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Several years ago DH and I acquired a gas smoker and found our smoked salmon to be very popular with people who like smoked fish. Originally, I found a recipe for Bourbon Smoked Salmon on the Internet, but the poster said he had adapted it from a recipe made with scotch. Being a scotch drinker, I changed it to scotch, added a little more sugar and made other changes to the original recipe over the years. We usually use Alder for the wood, however Apple also works well. We serve this on a platter with a garnish of a spicy olive and marinated vegetable mix from our local grocery store, along with some small slices of lemon and lime. Please note: the fish needs to marinate between 4-24 hours, which is not included in the prep or cook time.
- To make marinade, warm 1 cup of water to more easily dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the dark brown sugar and canning salt to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Add the rest of the water and the scotch and stir.
- Trim the fish as you like, then curl it, flesh side out, to slide it into a gallon zip-type bag. Place bag and fish in a medium bowl to help hold it while you work with it.
- Pour marinade into the bag, then add the thyme, lemon and peppercorns into the middle of the curled fish. This will keep the lemon slices against the skin of the fish and the flesh will not become discolored.
- Marinate fish at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When you're ready to get the smoker prepped, remove the fish from the marinade and allow it to dry on a rack for 30-60 minutes.
- After the fish is dry and the smoker is ready, oil the rack from the smoker, generously oil the skin side of the fish and place it on the smoker rack.
- Grate fresh pepper over the fish, covering it lightly.
- Smoke 2-2 1/2 hours at approximately 215°F.
- Serve slightly warm or chilled.