I cut the filets into more manageable sizes before brining. Then I put the filets in glass baking dishes, skin side down, and coat generously, cover with plastic wrap, and stick in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, I rinse the filets to remove all traces of the brine, pat 'em totally dry, and stick back in the fridge, uncovered, skin side down. I check back every now and then until the filets have formed a nice hard pellicle.

The final step is painting the filets, just the tops of them, with pure New England maple syrup, just a thin coat. I leave them in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. Next morning I'm looking for a really hard dry pellicle without any trace of moisture.

Into the smoker they go, 1 oz. of alder, 150 degrees to start, the thickest filet with a temperature probe in the thickest part. Once the probe temperature gets up to 100 degrees, I raise the smoker temperature to 160 degrees. I repeat this raising of the smoker temperature by 10 degrees for every 10 degrees of filet temperature rise, to a maximum smoker temperature of 190 degrees. I pull the fish the moment the probe temperature gets up to 140 degrees.

The finished product has no white ooze, is firm yet moist inside, having retained much of the fatty fish oils that are supposed to be so good for you. Once I set out a slab of smoked salmon along with some wheat crackers, lemon wedges, and capers, it's gone in no time. Smiler
Originally posted by TN Q:
Congrats Bododio! Sounds like you have it figured out. It is a fairly detailed tho' simple process and the results are certainly rewarding. I usually try to do several fillet at once, and portion and freeze.

Thanks, TN Q. I couldn't have done it without you Big Grin While the fish is still warm I use a Food Saver to suck the filets into airtight packages for the freezer. I can do 12 filets at a time in my SM025. I got 6 left, so it's about time to start thinking about smoking 12 more!!

I did your (and Andi's) salmon recipe this past weekend on two nice 2 3/4 lb salmon filets. They turned out great!!! I left them in the dry brine for 4 hours and I was amazed at how much moisture was pulled out of the fish, and how "stiff" they were. After rinsing off the brine and patting dry, I put them in the fridge to dry Saturday and as you said glazed them with maple syrup half way through. I smoked the filets with about 3 small chunks of alder (~1 1/2 oz) late Sunday afternoon (It took about 24 hrs in the fridge to form a good pellicle). As soon as they cooled enough I vacumn packed them into ~1/2 lb portions. They were actually better after chilling overnight than right out of the smoker. The fish was a hit at my office.

I do have a couple of questions though. I could not find any Potassium Nitrate (KNO3, Saltpeter). I assume you use that to extend the "life" of the salmon and to additiionally cure the fish. Is this true? Also, what does extending the time in the brine do? Again, THANKS for the great recipe/instructions!
I think I may have used some pink salt (sodium nitrite) from Allied Kenco the first time I did this. Then figured that this process really doesn't require use of a cure. So now I don't use the cure for this recipe since the meat is not in the compromizing temp zone of 40-140 for any extended time. Meat comes from fridge just to trim and add dry brine then back to fridge. Then when the dry brine is rinced under cold water and returned directly to fridge to dry. Then a quick brush with the maple sytrup and back in the fridge. When syrup dries the meat goes straight from fridge to smoker. When done the meat is allowed to cool just a bit and then back to the fridge to get cold. Cold meat is then sliced, vac-sealed and put in freezer.
ran out of maple syrup and didn't want to make a trip to grocer so decided to use honey for the baste before smoking and the results were great. I also do this brine recipe without the drying step sometimes when I just don't want to wait and still get great results; just keep smoking temp set at a low 180-190 and it will help to reduce the white goo. Try a light sprinkle of rub after the baste for a bit of spice; the CS Chicken rub works nice.
I dont have an electric any more so I am not smoking my fish on a pellet grill (eddies to be exact)

but when I used a coockshack smo20 I took a 1 inch dowel and put it in the door so I had a gap and then took a bungee and tied the door shut.

I was able to hold temps more in the 150-160 range this way.

There is an issue with this, as the extra air causes the wood to burn up much quicker. It took me a while to figure out how to manage that.

I simply added smaller chunks of wood on a more frequent basis.

There is one additional issue and thats the wood is often harder to get to ignite. Every now and again I would have to fire up the smoker (as in turn it off and back on) so I coudl get the next chunk to light.

Sounds like a lot of work, but it really isnt for the couple hours it takes to smoke the fish.

Since my pellet grill wont go that low, i simply do it on 180 and dont worry about the protien any more....but thought I would share another way if you are interested.
I've found that using 180 smoker temp works fine; I just preheat my AmQ to get the smoke going and then release some of the heat as I put the salmon in to smoke; the smoker will then hold the 180 setting. As far as the proteins and fats that 'weep' to the surface, a good pellicle will minimize this. I agree it isn't really a big deal but this 'weeping' does tend to dry out the salmon if it gets excessive.

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