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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Cooking your catch: Alaska-inspired smoked salmon

John Hennessy The Spokesman-Review

Mike Altman spent four years living and fishing in Alaska in the 1980s. During that time, he netted several silver beauties, as well as a few choice recipes.

Altman learned this particular recipe from a school bus driver in the Matanuska-Susitna School District. The driver recited it from memory, as the recipe was a favorite of his and very much worth remembering.

Mix all listed ingredients together. Place fish skin side down in a deep sided container. Altman suggests buying a plastic cat box because it has wide enough space and tall sides. Sprinkle fish with brine ingredients. Be careful to get all sides of the fish with the brine ingredients. Make a second layer of fish and do the same as with the first layer and each succeeding layer of fish until the pan is full. Leave enough space for the water to cover the fish.

After the container is full of fish, carefully pour cold water down one corner of the container until the water rises above the fish. This ensures that the brine ingredients remain on the fish and are not washed off when you pour the water into the container. Add liquid smoke after the water has covered the fish.

When the brining process is over, wash each piece of fish and pat dry. When a sheen starts to form on the fish, smoke according to your preferred method.

The end result: the best-tasting smoked fish imaginable.


Purchase the allspice, bay leaves, cloves and perhaps the pepper at a spice shop instead of at a supermarket. It is so much cheaper and fresher. If you haven’t done much fish smoking, all you need are a couple of pans of Alder chips.

A request for reader Outdoors recipes

Have a favorite recipe worth sharing? Submit your recipe with a brief introduction to for a chance to be published in our weekly Thursday Outdoors section.

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