Start off by coating the salmon in salt, all kinds of salt. Salt out the WAZOO. We're talking dead sea salty here okay? I used some Cyprus Mediterranean finishing salt. Maybe this wasn't the right application for it since it is a finishing salt and I used it first. I just really like the way the crystals look, I mean, common!
It's like you are in Egypt with all those little pyramids.
Now that you have a nice salty fish you are going to want to let that sit in the sun for a few hours or days, with a fan to circulate the air above it, that's what keeps it fresh. Actually, an even better idea would be to refrigerate the salmon, covering it with a lid, parchment paper, a baby, saran wrap, anything moderately airtight really.
After an hour or two or more, Dad wasn't really specific on this part, wash the salt off. Obviously, the longer you wait the saltier it gets. I washed my fish after an hour which left it not very salty. This was good because it let the lemon thyme really shine through, but I do like a pretty salty planked salmon every now and again.
I've always like smoked salmon with a bit of lemon. Lemon thyme just seemed like a natural fit. Especially since I just happened to have some in my new herb garden. For some reason the slugs have shown a particular interest in the lemon thyme. Looks like I'll have to pour a beer out for my homies in the garden. Anyhow, back to the lemon thyme, I chopped up five springs, about 7cm long approximately. I rubbed this and about equal parts garlic and fresh ground pepper. One big clove or garlic, fresh ground red, white, green and black peppercorns.
Massage this into the salmon ever so gently. Play soft sounds of the rain forest to ease the salmon into a relaxed state.
Let the salmon rest while you skewer some shrimp. I'm sorry to bring this about so abruptly, but it was a last minute thing. We had some shrimps and some skewers, the coals were ready, smoked shrimp are delicious, just too many reasons not to do it. It's important that you let the skewers soak in water for at least 30 minutes if they are wooden. If they are metal this isn't as important, or necessary at all. I didn't do anything to the shrimp other than lay them on the salmon after they were skewered. You really don't need to, the smoke gives them a great flavor. Someday, I will smoke some spiced up shrimp for you guys though, someday...
At this point my camera aka cellphone decided to run out of battery power as it so often does when I need it. There really isn't much else to see though. Once the coals are good and hot, I'm assuming here that anyone that reads this can use a charcoal grill. Honestly, I've only used mine like 9 times so I might not be spot on about how to set it up. Rest assured, that post is coming too.
The coals are lit, the salmon is relaxed, the shrimp is skewered, there's just one thing missing. The smoke! Cedar and salmon are a match made in heaven I think. throw some cedar chips on the hot coals and let them flare up. then, lay the salmon, skin side down, on top of the grill. place the shrimpies on then close the lid. Let this smoke for about 20 minutes. larger fish will take longer. After 20 the coals will probably need some oxygen to keep burning so take off the lid to let the coals breathe. If the salmon is flaky and pink throughout (a different pink than when you started) it's done! It coals even be a bit yellow or brown from the smoke. You might even want to remove the salmon before it is fully cooked as it will cook while resting.
So that's how you smoke a delicious salmon with lemon thyme. Now here is a picture I drew of a Bearded Fish.