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Alder Plank Smoked Salmon

This recipe gets all its flavor from Alder wood planks, but be sure to get the right size wood so it can still fit in your smoker. The fish will come out deliciously tender, smoky, and is perfect for a light summer meal or a comforting autumn supper. A word of warning: When buying the salmon, don’t simply go to your local grocer. A proper poissonerie or gourmet food store will have higher quality fish, which while not essential will make this dish a cut above your regular dinner.
  • brine
  • One 3 lb salmon fillet
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs water
  • Let the salmon fillet rest in the brine for at least six hours, but preferably overnight. While the fish is soaking, submerge the alder plank in water, laying a weighted object on top to prevent the wood from floating. 
  • Preheat your smoker to 170 F. 
  • Take the salmon out of the brine, rinsing it thoroughly under cold water, and then gently dry with paper towels. Remove the wood plank from the water, and place the fish on the plank. Season generously with fresh-ground black pepper. 
  • Smoke the salmon for approximately two hours, but check the doneness about an hour and a half in. The fish is done when it flakes with a fork, but it should also be not abundantly salty. As the fish smokes, the amount of saltiness should reduce. Fiddle with the cooking time to get the flavor to your taste.
  • During the last thrity minutes of smoking, mix the brown sugar and water to form a paste. Brush liberally onto the fillet.