Cooking Chum Salmon?

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#1
My favorite Pacific Salmon are Sockeye. I have a variety of recipes and I like them all. My favorite is to grill them on a water soaked cedar plank with some oil, minced garlic, spices, and onion rings.

I've also cooked and ate Silvers, Pinks, and Kings.

When I've been to Alaska, most people seemed to avoid eating the Chum (aka Dog Salmon because that's what the Natives feed their dogs, or so I heard). I found the Chum fun as hell to catch, but I never ate any.

Am I missing a good thing? I hear Chum are becoming very popular.

Trapper
 

DennisE

Topwater and tying.
#3
Maybe salmon cakes with seasonings, cracker meal, green onions, garlic and celery?
I'll have to try that on a Pink this year.
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#9
I prefer fresh chum. Bars on them are ok, just look up into the cheeks by gills and see what color the meat inside is. Usually if it's a nice pinkish color, it's a keeper (even with bars, since they change so early). Yes, we smoked a lot of them. Must be done FRESH. Can't freeze them successfully IMHO and defrost then cook. But fresh chum smoked is fantastic. Guess the best way to say it (and what I've said for years on chums) if the belly is white, it's your bellies delight, if the belly is black, toss that fish back.

BUT, there is another way I'll cook it. Shocked me first time I had it this way almost 3 decades ago (damned, it's almost been that long????, I'm feeling old). My then Dad's new girlfriend (later his wife) loved salmon, but never got any. Of course, was salmon season, chums in thick, so gave her some of our fresh stuff. She invited us over for dinner. Mind you this was chrome bright and bright pink fleshed chum. What she did is de-skin it, de bone it, and cube it. Then bread it and deep fry it. Served with tarter sauce was pretty damned good. Haven't had it in awhile, mostly because they haven't had a retention season on them in a few years. But it was pretty damned tasty.
 

ribka

Active Member
#10
I catch chum in Dec on the Nisqually. There are very fresh. I bleed out immediately and put on ice.

I cook on cedar plank and they do eat very well.
I also smoke them up and are very good smoked

Proper prep and care is key as with most game and fish
 

Dipnet

The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
#11
What she did is de-skin it, de bone it, and cube it. Then bread it and deep fry it. Served with tarter sauce was pretty damned good. Haven't had it in awhile, mostly because they haven't had a retention season on them in a few years. But it was pretty damned tasty.
You can bread and deep-fry bear scat and it'd probably taste pretty good! ;)

For chum and pinks I think the secret is to bleed/clean/ice right away. I still think they're best in the smoker!
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#12
MT,

You're never going to hear many kind words about chum salmon from true salmon snobs. Being fortunate enough to have really good salmon, I am one. Bay or tidewater chum fresh on the grill is good eating. It just isn't as good as most chinook, sockeye, or coho. Chums do smoke up well. They are low in lipid content, and that is why they are never as tasty as the other 3 species. They are rapidly converting their limited supply of fat into eggs and sperm even before entering freshwater. Many chums spawn and die within 10 days of entering freshwater, and in larger and longer river systems, maybe twice that long. Consequently they never develop the significant lipid stores that fish with long freshwater migrations or long freshwater holding periods do. And that is why chum, like pink salmon, remain low on the quality index as table fare.

Another one to beware of is chinook. Not all chinook are equal as table fare either. Tule fall chinook that make short migrations and enter freshwater well developed sexually aren't worth taking home IMO. Spring, summer, and certain fall chinook like Columbia River Upriver Brights are out of this world table fare. Similarly, early run Fraser sockeye are better than late run and better than most Alaskan sockeye for the same reasons. Longer migrations and longer freshwater holding periods make for better quality salmon on the table, or in the smoker. Lower quality fish get a pass when smoked because the brine and smoke modify and add to the flavor so much that the basic fish ingredient is significantly masked.

Sg
 

Shapp

Active Member
#15
Fresh chrome chum is a great fish. Catch, bleed, gut, scale, slab off fillet, place skin sides back to back slather both sides with mayo, the full fat kind, salt, pepper, lemon and onion on both sides, wrap in foil, throw on grill at medium heat for 10 minutes, turn for another 10, enjoy