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Cooking With Fire: Wild-Caught Salmon


25,000 years ago man carved the image of a salmon into the walls of a cave in southern France, and this depiction is the oldest known artistic representation of salmon in the world.

For thousands of years salmon have been a life-sustaining food source for people all over the world, from the Salmon Coast of the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes to the British Isles. In recent years salmon, specifically Chinook salmon, have also been introduced to the waters of New Zealand and Patagonia.

Salmon are born in fresh water, yet spend most of their life living in the ocean, only to return to freshwater rivers and streams to reproduce.

Salmon is one of those fish that seems to be popular, even for those who don’t like fish or seafood… but much of what we’re eating in Kansas is farm-raised salmon, and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that stuff just isn’t good.

Now, in a pinch, or if you don’t know any better, you may love your farm-raised salmon, but try a wild-caught salmon next to a farm-raised on the same plate and the flavor difference is immediate.

A richer flavor with incredible depth awaits you the first time you try it.

To find wild caught, call your local market and ask for it by name. They may direct you to frozen salmon filets that are flash frozen when caught. This is a fantastic way to get wild-caught salmon in Kansas.

On this week's podcast, Chef Tom and I will walk you through the wide world of salmon and give you a delicious recipe for cedar planked salmon.

Smoked Salmon

  • 1 large fillet of salmon
  • 1 1/2 lemons, divided
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 long sprig fresh rosemary (or several small sprigs)
  1. Preheat your smoker to 275ºF. Using a propane torch, blacken the surface of a cedar plank. Set aside. 
  2. Slice one of the lemons, and squeeze the juice of the half lemon over the flesh of the salmon.
  3. Mix the salt, pepper and brown sugar. Season the flesh with the rub mixture. Place the sprig of rosemary on top of the fish. Top the rosemary with the lemon slices. 
  4. Transfer the filet to blackened cedar plank. Place the plank in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140ºF. Remove from cooker, and discard lemon slices and rosemary before serving.
Josh Cary may be the eCommerce Director at All Things Barbecue during the day, but at night he takes on the mantle of an award-winning Pitmaster, who has cooked on the competition barbecue circuit under various team names including ATBBQ, Yoder Smokers and the Que Tang Clan.
All Things Barbecue Staff Chef Tom Jackson is a Kansas native, born and raised in Wichita. In 2008 he and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon, where he attended Oregon Culinary Institute. Tom studied both general culinary skills as well as baking and pastry while working as a cook in a variety of restaurants. After graduating from Oregon Culinary Institute he began working as a bread baker and pastry chef at the renowned Ken’s Artisan Bakery in northwest Portland. He spent more than four years honing his skills under James Beard Award winning chef and owner Ken Forkish. In that time he and his wife had their first child, and the draw of home and family grew stronger. Longtime friends of the Cary family, owners of All Things Barbecue, they returned to Kansas to help All Things Barbecue continue to excel in their cooking classes. Tom has been further developing and building cooking classes and private events at All Things Barbecue since March 2014.