Now, not only was I trying out two dishes that I had never before tried, I was also trying a technique I had never even seen before. Add to that the other dish was mussels, which I had no experience with, either, and my confusion and stress levels were high enough.
Then, to make matters worse, I invited my neighbors over! What was I thinking? Didn’t I say, “Never cook a first time dish for friends”? Yeah, well, I don’t take my advice, either.
So, I liked this guy’s idea for putting the chips under aluminum foil and a grill. But what if, I thought, you need to add more chips? This was my idea: Inside a larger Dutch oven, put a smaller Dutch oven lid, inverted, on a lid stand. Chips go below, salmon on the lid, larger lid on top, propped open... Boom. Dutch oven smoker.
...But I had no idea if it would work. Would it get hot enough to smolder the chips? Would it be too hot so as to fast cook the salmon? I had no idea.
Dutch Oven Smoked Salmon
14” Deep Dutch oven
10” Dutch oven lid, with a lid stand
40 + coals below
- 1 Salmon piece (~8 oz) per serving (I did about 7)
- Any herbs you like (I used Thyme)
- 1 Lemon
- Smoking chips
I started by lighting up some coals. I wanted to try out the setup, before I actually put the salmon on, to see if it would smoke. I put the 14” on a monster boatload of coals. I gave a rough count, and it was about 45. I scattered a layer of dry smoking chips (I used applewood) on the bottom. On top of that, I put an oven thermometer. I wanted to be able to monitor things.
I have a bent piece of wire, about ⅛ of an inch in diameter. I hooked that over the edge, and put the lid on. That raised the lid enough to vent. I set that aside, and checked the temperature from time to time.
In the meantime, I prepared the salmon. I trimmed off the skin, and shook some salt, pepper and herbs on each piece, both sides. I left that to sit.
From that point on, I just checked the smoke, the temperatures, and the salmon every 30-40 minutes. It fluctuated as high as 350 and as low as 200. I tried to keep it lower. I did add coals, but after a while, I found it wasn’t as necessary to keep as many on to maintain good temperatures or smoke. I did add some chips at one point because I saw it not smoking as much. I just sprinkled them in through the gap between the lid and the wall of the 14”.
Finally, after about 2 hours, the meat temperature read about 170. It was done! And I served it up on the rice in part 2 of this writeup.
It was really, really, really delicious.
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.