Episode 017 continues the What We’re Grilling series, where Taryn discusses recipes she and her family have grilled over the last couple of weeks to give you some meal inspiration. In this episode, Taryn makes the smoked salmon her dad talks about in Episode 016 of the podcast. She goes over the ins and outs of smoking salmon and some tweaks she had to make. She also mentions a smoked salmon ball recipe, with feedback from her neighbor, and two different types of grilled meatballs, with a taste test from her husband and kids.
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- Traeger wood pellet grill
- Sheet pan with baking and cooling rack
- Traeger Signature wood pellets
- Vacuum sealer
- Weber grill
Taryn Solie: Hello grillers! Welcome to another What We’re Grilling episode. I am your host, Taryn Solie, and I am here to give you some grilling inspiration. These What We’re Grilling episodes are meant to be short and sweet, coming out about every 2 weeks or so. I go over some of the foods that my family and I have grilled that we’ve liked – some of what I mention will just be general meal ideas, and for others I’ll go into more detail to give you a sense of how to grill it. The goal is to give you some ideas for what to cook for your family and friends.
Today is going to be somewhat of a callback to this past Grill Like A Mother episode because the food I’ve grilled most recently has been the smoked salmon that my dad talked about. Yes, I had my dad on the podcast for a special Father’s Day episode, and in it he talks all about salmon. He’s been a fisherman for as along as I can remember and is really knowledgable about salmon and just fish in general. He shared his smoked salmon recipe that he’s been making for decades and I decided to try it out for myself.
First off, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t already made it, but then I realized that’s probably because I’ve never had to – I just get the salmon already smoked from my dad. Second, when he sent me the directions they were for, like 4 whole salmon, which I was smoking, like, half a salmon so didn’t need nearly that much, and the instructions were not super clear. I know that’s because he’s been doing it so long he doesn’t even really need a recipe, but it took a little guesswork on my part.
I had a whole fillet of salmon that I cut down into five pieces that were maybe 6 or so ounces a piece. Then I combined the brine ingredients together – now this is a dry brine so there’s no water. The ingredients were brown sugar, kosher salt, garlic salt, ground black pepper, and fresh dill. So really simple ingredients. And I actually made two different brines – one with the brown sugar and one with coconut sugar to see if I could make a paleo version of the recipe.
I put the fish on a sheet pan then sprinkled probably 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of brine onto the fish and stuck it in the fridge for 24 hours. Then I rinsed the brine off, patted the fish dry with paper towels and placed it on our Traeger, which was not turned on, to dry out for about 5 hours. Now if it’s really hot where you live, which I know several areas are experiencing a heat wave right now, I wouldn’t dry the fish in the Traeger because you don’t want it in the heat. I would put it on one of those baking and cooling racks that fits into your sheet pan and put that in the fridge uncovered.
So after the fish has dried out you want to remove your fish from the Traeger if that’s where you were storing it, and then turn your Traeger, or smoker or wood pellet grill, up to 165 degrees F. I used the Traeger Signature blend of pellets for this, but you could use any really mild wood like a fruit wood, or pecan or maple. You want to smoke the fish until it reaches an internal temperature around 135 degrees F – for me that was right around the 3 hour mark. It’s going to depend a little on outside temperature and how big your pieces of fish are.
Then you remove it from the grill and dig in! It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container, but if you vacuum seal your smoked salmon it will keep for months.
Both types of brined fish ended up being really good, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between the salmon smoked with the brown sugar brine vs the coconut sugar brine. Which honestly I will call that a win!
I did end up also making my dad’s smoked salmon ball recipe, and it was just as good as I remember. He goes over it in the previous episode, number 16, so I won’t repeat it but I will put a link to both it and the smoked salmon recipe on the show notes page.
It makes a pretty big salmon ball, like it’s meant to serve a crowd, so I ended up giving half to our neighbor, and I’m going to read what she texted me back because I think it’s a pretty honest review. She sent two texts so I’m going to kind of combine them and edit so you can get the gist. She said “Your dad did a great job. I like his because the ingredient portions are just right. No one ingredient overwhelms the other. I was going to just take a couple bites then I couldn’t stop! Thanks again for the yummy treat.”
I promise I did not pay her to say any of those things, but I do think it pretty accurately describes the salmon ball. It’s so good.
The last recipe I want to talk about is not salmon related, but it’s a recipe that I’m testing that turned out really well. I wanted to make some grilled meatballs and I tried two different flavor profiles – one that was a more classic meatball with Italian flavors like garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning, and another using some ingredients that I tend to put in other meat dishes – namely chopped sauteed mushrooms, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. I also had a bit of almond flour and egg in both to help bind them together, as well as some kosher salt. And that was really it.
I heated our Weber grill up to 400 degrees F then cooked the meatballs until they reached 165 degrees F – it wasn’t very long, maybe 4 or 5 minutes on each side. Then I had my kids and husband taste test the meatballs to see which they liked better.
Taryn Solie: Um, come here. Okay, you had meatball A, here’s – try meatball B.
Kid 1: Good!
Taryn Solie: Well you haven’t even tried it yet.
Kid 1: Good.
Taryn Solie: You like meatball B?
Kid 1: Mmm-hmm. What do I do with it?
Taryn Solie: Well just eat it! Ok, which one do you like better, meatball A or meatball B?
Kid 2: B.
Taryn Solie: What about you, meatball A or B?
Kid 1: B.
Taryn Solie: B for you? And B for you?
Kid 2: Mmm-hmm.
Taryn Solie: Ok, and what about Daddy? I bet I can know which one you like better. B, yeah.
Matt Solie: Yeah, that’s good.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Taryn Solie: The meatballs with the mushrooms were the clear winner – they were really delicious. And meatballs was something really simple to put together and get on the grill. I don’t have that recipe ready, but I’ll link to a couple of my other meatball recipes that are equally as good in the show notes page.
That’s it for today! We went over my dad’s smoked salmon recipe, his salmon ball recipe, and some grilled meatballs. To get the recipe links, visit the show notes page by either going to my main website at Hot Pan Kitchen dot com and clicking on podcast in the main menu, or you can click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on.
If you enjoyed this episode, I would love it if you would share it with a friend who you think would be interested! As a newer podcast, it helps spread the word and I would really appreciate it.
Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep grilling like a mother.