Seafood - The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue - Peter Jautaikis

The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue - Peter Jautaikis (2016)

Chapter 5. Seafood

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Baked Fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon

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Sockeye salmon (known as “reds” because of their dark red-orange meat) has a bold, rich flavor and a juicy, firm texture. This recipe pulls together easily and produces very tender, flaky salmon in about 30 minutes. Since sockeye salmon has such firm flesh, it stands up really well to baking and grilling.

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Rest Time: 5 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

2 fresh wild sockeye salmon fillets, skin on

2 teaspoons Seafood Seasoning (page 171)

¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Rinse the salmon fillets with cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

2. Lightly dust the fillets with the seasonings.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 400°F using any pellets.

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2. Lay the salmon skin-side down on a Teflon-coated fiberglass mat or directly on the grill grates.

3. Bake the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F and/or the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

4. Rest the salmon for 5 minutes before serving.

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Notes

This recipe works equally well with Chinook (king), coho (silver), pink (humpback), or farmed Atlantic salmon.

Salmon tends to dry easily when baking, so bake it skin-side down to help retain moisture.

Alder Creole Wild Pacific Rockfish

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Transport yourself to the Louisiana bayous with this Creole rockfish recipe. Over 70 varieties of basslike fish from North America’s West Coast can be referred to as Pacific rockfish. Rockfish are firm, lean, and mild-flavored, and lend themselves well to baking and frying. But as I discovered, they can be smoked as well, with excellent results.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 90 minutes

Rest Time: 5 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder

4 to 7 (4 to 6-ounce) fresh, wild Pacific rockfish fillets

3 teaspoons roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Creole Seafood Seasoning (page 168) or any Creole seasoning

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Rub both sides of the fillets with the olive oil.

2. Dust both sides with the seasoning.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 225°F using alder pellets.

2. Place the fillets on a Teflon-coated fiberglass mat to prevent them from sticking to the grill grates.

3. Smoke the fillets for approximately 90 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 140°F and/or the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

4. Let the fillets rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Notes

You can also bake the fillets in your wood pellet smoker-grill on a Teflon-coated fiberglass mat at 350°F for 25 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F and/or the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

Shrimp-Stuffed Tilapia

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This easy-to-prepare seafood lover's delight brings restaurant-quality elegance to any dinner table.

Serves: 5

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 45 minutes

Rest Time: 5 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any

5 (4 to 6-ounce) fresh, farmed tilapia fillets

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

1½ teaspoons Seafood Seasoning (page 171) or Old Bay seasoning

FOR THE SHRIMP STUFFING:

1 pound cooked, peeled, deveined, tail-off shrimp

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 cup finely diced red onion

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

½ cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley or dried parsley

1½ teaspoons Fagundes Famous Seasoning or salt and pepper

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Prepare the shrimp stuffing. Use a food processor, salsa maker, or knife to finely chop the shrimp.

2. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sauté the red onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

3. Combine the shrimp, cooled sautéed onion, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp stuffing until ready to use. Use shrimp stuffing within 2 days.

5. Rub both sides of the fillets with the olive oil.

6. Spoon ⅓ cup of the stuffing onto the back side of each fillet. The back side of the tilapia fillet has reddish stripping.

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7. Flatten out the stuffing on the bottom half of the fillet. Fold the tilapia in half and secure with 2 or more toothpicks to hold the fish in place.

8. Dust each fillet with the smoked paprika and seafood seasoning or Old Bay seasoning.

ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 400°F using any pellets.

2. Place the stuffed fillets on a nonstick grilling tray.

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3. Bake the tilapia for 30 to 45 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F and the fish flakes easily.

4. Rest the fish for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets.

Nonstick grilling trays are great for vegetables and fish.

Store extra shrimp stuffing in refrigerator for later use with other recipes or as a wonderful shrimp-cake hors d’oeuvre. Using ⅓ cup of stuffing, form thin patties and pan fry them for a few minutes in extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil. They make nice tidbits for the pitmaster and friends!

