I’m starting here with two skin on salmon fillets, a little over one pound each.
I mixed one cup of Kosher salt, two cups of granulated sugar and one half cup of pure maple syrup and packed it on top of the fillets. Note that I’m using a non reactive, non stick baking pan. Pyrex would be OK too, but don’t use aluminum or cast iron which would react with the salt. Covered with plastic wrap, it goes into the refrigerator to cure overnight.
This is what it looked like in the morning. You can see how much liquid was drawn out of the salmon during the curing process.
Next, I rinsed the fillets thoroughly, pat them dry and put them back in the refrigerator uncovered, for about three hours so the surface formed a shiny, slightly tacky skin called a pellicle. This is an important step that gives the smoke something to cling to.
Here’s what the fillets looked like when they came out of the fridge. Notice that they are darker in color and a little redder. They were also quite a bit stiffer than they were when fresh.
It was about 20 degrees outside, so it was very easy to keep the Big Green Egg running low at about 175 degrees. If you cook any hotter than this, the fillets will bleed that white nasty looking stuff called albumen. This doesn’t look very pleasant, and it causes the salmon to dry out.
Notice the cork holding the lid from closing all the way. That’s how I keep the BGE from freezing closed in the winter time. Simple but effective! (remove the cork while cooking)
Back to the cook….
I put the fillets on a cedar plank and smoked them until the internal temperature reached 160 degrees (about two hours or so). I served them with some roasted cauliflower and sauteed squash and onions. Who says BBQ can’t be healthy!