Salmon Jerky: Ultimate Guide

DIY Salmon Jerky

Salmon jerky is an extension of both salmon candy and regular smoked salmon.

The way you make all three is kind of the same. Only times, cut and cure are different.

The standard way of making smoked salmon most people use and know about is getting hot-smoked salmon blocks or fillets and then basting and bringing them with honey, maple syrup of bird.

The result you get with this process is lightly-smoked, tender, but fully cooked pieces of salmon. Next is how to make regular salmon candy. This is the step you take just before you start making salmon candy.

Instead of using a brine, you can sugar and salt your thick salmon strips, smoke them and then baste them until they’re a little sturdier than smoked salmon.

When they’re like this, you can carry them with you on long day trips, and they’ll keep for quite some time if stored in a cool place.

However, after a few days and if stored at room temperature, salmon candy can and still will go bad. This is where the idea of salmon jerky fast arises.

It has a similar cure process to its salmon candy counterpart; however, to ensure it can stay a tad bit longer, it has a longer smoke time, and the cuts are generally way thinner.

When making salmon jerky, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that you’ll need to slice the strips about half an inch thick, from their tail to the head.

If you cross-cut the fish, that is, from top to bottom, your jerky is going to fall apart. It’s also advisable not to slice the fish thinner than around a quarter of an inch.

Why? Because doing so might lead your jerky to dry out too much and become brittle. Also, you can leave the skin on if you want. Not only is it perfectly edible, but it also helps ensure your jerky stays together.

If you’re not a fan of the skin that much, you can peel it off just before you chow down.

When done right, you’ll get a result that’s chewy, a bit sweet, and a bit salty. Although, you can play around with a few things, by the way.

The amount of sugar you initially need when curing the fish is normally to extract water, and the same goes for salt. Sugar helps mitigate pure salt’s harshness.

However, if sugar is something you can have at all, you can use salt instead of sugar. If, for any reason, you forget and leave your salmon in the cure for longer than necessary, you can remove the excess cure by dunking the fish in a small ice bath.

Your best bet would be to go with either birch or maple syrup when it comes to flavoring. However, if you like savory, then you can press black pepper onto your salmon before you smoke it or after you’ve cured it.

You can also use garlic or chili powder. It’s all up to you and what you like. Another thing that adds to flavor is the wood you decide to use. The best choices are usually fruit, maple, and alder woods.

How To Make Salmon Jerky

salmon jerky

Get creative and imaginative when it comes to the flavorings and spices you use in this salmon jerky recipe. You can use an oven, smoker, or dehydrator to make your jerky.

You’ll need to prepare beforehand because you’ll need your jerky to marinate for at least eight hours or so. It may even take more than eight hours to achieve the desired result in some cases.   

Ingredients

  • One cup of non-iodized salt
  • Two cups of light brown sugar
  • A quarter cup of soy sauce
  • One gallon of water
  • Salmon fillets
  • Chili powder, black and cayenne pepper (all optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour your brown sugar, salt, water, and soy sauce into a pot. Next, boil the mixture and then stir the sugar until it has completely dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and then let it cool down to room temperature.
  2. Slice your salmon fish lengthwise (not across) into quarter to half an-inch strips. Place your cut-out salmon strips in a cooled down brine solution and then let it marinate in the fridge for at least eight hours.
  3. Drain all the brine. Use clean water to rinse the salmon and then let it drain. Use paper towels to pat the fish dry.
  4. Spray vegetable oil on your dehydrator racks, and then place your salmon strips on them. Ensure they aren’t touching one another so that air can circulate properly. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or black pepper to taste. Dry the fish until your preferred doneness or according to the dehydrator recommendations.
  5. You can also set your to its lowest setting and then use that to dry the salmon jerky. A smoker can do the same thing as well. It could take more than eight hours to dry the salmon jerky. However, that all depends on how dry you want it to be and what drying technique you want to use.
  6. Store your salmon jerky in a ziptop bag or airtight container.

5 Ways You Can Eat Salmon Jerky

Salmon Jerky on the Table

Not only is salmon jerky loaded with nutrients, but it’s also a little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, and full of flavor.

While you can certainly eat it a la carte style, it can also be used to add a little oomph to several other food items and appetizers. Here are just but a few ways salmon jerky can help spice up your culinary juices.

Quiche

Saute some spinach and a few green onions, dice about half a cup of your salmon jerky, and then add this to the veggies. Mix a bit of cream and a couple of eggs, and then pour all this into your preferred crust.

Although you can go non-crust if you like, just ensure you’ve greased the pan well. If you have cheese, use it as a topping and then bake the mixture for twenty minutes or 435 degrees.

Experiment with different cheeses and vegetables if you’d like. Just make sure you’ve added the salmon jerky.

