|A rewarding and delicious appetizer to often enjoy over the long|
upcoming winter months...
Yields: (Appx. 1 Doz. Pint Jars)
Curing: 24 Hrs. [For 1" thick chunks, but for every inch larger add an extra day(s) to properly cure]
Prep: 6 to 8 Hrs.
Equipment and Supplies:
- 1 case (12) wide-mouth Mason pint jars, with lids and rims, sterilized – Important!
~~~~[I sterilize the jars using the hot setting in my dishwasher, and boil the lids and rims in water using a medium, covered, pot for 10 minutes]
- 16 qt. cooler (cleaned using hot
1 large stainless steel pot with lid
1 medium stainless steel pot with lid
-Wide-mouth funnel (optional), saves clean-up time
12 lb wild king salmon
1 (4 lb.) box canning and pickling salt (do not substitute)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Clean and fillet in half the king salmon (2 fillet halves), then cut to size to fit in cooler. Lay fillets in bottom of cooler skin-side down, and sprinkle each top flesh side with several handfuls of pickling salt; repeat process until 2 fillets remain. Place last 2 fillets skin-side up, then evenly pour remaining pickling salt all over fish. Ensure fish is completely covered with pickling salt (use more pickling salt if needed to do so). Lastly, add 1 generous handful of dark brown sugar sprinkled evenly over top of pickling salt. Close lid and let cure for 24 hours for 1" thick fillets -add one day for additional thickness of king salmon - Important! While occasionally moving them (using clean hands) to ensure fillets are not sticking to each other and solution covers each and every fillet. (Note: Do not be alarmed, as the salt/sugar will form its own brine liquid and end up covering and curing all fillets.)
Once curing has taken place for 24 hours, rinse fillets in cold water.
Rinse and clean the cooler, and set aside.
Remove the skin from each fillet, including cutting off ALL FAT from king salmon (as it tends to go rancid, so I remove this beforehand) and cut out the strip of bones on the diagonal lengthwise.
Fill the clean cooler half way up with very cold water. Cut the fish into 1” chunks, and add to cooler to began the 1-hour rinsing process; changing cold water mid-way through. Be sure to stir the fish from time to time while doing so.
Glazing (Air drying):
Place long rows of plastic wrap on countertop, with long lengths of paper towel (to prevent salt from ruining the counter surface). Drain fish chunks from water using clean hands, and place in a large bowl. Then, spread evenly in one layer atop paper towels on counter. Let air dry for 1 hour (you’ll see a soft skin-type glaze form, which enhances flavor and firmness quality of the final product).
(Note: I prepare pot of brine about 6 hours beforehand to ensure it has sufficient time to cool so it's ready when I began the jarring process.)
8 cups water
4 cups white distilled vinegar
½ cup organic pickling spice
1-½ cups white granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
Add all brine ingredients to pot; stir to combine. Bring brine to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely with lid on – Important! [Note: To speed up the cooling process; once the brine has cooled somewhat, carefully place entire pot in sink filled with cold water, just so cold water is about a quarter the way up from outside of pot bottom.]
- Prepared fish chunks
- Prepared brine, cooled
2 large white onions, quartered and sliced into 1/8” strips
-(I keep slices covered with a damp paper towel to alleviate watery eyes)
2 large lemons, quartered, deseeded and sliced into 1/8” thick rectangles
*See Tip below for Jalapeno Pickled Salmon option
Begin filling jars by first placing the wide-mouth funnel over the top rim of each jar prior to filling. Place a layer of fish chunks on bottom, onions, one slice of lemon; repeat until ½ full. Stir brine to distribute spices, and pour 1 ladle into jar. Continue layering ingredients as before, ending with a layer of onions and a slice of lemon to completely cover fish. Stir brine, then fill jar with ladle to within ¼” of the top of rim. Remove funnel, and run butter knife around inside edge of jar to release air bubbles. Wipe outer rim with a damp paper towel, and tightly secure jar with lid and rim. Repeat process until all jars are filled.
Label lids using a permanent marker: Pickled King Salmon, date jarred, and 6 months out as an expiration date. Important! – Place tightly secured jars in refrigerator initially ‘upside down’ to cure for 7 days (to allow the spices evenly distribute) before eating, and then turn remaining jars ‘right-side-up’ stored in the refrigerator until expiration date. The refrigerated pickled king salmon will keep up to 6 months from jarring date. ~ Enjoy!
*Tip: For “Jalapeno Pickled King Salmon,” simply place 3 to 4 store-bought jarred pickled jalapeno slices in bottom of each jar prior to filling with remaining above-listed ingredients.