For the past four years, my husband has been able to travel to Chitina to dip net in the Copper River. Smoking and canning our wild Alaskan salmon is one of our favorite ways to enjoy this yearly catch.
Processing Our Fish
Once he returns home from his trip, the work of processing our fish begins. We work together as a family on a beautiful Alaskan summer day to preserve our bounty. This way we can enjoy it throughout the winter months.
My husband and his fishing buddies fillet the fish during their trip which makes our job much easier. He starts our assembly line by cutting each fillet in half where the bones end. We vacuum seal the boneless tails so we can bake or grill those for a delicious meal another time.
The half with the bones is cut into strips that are approximately an inch wide.
We place the strips in a large cooler with layers of ice and brine (a mixture of coarse sea salt and brown sugar). Here they stay overnight.
The following morning, the strips are set on trays and sent to the smoker.
We cold smoke the salmon for about four hours to give it a delicious flavor.
After we cold smoke the strips of salmon, we pack them into half-pint and pint jars. Half-pint jars are perfect for a salmon dip or to pack for a picnic, we eat it right out of the jar. Then we pressure can them according to our canner’s directions. once they have cooked and cooled, we label them and store them with our other canned goods.
The Final Product
Smoking and canning our wild salmon is a delicious way to enjoy it for months to come. This is our version of convenience food, no thawing or cooking necessary!
Our favorite uses include salmon dip (just mix a jar with a block of cream cheese), salmon chowder, and enjoying it right out of the jar.