The following recipe and photography is courtesy of Graham R. and his dog, Carl. For more of their delicious food ventures, visit them on Instagram @cookingwithcarrrl.
There’s an old phrase in the barbeque world that says, “the best bite of barbeque is the burnt end.” Traditionally, this saying relates to brisket cubes that are slow smoked in sauce and butter until tender, but let’s be honest, brisket can be hard to come by and it is not the healthiest of snacks. So, I replaced beloved brisket with salmon! I promise I’m not crazy, this recipe is very simple and will teach you a few new kitchen skills.
It all starts with curing the salmon, which I hope you get from Heinen’s amazing selection of fresh seafood. They always have a variety of salmon to pick from, so you can’t go wrong. Curing is a method of prepping meat with salt, but can easily be used on seafood, too. The salt draws moisture out of the salmon, unlike marinating, which seals moisture into the meat. You’ll want some of the moisture removed from the salmon to help create a sticky outer layer for the glaze to adhere to. This will replicate the sticky texture that makes traditional burnt ends so popular.
All heroes need a sidekick, and these super delicious bites are no different. I paired them with Heinen’s cooked white rice. Since I put time and effort into the salmon burnt ends, I figured a simple side would let the main dish shine.
These salmon bites make amazing leftovers, so be prepared to use them in a few dishes! They are delicious cold or broken up into salmon cakes. The sweet and smoky flavor works with almost anything you can find in your kitchen.
- Cook time:
- Prep time:
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For the Salmon
- 1 1/2 lbs. salmon, skin removed
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. Heinen’s honey
For the Maple Glaze
- 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. Heinen’s pure organic maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. sriracha
Sides and Toppings
- Sesame seeds
- Green onion, sliced
- Chili flakes
- Heinen’s cooked white rice
- Remove the skin from the salmon. If you’re not comfortable doing this, ask the Seafood Associate at your local Heinen’s to do it for you.
- Cut the salmon into 1-inch cubes and place in a food-safe bag or bowl.
- Cure the salmon. Mix the sugar and salt together. Sprinkle it all over the salmon pieces and mix well. Drizzle with honey and place in the refrigerator overnight. You can leave the salmon in the cure for up to 24 hours.
- After curing overnight, remove the salmon from the refrigerator and gently rinse with cold water to remove any excess cure. There will be a lot of liquid in the bowl or bag and that is normal!
- Place the pieces on a wire baking rack and return to the fridge for another hour. This hour in the fridge will allow more moisture to evaporate and create a sticky texture on the outside of the salmon.
- After an hour, preheat a smoker between 200˚F and 225˚F (no hotter), or the oven to 200˚F. I strongly recommend using a smoker for this recipe, the flavor of the wood really makes a difference!
- Place the baking rack in the smoker or oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
- Towards the end of the 2 ½ hours, make the glaze. Melt the butter over low heat and add the remaining ingredients. If cooking the salmon in the oven, feel free to add a small amount of liquid smoke to the glaze.
- Baste the salmon with the glaze every 15 minutes for an additional hour. Total cooking time will be 3 ½ hours.
- The salmon is safe to eat out of the cure, so you don’t have to check for an internal temperature. They are finished when the glaze stiffens and the bites have darkened in color.
- To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and freshly chopped green onion. Serve immediately with Heinen’s precooked white rice for a quick side dish!
- Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days.