When you think of smoked salmon, it might be thin slices of rosy meat that come to mind. That’s the smoked salmon common on deli menus or vacuum-packed on a grocery store shelf which is generally a cured and cold-smoked product. Jon Alexis at TJ’s Seafood Market in Dallas does it a little differently, and it’s fantastic.
Instead of cold-smoking, which is generally done at temperatures around a hundred degrees, Alexis hot-smokes skin-on salmon filets with hickory and alder at 225 degrees. The result is smoky, peppery, and flaky, nothing like the subtle flavors of the thinly sliced salmon you’ll find heaped on a bagel. However, it’s more than just smoke. “We brine our salmon overnight in a dry mix of kosher salt, light brown sugar, white pepper, cloves, granulated garlic and bay leaf,” Alexis explained. It only takes twenty-five minutes in the smoker after the overnight brine, but it’ll disappear from your plate a lot quicker than that.