On Friday, I took out about 6 fillet portions of king salmon from the Craig catch this past summer to thaw. Yesterday, I removed the skin from each fillet, and the ribs. I put some pickling salt in the bottom of a bowl, added a whole fillet, then sprinkled some salt and brown sugar on the top of the fillet, then stacked another fillet, and sprinkled some salt and brown sugar on it, until I had all 6 fillets in the dry brine. I put it in the fridge about 9 am. I rotated the fillets in the bowl a few times during the day as the salt drew out water liquid filled the bowl.
This morning I got up about 7 am and took out the fish, poured off the liquid, and rinsed the fillets. I tasted some of the fish and it was a tad salty but not bad. I cut the fillets into cubes. I noticed some of them seemed mushy and was worried I didn’t brine it strong or long enough. I put the cubes in a bowl and ran water in the bowl for awhile to freshen the fish and draw a little salt out. That seemed to firm the fish up, so I didn’t brine again. I weighed the fish and it was about 5 lbs of cubes including the colander weight so maybe 4 to 4.5 lbs of fish. I put 4 cups white vinegar and 2 cups water and 1/2 a cup of sugar together. It tasted pretty sour, so I added another 1/2 cup of sugar and that seemed about right – still a little sour, but okay. I put the liquid in a pot and hung a metal colander with a long handle in the liquid and added some peppercorns, bay leaf, mustard seed and a hot red pepper, brought the liquid to a boil and simmered 10 minutes with the spices steeping in the collander, then took it off the stove and set it outside to cool. I estimated about 8 pint jars of product, so put in 9 just to be sure and simmered for 10 minutes to sterilize. By the time the jars were sterilized the pickling solution was cool. I took a bowl of the hot water and put in some canning lids. I took out the jars, added half a clove of garlic, a couple cloves to the bottom of a jar, added a layer of fish, then slices of lemon and onion, more fish, lemon and onion, until the jar was full. Then I filled the jar with the pickling solution. Came out to 9 pints exactly with no pickling solution left over. I cleaned the lids of the jars, put the lids on, and tightened the bands and put it all in the refrigerator. We’ll try it in a week and see if it’s edible.