Instead of letting your salmon swim in wine to infuse flavor, try beer.
Photo by Courtesy Flickr/gkdavie
Whereas some fancy recipes might suggest poaching your fish in wine with vegetables, I suggest letting it swim in a nice, cold citrus bath with beer, and then cook over a low fire infused with apple wood. You can buy Lucky Town Ballistic Blonde, available primarily on tap, in a growler from Hops and Habanas in Madison ($10.99 per fill, $6.50-$45 for a 64-ounce growler; 601-853-7449)
5 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raw local honey
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, crushed
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 large bay leaves
1 orange, halved
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
32 ounces Lucky Town Ballistic Blonde
1-1/2 to 2 pounds salmon filet, approximately 1-inch thick
Combine all ingredients except beer and fish in a large non-reactive stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt and sugars dissolve. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Add beer and chill brine to between 40 and 45 degrees. Submerge fish in brine, adding water if needed to cover. Chill and soak for 10 to 12 hours. Do not over-soak. Not only will the salmon be too salty, but it also will lose texture as the citrus breaks it down further.
Remove from brine 12 to 24 hours before smoking, reserving brine. This allows time for the fish to dry and flavors to distribute through the fillet.
Rub filet with olive oil. Prepare smoker, using reserved brine in the drip pan. Smoke filet at 230 to 250 degrees Farenheit for 40 to 60 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.