Cold-Hot Smoked Salmon

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This brined authentic Northwest alder wood-smoked salmon recipe uses both cold and hot smoking processes in order to slowly and fully cook the salmon to an internal temperature of 145°F. True cold-smoked salmon is cured and actually is still raw.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 16 hours (8 hours brining and 8 hours drying)

Cook Time: 8 hours

Rest time: 10 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder

5 pounds fresh sockeye (red), Chinook (King), coho (silver), or Atlantic farmed salmon fillets

4 cups Salmon and Trout Brine (page 167)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Cut salmon fillets into 3 to 4-inch square pieces so that they will smoke/cook at the same rate.

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2. Place the salmon pieces into a 1-gallon food-grade plastic bag or brining container and refrigerate for 8 hours. Rotate the salmon every 2 hours to make sure it remains submerged.

3. Remove the salmon from the brine and lightly pat the pieces dry with a paper towel.

4. Air-dry the brined salmon in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 8 hours to allow the pellicle (see notes) to form.

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ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking. If your grill has cold-smoking capabilities, then configure your pellet smoker-grill for cold-smoking.

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2. Remove the salmon pieces from refrigerator and place them on Teflon-coated fiberglass mats.

3. Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180°F using alder pellets. A pit temperature of 180°F should result in a cold-smoke temperature of 70° to 100°F in your smoker box, depending on the ambient temperature.

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4. Smoke the salmon using the following pit temperatures, which should result in the listed smoke box temperatures:

✵Pellet smoker-grill set point at 180°F: Smoke salmon for 1 hour—box temp 80°F to 90°F.

✵Pellet smoker-grill set point at 225°F: Smoke salmon for 1 hour—box temp 110°F.

✵Pellet smoker-grill set point at 250°F: Smoke salmon for 2 hours—box temp 120°F.

✵Pellet smoker-grill set point at 350°F: Smoke salmon for 2 to 4 hours—box temp 150°F to 160°F.

✵The smoker box temperature needs to stay below 175°F.

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5. Continue smoking the salmon until the internal temperature of the salmon at the thickest part reaches 145°F.

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6. Remove the salmon from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

7. Vacuum-seal any remaining smoked salmon and freeze for up to 6 months. Vacuum-sealing and freezing smoked salmon actually enhances the alder-smoked flavor.

Notes

Salmon fillets should be free of bones, but always take care when eating fish.

The pellicle, or the formation of a tacky skin, plays an important role in producing excellent smoked fish by acting as a protective barrier yet allowing the fish to capture the color and smoky flavor of alder.

A long-time favorite for smoking fish in the Pacific Northwest, alder wood adds a mild yet distinct flavor, with a hint of sweetness.

Keep the smoker box vent fully open to allow moisture to escape.

Hot-Smoked Teriyaki Tuna

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I developed this hot-smoked recipe to achieve similar results as cold-smoking. Cold-smoking occurs at temperatures below 100°F. Unless your wood pellet smoker-grill has a separate smoking chamber like the MAK Grills 2 Star Super Smoker Box, it will be challenging to do any cold smoking. Many wood pellet smoker-grills do not have the ability to operate below 170°F. This recipe can be used with most fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, and Pacific rockfish.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 5 to 7 hours (3 hours brining and 2 to 4 hours drying)

Cook Time: 2 hours

Rest time: 10 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder

2 (10-ounce) fresh tuna steaks

2 cups Mr. Yoshida’s Traditional Teriyaki Marinade and Cooking Sauce, or any other teriyaki marinade

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Slice the tuna into uniformly thick slices, approximately 2 inches thick.

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2. Place the tuna slices in a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag along with the marinade and place it in a shallow baking dish in case of a leak. Let sit in the refrigerator for 3 hours, rotating the tuna every hour.

3. After 3 hours, remove the tuna from the marinade and lightly pat it dry with a paper towel.

4. Allow the tuna to air-dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours until pellicles form (see note on page 142 for more information).

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ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 180°F using alder pellets.

2. Place the tuna pieces on a Teflon-coated fiberglass mat or directly on the grill grates, and smoke the tuna for an hour.