Cheddar Biscuit

You’ll be using salmon jerky instead of the more traditional bacon option in this recipe. Salmon jerky, compared to bacon, is way more nutritionally superior, without a doubt.

Mix two teaspoons of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and two teaspoons of brown sugar with two flour cups. Using your fingertips, blend into the mixture five to six tablespoons of unsalted, cold butter.

Add a three-quarter cup of cheese (preferably cheddar) and half a cup of your salmon jerky (diced). Lastly, add one cup of buttermilk to this mixture until it forms a lumpy dough.

Divide this dough up into ten equal mounds and then bake them for twenty minutes at 450 degrees.

Creamy Pasta Sauce

Salmon jerky can help you add a lot of flavor to your creamy pasta sauce. You can transform your simple pasta sauce into an elegant dinner item that can be served with a side of freshly steamed asparagus.

To start, squeeze three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and grate a teaspoon of lemon zest. Set this aside. Put three tablespoons in a pan and use that to saute two large shallots.

Stir in one cup of cream, add the lemon zest and then simmer for around two minutes until it thickens. Add a salt and pepper dash and finish off with your fresh lemon juice. Toss this with some cooked fettuccine.

Salad Topper

Salads make great sides to bigger meals or can just be nice light meals by themselves. It’s even better during those warm summer afternoons.

Start with a heap of field vegetables and then add a few chopped apple slices. Add a big handful of diced salmon jerky to balance the sweetness that’ll come from the juicy apple slices you added earlier.

For a bit of crunch, include some chopped hazelnuts, and then toss the salad with a nice balsamic vinaigrette.

Wasabi Crisps

Do you know any spice addicts? Are you one yourself? If so, both you and they will adore this unconventional combination.

Start with one tablespoon of paste wasabi, and then mix it with some sour cream (about a cup).

Add some more wasabi, if you want or need to, and then serve this with rye crispbread or baked wontons topped with your salmon jerky.

Interesting Facts About Salmon Jerky

Interesting Facts
  1. Meat snacks have steadily been rising in popularity for quite a while now, and it was only natural salmon would also jump on the train. Salmon jerky gives consumers a great alternative to red meat that’s a gluten-free, lighter meat snack substitute without compromising on taste. Here are some interesting facts about salmon jerky.
  2. Salmon jerky is rich in protein and rich essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Some fats are good for you, and these essential fatty acids are one of them. This fat can help prevent you from suffering from arthritis, dementia, depression, and heart disease when included in a balanced diet.
  3. Salmon jerky snacks are gluten-free and contain about 119 calories for each thirty-gram pack.
  4. You make salmon jerky by marinating fresh salmon for at least eight hours and then smoking it. You first marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar/salt apple cider vinegar. It’s then either dehydrated, smoked over wood, or slowly cooked in an oven to come up with salmon jerky.
  5. Atlantic salmon farmed from Scotland is used to make Wild West salmon jerky. This fish is slowly smoked or cooked on the River Spey’s river banks in the Scottish Highlands.
  6. You don’t need to refrigerate salmon. The fact that salmon jerky can keep for 12 months is what makes it the ideal meat snack for when you’re going to have a long day out and about, a perfect snack for your gym bag and desk drawer too.

Why You Should Consider Salmon Jerky

Wild Salmon Jerky

Most people know that fish are some of the healthiest food on the planet and should always be included in your weekly diet. Most experts recommend that you eat about two to three fish servings every week.

If you can’t get the actual fish in your mouth, salmon jerky can prove a great alternative, as you’ve seen above.

Coldwater fish like salmon are very abundant fish with several health benefits, including helping prevent Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

This high-valued fish has high Omega III fatty acid levels. It’s also very high in Vitamins B, A, D, in protein as well as minerals like phosphorous, iron, calcium and zinc.

Salmon’s makeup is helpful in lowering cholesterol and maintaining your body’s cardiovascular health. It also aids glucose metabolism as well.

So that none of these great health benefits are lost, you need to make sure you brine and marinate it for at least eight hours and then put it through an under 100 degrees cold smoke process to retain moisture and lock in flavor.

Afterward, you need to slow cook it in an oven, dehydrate it or smoke it over wood. Salmon jerky is a wonderful high-protein meat snack that’s portable and tastes great.

You can carry this nutrition-packed, low-fat meat snack anywhere.

Wrapping Up

This meat snack can be enjoyed be it night or day. It doesn’t matter when you intend on eating it, it’ll go well with your dinner lunch and breakfast.

If you’ve read until here, then hopefully you’ve learned how to make salmon jerky as well as ways you can eat it in everyday meals.

If you like to fish or you just buy a lot of salmon and have and have an excess of it, consider turning some of it into salmon jerky.

Although even if you don’t have an excess of salmon, you can still just source some with the goal of making this tasty treat. 

Resources