Canned and smoked king salmon isn’t as popular as flash-frozen, uncooked salmon. Because king (Chinook) salmon is known for being the best—and most expensive—kind of salmon, most people are looking to capture the bold flavor and natural texture of king salmon. That said, there’s no one right way to buy king salmon. After all, you’re having the experts in smoked Alaskan salmon, masters of their craft, season and smoke your salmon. Put another way, if you have a thing for honey-smoked salmon, you’re going to struggle to do better than a professional salmon smoker. Many of the salmon companies in buying guide for king salmon also offers smoked king salmon; a couple also offer a canned or jarred salmon product.
Smoked King Salmon
Buying smoked king salmon is a great way to make sure you don’t ruin the world’s best-tasting salmon. The good news is that the fatty consistency of king salmon makes it relatively easy to cook. A buttery glaze will rise up and protect the meat inside. Even still, with an unproven method or by getting distracted and overcooking the salmon, you may be unimpressed with the results.
If you have a favorite recipe, then you should probably think about uncooked salmon fillets. Otherwise, smoked king salmon isn’t a bad way to go at all. Plus, the same flash-freeze process that locks in the freshness of uncooked salmon can be used to capture and protect the unique flavor of smoked Chinook. You can find honey, BBQ, traditional, and a variety of other seasoning and glaze options. Here are a few examples from reputable seafood companies:
Most of the available options are hot-smoked, but you may be able to find some cold-smoked king salmon as well. You can serve it cold or heat it gently. Serve it as fillet portions, the featured item in a soup or dinner salad, or in your favorite pasta dish. Smoked king salmon will last a few weeks in the refrigerator or other cool, dark place. It will last 3-6 months in the freezer. Once opened, it should generally be eaten in 3-5 days or up to a week if promptly resealed and refrigerated.
Canned King Salmon
Canned king salmon is even less common than the smoked variety. It’s less common, but not unheard of. For people who are looking for high-quality meals that can be stored a long time and don’t mind spending extra, canned king salmon can be a great choice. It’s a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. You don’t have to add much to get to a nutritious and thoroughly satisfying meals. Properly canned salmon is very shelf-stable and will last about 3-6 years without losing its quality and flavor.
That said, beware of labels and unfamiliar brands. Just because it says “king” somewhere on the label or on the ordering page doesn’t necessarily mean the canned product is 100% king salmon. Stick to clearly labeled products from reputable companies and brands.
DIY Canned King Salmon
Some people also like to do their own canning. Maybe you’re looking for a new weekend project, or maybe you want an endless source of easy meals this winter. Maybe you live in one of Alaska’s many coastal towns and plan to catch and can your own salmon. But just because you know how to catch and clean salmon doesn’t mean you’re a natural-born canning expert. Need some tips or a basic step-by-step tutorial? Check out these online resources from The Alaska Life and Instructables.