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Salmon Jerky

Salmon Jerky

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Makes about 12 ounces, about 15 to 20 strips.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from recipes found on the Internet.

Salmon Jerky is delicious and it has a flavor you never forget. My uncle Charlie (Charles DiCostanzo) was a biologist in Alaska and his research specialty was salmon. When I was a child he brought us a box of salmon jerky he’d made. I never forgot the flavor. Here it is many decades later and I finally reproduced the flavor from some recipes I found on the Internet, without using a smoker.

Salmon jerky is a healthy snack, being high in omega-3 fatty acid, which is believed by many to have many health benefits such as reducing blood levels of harmful cholesterol.

Ingredients:

½ cup (120ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Wright’s liquid smoke, hickory flavor
2 pounds (900g) salmon fillets, preferably with the skin, preferably wild caught, not farmed

Directions:

To make the marinade, combine the soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and liquid smoke in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has thoroughly dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the fillet lengthwise into long strips, each about ¼-inch (0.6cm) thick. Partially freezing the salmon makes this easier. (A dull knife will not cut through the skin properly.)

Place the strips in a one-gallon ziplog bag and add the cooled marinade. Seal the bag and let sit for 15 minutes to one hour. The longer the marinating time, the stronger the flavor. (I prefer 45 minutes.) Turn the bag over every 10 to 15 minutes to distribute the marinade and flavor the fish evenly. Discard the marinade after the fish is marinated.

Lay the strips on non-stick racks (or parchment paper) set over baking sheets. (You’ll probably need two baking sheets.) Arrange the strips so that they are not touching each other.

Heat the oven to 150°F (65°C) and place the fish inside. My oven only goes down to 170°F (77°C), which works fine. Allow to dry in the oven overnight. If it is not dry enough in the morning it can be set aside to air-dry an additional day or two. The strips should be quite dry and firm.

Store in an air tight jar or ziplock bag in the refrigerator. Other than the smoke in the marinade, there are no preservatives and therefore this fish might become moldy if not stored properly.

Peel the skin off before serving. This makes a healthy and satisfying snack.