Wood Fired Salmon On a Maple Log
I love to BBQ with hardwood and this method brings salmon back to its natural earthy roots. The first time salmon was ever cooked in the Northwest it would have been prepared similarly and tasted like just this. Slow cooking with wood imparts a thick flavor, similar to smoked salmon, yet retains the juiciness of fresh cooked salmon. Both maple and oak work equally well. The salmon will absorb most of the wood and aromatic flavors at the beginning, the second half is just to finish the cooking process. Remember that the fish is being cooked from the top down rather than from the skin up (as in the kitchen) so it is important that the salmon is solid when poked with a finger.
Wood Fired Salmon on a Maple Log
1 side of salmon
maple or oak firewood sized log
6-10 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
hardwood or coals (optional)
Chop a log in half and choose which side looks like it would best accommodate the salmon. Further chop the other half into kindling sized pieces. Remove grate from BBQ and use kindling to start two fires on each side of the BBQ, or make one fire and separate it once it gets going. I sometimes use a few coals to help get the fire started. Once fire appears to be going add one thyme sprig to each side. Add salt and rosemary to salmon and place salmon on log in middle. Cover and open BBQ vent. Over the course of 30-45 minutes check a couple of times and add a little more wood and rosemary as needed. After the skin has noticeably changed to a darker shade add several more pieces of wood to bring up the ambient temperature and finish the fish off, 30-45 minutes more. Carefully remove salmon with a spatula. This way of preparing salmon works on a campfire too by placing the log directly on the coals.
1. Chop log in half
2. Chop one half into smaller pieces
3. Make small fire on each side of BBQ
4. Ramp up heat