Salmon jerky is a delicious alternative to red meat; packed with protein (up to 1.5X more by weight) - contains zero saturated fats, and up to 100X the Omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to heart and brain health.
Jerky is quick and easy to make at home with the Sahara Folding Dehydrator. Create your own marinade to avoid all the additives and preservatives in store-bought jerky. The possibilities are endless.
The best salmon jerky is a perfect balance of different flavors. Soy sauce and molasses give the outer layer a sweet salty taste, with liquid smoke and lemon juice adding depth and complexity. Bite through and you are rewarded with soft flakes of fish melting in your mouth. Think of salmon carbonara pasta. It is the definition of “umami”.
The keys to good jerky are fresh (preferably wild caught) salmon and your selection of marinade. Salmon has its own distinct flavor that you want to compliment but not overwhelm.
Yield: 1.25 lbs fresh salmon = 10 oz jerky
Timing: About 8.5 hours
1.25 lb fresh salmon
¼ C soy sauce
1 T molasses
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp powdered garlic
1 tsp liquid smoke
Equipment: Sahara Folding Dehydrator
Skin and debone the salmon: Any bones are easily detected while working with fresh salmon. Simply pull gently and discard the bones. Starting at one end of the salmon, lift the skin and separate with a very sharp knife. Try to avoid losing any of the salmon meat while carefully removing only the skin.
Freeze and slice: Lie the salmon flat on a piece of parchment paper and place it in the freezer until completely frozen. Freezing the fish makes it easier to cut - a sharp knife will slice through the frozen fish easily, and you will be better able to obtain even slices.
Slice the fish into ¼” thick strips, cross-wise. Try to keep your strips all the same thickness to ensure even drying times. Cut each strip into 3-4” long pieces.
Marinate: Mix the marinade ingredients together until well blended. Place salmon in a one-gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade mix over it. Seal the bag and refrigerate 3-1/2 hours.
Note: Do not over-marinate. The long marination times in traditional beef jerky recipes are meant to tenderize the meat. Salmon is already very tender, so you want to marinate just long enough to impart flavor but not so long as to make the fish absorb too much salt from the soy sauce.
Dehydrate: Carefully strain salmon-marinade mix through a colander. The salmon can be more easily torn after marinating. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and lay the slices on a dehydrator tray in rows. Make sure the slices do not overlap.
Place trays in dehydrator at 145ºF for 3-4 hours. Salmon jerky is done when dry but not crunchy. The pieces generally break easily when thoroughly dehydrated – if you press them gently with a fork, they will flake apart like a baked fish.
Storage: Store salmon jerky in a sealed plastic bag (vacuum seal if possible) and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two months.