Hop Smoked Salmon with Red Sails Perry

 Kris: Thanks to a very kind neighbour, I had a freshly caught Australian salmon to cook with. In a previous blog post, I hot smoked some Atlantic salmon using some Tasmanian Cascade hops. I thought I would do a different version of smoked salmon using some Tasmanian grown Topaz hops. I also came across a bottle of Tasmania’s newest Pear cider from Red Sails. They have planted a huge variety of heirloom cider and perry trees and are producing some awesome cider. I thought the perry would be a great match for my smoked salmon.

Kris: Instead of brining the salmon like last time, I simply smoked it for 15 minutes over a mix of mallee wood chips and topaz hops. I then seasoned it with salt and pepper, drizzled over some olive oil and baked it in some foil in a 160 C oven for 25 minutes.

Kris: I was brewing my first saison, so the smoked salmon was a perfect lunch time snack. While waiting for the fish to bake, I started preparing the spices for my home brew. I used some Tasmanian pepperberries, lemon myrtle  and bush tomatoes and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

 Kris: I served the salmon with some Bruny Island O.D.O. (One day old) cheese and some fresh, crusty bread. I also made a simple salad from the garden with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Caroline: I love using Nasturtium flowers in salads! Not only are they delicious (peppery) but they are so beautiful. I think they make even the simplest salad look fancy. Not only are they delicious, but they are so easy to grow! Ours grow like weeds; we have to prune them back regularly just so they don’t take over the back yard. More facts about nasturtiums and some recipes here.


Kris: The Perry was a great match for the smoked salmon. It’s fine carbonation and dryness cut through the smoky richness of the salmon. It also complimented the cheese and the fresh bread. I will be keeping an eye out for some of the other ciders from Red Sails. The perry was one of the best I have ever tried.

Caroline:  I really liked the Perry by itself. It was refreshing and fruity. However, I did not really like it with the smoked fish. I thought the fish brought out a lot of fruitiness in the cider (which I guess is a good thing) but to me this masked over the smoked salmon a bit, and I love me some smoked salmon so I don’t want anything overpowering it.

HOP Smoked Salmon

Kris : Smoking fish is a little time consuming, but not hard and worth the effort when you finally get to eat it! The first step is to brine the salmon for 8-10 hours.

Brine Solution

2 1/2 cups warm water

1/4 cup sea salt

1/4 cup castor sugar

A few juniper berries

1/2 onion (sliced)

2 cloves garlic

Tbs fennel seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Once it has cooled, place the salmon in the brine solution. Place it in a snap lock bag and leave in the fridge for 8 hours.

**A good trick is to leave the salmon out in a cool place for an hour before smoking it. (The brine will protect the fish from spoiling). This creates a sticky film on the fish (called a pellicle) which helps the smoke to stick to the salmon.***

I used a combination of wood chips and really dry hop flowers. You can purchase wood chips for smoking at hardware stores. I picked these hops earlier this year and stored them in a calico bag. You can also buy hop flowers  from home brew stores, but don’t use hop pellets, they would be way too strong.

 You can buy an expensive smoke box, but you don’t need to.

Caroline: We don’t have a smoker so we had to improvise (just how we like it). We used an old pot (the wood chips and pellets will probably stain and stink it, so use one you feel ok chucking or keeping only for smoking in the future) and a bamboo steamer (only a couple bucks at asian grocery).

Also, word to the wise:
this is a project that I highly recommend executing OUTSIDE. It will stink up your house like fish and bonfire for a long time otherwise….

Kris: I smoked the salmon for 20-25minutes on the lowest heat possible. It is ready when the salmon falls apart when pressed with a fork.
Kris: We ate the salmon with some really creamy goat’s fetta and fresh sourdough. You could use goat’s chevre also. Little Creatures Pale Ale was a great match for this dish. The citrus/grapefruit hop character and carbonation cut through the richness of the salmon and the goat’s cheese. Definitely worth the wait.

Caroline : The salmon was so smoky and delicious! Felt like I was eating fish over a bonfire on the beach…I can dream can’t i?
Delicious snack or appetizer….