You know it's summer in Alaska when we drag out our smokers and clear out last years Copper River Sockeye Salmon to smoke and replenish with a fresh supply. There is nothing better than Copper River Sockeye Salmon. It is high in Omega 3, is a high protein snack and is easy to prepare. This recipe comes from my dear friend, Kristi Baker who took me under her wing when I first came to Alaska. Like the Alaska Native people I recommend that you use ONLY alder smoking chips or wood. If you don't have alder, you need to order it or wait to get some. Don't waste a good fish on a bad smoke.
Combine apple juice, water, brown sugar and salt in a 5 gallon, food-safe bucket. Mix well. Add the salmon pieces. *See note below.
Note: Large pieces should be scored but not all the way through to the skin. This will allow the brine to penetrate and provide better smoking.
Note: Use ONLY Alder wood smoking chips.
Marinade salmon in salt/sugar/juice brine 12-24 hours. Remove fish to drain and air dry for 2 hours on paper towels. Fish should get a "glazed-over" and sticky feel. Smoke at 200 F for 4-6 or longer for a firmer fish. You will want to use 2-3 trays of wood chips.