Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chum Slum

Don't know about you but I've heard from a lot of sources that Chum Salmon is great for smoking.


Did my first batch of Chum (also known as Keta, Dog, or Silverbrite) last weekend and it was a total bummer. Ted (Em's dad) and I were to have a "smoke-off" out on Lummi Island during her graduation party. The party was great as well as the crabbing once we hit the motherlode, so that was a great success. The smoke-off, however, was a total disaster.

Windy, 60°, and an overcast rocky beach doesn't make for the best smoking weather. But hey, you learn to deal. First thing that went wrong–late start. I finally made it out to the island and got the salmon in the smoker around 1pm. Ted had his in around 11. Second thing that went wrong–electricity deficit. The power at the cabin was not sufficient enough to power two smokers apparently. This slowed down the smoking process immensely (ultimately ended up taking the salmon home and finishing them the next day). Third to go wrong–Ted's cord had been chewed through by a rat or something of the likes and further slowed his Big Chief. After realizing that his cord had been compromised, we moved all of the salmon to my Little Chief, filling every rack wall to wall. Rule of threes, this smoke-off just wasn't meant to be. So needless to say we didn't have any salmon that night. Ted finished them off on Sunday and delivered half of the batch that evening.

Bellingham Bay w/Mt. Baker
Taste time. We have a really similar brine so there wasn't much variation between the two. The fish however, the actual breed, was terrible. So many people have told me that Chum is a good smoking fish and after this I think it's just because Chum isn't really good for grilling or baking, therefor people just smoke it. It's a good-for-nothing fish. Maybe it's a fighter and fun to reel in, but when it comes to eatin' I give this fish two thumbs down. It is dry and has a mushy texture. Not much of a trace of that beloved salmon flavor either, plus the color is an off-pale pink. I say stick with Sockeye and King. Of course these are the best for grillin' too so one must pick their priority wisely. The oils in both of these breeds keep the fish perfectly moist and really grab onto the flavor of whatever chips you're using. Can't complain about free fish though, alas, beggars cannot be choosers.

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