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3. After 1 hour, increase the pit temperature to 250°F. Cook for about 1 hour more, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

4. Remove the tuna from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Ensure that the tuna slices are the same size so that they will smoke at the same rate.

Smoked Salmon & Dungeness Crab Chowder

While camping, crabbing, and fishing at Winchester Bay on the Oregon Coast, I came up with this quick and easy chowder recipe that uses Dungeness crabmeat and freshly smoked salmon. The sweet and tender Dungeness crab is a wonderful complement to smoked salmon. This stunning alternative to clam chowder makes an excellent starter to any meal.

Serves: 6 (as an appetizer)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Rest time: 5 minutes

4 gallons plus 5 cups water

3 fresh Dungeness crabs

1 cup rock salt

3 cups fresh or leftover frozen, thawed Cold-Hot Smoked Salmon (page 140), divided

3 cups ocean clam juice

5 celery stalks, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 (14-ounce) can sweet corn, drained

1 (12-ounce) package clam chowder dry soup mix or creamy potato dry soup mix

4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Bring the 4 gallons of water and the rock salt to a rapid boil. Place the fresh Dungeness crabs in the boiling water. Once water returns to a boil, cover and boil the crabs for 20 minutes. Remove the crabs from water and set aside to cool. Once cooled, clean the crabs thoroughly and pick the crabmeat from the shells.

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2. Flake the freshly smoked salmon.

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3. In a large uncovered pot over high heat, bring the clam juice, remaining 5 cups water, diced celery, diced potatoes, and onion to a hard boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to a medium simmer, and let cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add the corn, return the liquid to a boil, and whisk in the clam chowder or creamy potato mix until all the lumps are gone.

5. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring the chowder often.

6. In the last 5 minutes, add the crumbled bacon.

7. Garnish each serving of chowder with ½ cup of flaked smoked salmon and ½ cup of Dungeness crabmeat.

Notes

Store fresh crabmeat no longer than 5 days in the refrigerator.

Alder Wood-Smoked Boned Trout

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Alder wood-smoked boned trout has an awesome, delicate flavor that can be served as a main dish, an appetizer, substituted for clams in your favorite chowder recipe, crumbled in salads, or added to cream cheese for dips. Trout's silky texture lends itself perfectly to being cold or hot-smoked. You’ll love the flavor produced by the brining process and alder wood smoke.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 4 hours (2 hours brining and 2 hours drying)

Cook Time: 2½ hours

Rest Time: 5 minutes

RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder

4 fresh boned whole trout, skin on and pin bones removed

5 cups Salmon and Trout Brine (page 167)

PREPPING FOR THE GRILL

1. Place the trout in a 2-gallon sealable plastic bag or brining container along with the brine. Place the bag in a shallow dish in case it leaks, and refrigerate for 2 hours, rotating the trout every 30 minutes to make sure it remains submerged. Place the bag in a shallow dish in case of leakage.

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2. Remove the trout from the brine and pat them dry with a paper towel.

3. Air-dry the brined trout in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 hours to allow the pellicle to form (see note on page 142 for more information).

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ON THE WOOD PELLET SMOKER-GRILL

1. Configure your wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking. If your grill has cold-smoking capabilities, then configure your pellet smoker-grill for cold-smoking.

2. Preheat the grill to 180°F using alder pellets. A pit temperature of 180°F should result in a cold-smoke temperature of 70°F to 100°F in your smoker box, depending on the ambient temperature.

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3. Cold-smoke the trout for 90 minutes.

4. After 90 minutes, transfer the cold-smoked boned trout to the wood pellet smoker-grill pit area and increase the wood pellet smoker-grill temperature to 225°F.

5. Continue cooking the trout until the internal temperature of the trout at the thickest part reaches 145°F.

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6. Remove the trout from the grill and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Notes

Look for boned trout in the seafood department of your local grocery store, fish market, or better yet, catch your own and remove all the bones yourself.

Boned trout should be free of bones, but always take care when eating fish.

Cold-smoking occurs at temperatures between 70°F and 100°F.