Hickory-smoked BBQ salmon
Sunny days – oooh – sunny, sunny, sunny days. Ain’t nothin’ better in the world you know, than lying in the sun with my radio!
Why am I belting out this tune from the 70s? Because it was in my head when I was lying around in the sun, the song floating from some backyarder who was also, I imagine, having his share of sunny sunny days.
And you know what else was floating from his yard? The smell of a good grill going.
So, I’ve decided this is the summer to learn how to barbeque. No more relying on the guy in front of the fire – as much as I love him (he’s the one I went to for grill lessons!) This year, I’m going to do more than open the patio door when his hands are full. Normally we put on some steaks, especially when my carnivorous sister is around, but this time I thought we’d do things a little differently. Let’s go smokey, shall, we?
Other than the campfire, I’ve never lit fire to wood before. In fact, I’ve never thought twice about the kind of wood worth smoking. But thanks to Serious Eat’s Guide to Grilling, I’m convinced that there is a difference when you infuse the woodsy scent onto your meat.
But no, we didn’t do steaks this time around. Well technically, the day prior we had steaks, so we thought we’d go with salmon fillets. Grill people, please do not shun the fish! Jesus broiled fish, for crying out loud! I remember the year that salmon burgers were introduced at Harvey’s and the PC Blue Menu. That sailed, right? And salmon fillets add variety to your summer grill. Come now, we are a backyard BBQ with guests who might want a bit of this ‘n’ that. Let’s leave the serious beef-out to the CopaCabana!
Whether or not I’ve successfully persuaded you to swap the cow for the trout, I will tell you that grilling with hickory smokeadded so much dimension to our dish. As a medium wood, the hickory smoke infused a strong flavour that the thickness of the salmon could hold. Better yet, the salmon was made with a honey-hoisin marinade (recipe after the song), so it was smokey and sweet.
And now the sun’s about to fade away
I’m feelin’ better than I’ve felt for days
You know, there’s nothin’ better for your soul
Than lyin’ in the sun and listenin’ to rock ‘n roll …
Hickory-smoked honey-hoisin Salmon Recipe
- 1 bag of hickory wood chips
- 3 large salmon fillets
- 4 tbspn hoisin sauce (I like the Lee Kum Kee brand)
- generous squirt of honey
- 1 tbspn minced garlic (or more, if you like – keeps the vampires away)
- chopped green onion
- sprinkling of sesame seeds
- ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- Prepare the marinade at least one hour before grilling to ensure the flavour stays on the fish. In a small dish, combine hoisin sauce, honey, garlic, black pepper, adding water last. Mix well so that it becomes an even sauce. Add the green onion and sesame seeds.
- Wash and dry the salmon, and place in a large container. Brush on the marinade on both sides, adding the remainder to the container, and let it sit in the fridge.
- When it’s time to grill, read the instructions on the bag of hickory chips, and prepare accordingly. The way to smoke depends on the type of grill you have. We have a gas grill, so we make put the chips inside an open-faced foil-bag and placed it right beneath the grate.
- When the chips are smoking, put the salmon on. Salmon fillets don’t take too long to cook and turn out dry when overcooked. 5-8 minutes on each side, depending how done you’d like your salmon and how hot the grill is.