Our holiday weekend continued with a New Year’s eve dinner with friends. There is nothing more fun than creating a joint meal with friends. I was responsible for the protein (as one of my friend’s verbalized it). I have shared in an earlier post that an advantage of the slow cook times in smoking and the ability to maintain the smoke for a long time enables one to cook multiple dishes on the smoker. As noted from the title of this post, you can see the 2 main courses I created. I also smoked a whole whitefish. I then turned the smoked whitefish in to a salad. Makes a great appetizer. I like to use a mix of cream cheese and mayonnaise so the whitefish salad has a thicker consistency.
Moving on to the turkey. I brined it the night before using salt, brown sugar and honey. Brining before smoking I believe is very important to help keep in the moisture. Smoking turkey is one of the real treats of smoking. The turkey holds up so well to the smoke and the look of the crisp skin just can’t be matched.
What I really want to talk about for this meal was my smoked salmon (sorry but no pic – it broke apart as we tried to flip it from the fish basket to the tray). Initially, the brine mixture of vodka, a little olive oil and brown sugar is put together and allowed to come together. Then, I the fish is immersed for an hour and a half to soak up the brine. Note, when brining with alcohol, the sugar does not fully dissolve. When I removed the fish from the brine, I took the remaining brown sugar and put it on the fish as a paste. I then transferred the fish to the smoker and cooked on about 190 degree temperature for 50 – 55 minutes. The flavors were awesome. It had a light smoke (the end of the smoking cycle of my original smoke) and the sweetness of the brown sugar. I hope I can recreate this the same way in the future.