- 1lb fresh salmon, preferably wild-caught alaskan chinook
- 1 star anise
- 6-8 allspice berries
- 6-8 juniper berries
- 1 tsp black pepper cloves
- 2 Tbsp lavender
- 2 Tbsp dried garlic slivers
- 5-6 bay leaves
- 1/2c rock salt (use good quality sea, kosher, or pickling salt. Cannot use iodized)
- 1/3c sage honey (this is what I used, can substitute clover)
- 1/2c pinot noir
- 1 to 2c water
Place spices (first six ingredients) in mortar and pound to a coarse grind. Place in saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to boil and simmer until salt and honey disolve and spices release their fragrance, about 5 mins. Remove from heat. Pour the brine into a baking dish and place it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, until cool.
Place the fish in the brine, skin side up (if the skin has been removed, it doesn't matter which side is up). Soak the fish for at least 12 hrs, turning occassionally.
Remove the fish from the brine and dry to form the pellicle, about 2 hrs. Smoke over low heat (180f to 220f degrees) for 4 to 6 hours. Some notes:
- I used a charcoal smoker, with a pan of water suspended between the coals and the rack on which the salmon sat
- I used mesquite and hickory wood, but as these are very strong woods you may wish to use alder instead. Don't use cedar, it'll overpower everything.