This is the traditional way to preserve or dry salmon for the winter. The natives of Alaska still dry their salmon on large wooden racks for use during the winter. I like to use King salmon but any salmon will work. Fillet your fish. Remove the belly on the King salmon, it is too oily to make jerky. I like to hot smoke the bellies, though!
- If you do not have a band saw, slice the fillets length wise into ½-inch wide strips. If you have a band saw, freeze the fillets and saw them into ½-inch wide strips. I have had salmon jerky made from whole fillets and it is good but it takes a couple of weeks to dry.
- Make your brine.
- Brine the strips for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the brine and quickly rinse under cold running water.
- If you use a rack, spray it with Pam to prevent sticking. Another method is to tie string on one end of the strip and hang the strips in the smokehouse.
- Smoke at 80degrees F. for 24 hours. The strips should be dry to the touch but raw in the middle.
- Now begins the time consuming process of finishing the drying process. I like to use a strong fan to blow a large volume of air across the product for the next couple of days. Dry it until it has the consistency of beef jerky.
- After it has finished drying, you should freeze the product. There are two reasons for freezing. One is to kill any parasites and the other is if you allow the strips to continue to dry it will continue to dry it will get so hard you cannot eat it.