Cooking Chum

Anybody ever cook a chum? I tried it but it didn't come out the way I expected. I just used some dill and butter. It was a little bland.:dunno

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
OOOOOOOOOOOO. Have I got a treat for you guys. Yes, I agree, NEVER broil or BBQ chum. They aren't made for that style cooking.

But first, ONLY keep a chum if it has a white belly and bars, or pure chrome. Check inside the cheeks near the gillplate where you can see flesh. If it's not pink, or fish is not firm, don't keep it. I hear people talk about "they'll smoke up fine". But I feel, and have experienced, that what quality fish you put in smoker is what you get out of it. So make sure the meat is pink or fish is firm.

Now, onto cooking. Of course, smoking is by far the prefered way. But have another that most don't know about, and I've actually converted quite a few to in the past. Take your chum, and of course fillet it. Then debone it and DESKIN it. Now, cut into cubes. Take and beer batter (or any sort of battering you want to do). Deep fry them (preferably in an actual deep frier, not just pan fry, but can be done that way). Fry for a few minutes, then serve with tarter sauce. It turns out excellent that way. BUT, meat has to be pink. If that meat is tan, then best not to eat at all. But, can be smoked.
Oh man that sounds good ! I think looking into his gills is probably the most important part because this guys was totally fresh nice white belly, still had some good silver on him and hadn't even started to get the bars on the side yet. He was still white on the inside.


Active Member
I've found myself eating chum (aka "dog" salmon) a few too many times aboard ships. It's always the salmon that tastes bland and dried out. I know this because, whenever the salmon we get served turns out bad, I check the skin for ID clues. Too many times I've found the give-away barring. What can I say? The company is always trying to save bucks when it comes to personnel costs, so we often eat chum. And nothing the cooks do seem to help when it comes to the chums.
I have BBQ'ed Chum caught in the Salt when up in Alaska a few times. They had just a small amount of bars started on their sides. They where fine with just butter and onions. Might be that since they where still in the salt and not real close to their home river quite yet. That they still were fresh enough for the BBQ. I have never eaten one from a river from Alaska or even in Washington yet. In fact the only river caught Salmon I ever have eaten was Coho from the Duwamish. I agree with the fact that a salmon still needs to be firm to be any good even on the smoker.
I feel that a fish that has been in the rivers for 2 days or more, lose why to much of themselves to be worth eating. They have made it along way and should be given a chance to reproduce. But that just me and I would not force that on no one. Catch and release is still ok though. Looking at some of the real dark fish that are kept always gets me thinking, how could that worn out old fish have any taste left, The thing has used up it fat and oil researves getting up the river and the fat and oil in the fish is the flavor. The oil content in Copper River Salmon is what makes them cost so much as compared to other Salmon. Just something to think about.
Of course as I said that just me. You all are free to make your own choices. :beer2

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Was he "white" or a "tan"? Only reason I ask, is that sometimes salmon come in with a "white" flesh. Has no real taste, at least the ones I've caught. Mostly seem to happen with kings, but have seen in Cohos and some chum. Especially if they are mint bright chromers. So could've been one of the albinos possibly.
he was white. and yeah he was pretty bland. I have never run across that before but then again I haven't been fishing for salmon for to long either.


Active Member
Although I don't keep wild fish with the exception of the occasional pink salmon,I think steelheader 69's recipe sounds the best, a bland fish makes the best fryer.
Salmon Snobs

Chum can be just fine if you catch them out of the salt far enough away from their native stream. They're still not as good as a coho, king, or sockeye (always a little more dry, which my wife actually likes), but a saltie chum is fine table fare unless you're a salmon snob. In many markets, you can find fresh chum sold in the local grocery store. They are labeled "Silver-Bright".

That said, there is nothing wrong with being a "salmon snob." I will confess to being one. It's hard not to be when you live in salmon paradise.

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