When filleting large salmon, fins and collars often get tossed in the discard pile along with the heads and spines. These morsels contain some of the best tasting meat on the fish. Often, the heads go into a pot of water to be reduced for stock, the spines are stacked up and roasted in the oven on a baking sheet and the fins and collars go on the grill or in the smoker. Using the Smokehouse Gas Smoker to cook up the collars gives me the hot temperatures of the grill and the flavorful smoke of a smoker, the best of both worlds. Fins and collars don’t have a lot of meat on them so I usually wait until I have several fish to roast up a batch. Fins and collars from three, 15-pound salmon, should yield almost a pound of oil-rich, delicious fish.
To prepare salmon collars and fins for grilling, rinse well and place in a single layer in a tub or large container. Sprinkle granulated garlic and black pepper evenly over fish, turn over to get both sides. Drizzle with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce and let marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes. You can also use a favorite prepared rub or marinade, season as liberally as you would a fillet of fish.
Drain marinade off of fins and collars and place on a layer of paper towels. Gently pat dry, trying to keep spices in place.
Place a drip pan or layer of foil on the bottom rack of the Smokehouse Gas Smoker. Preheat smoker to 350º F. Place Apple wood chips, or chips of choice in the smoker box. Place fins and collars directly on smoker racks. Roast until fish flakes easily off bones and connective tissues, about 6-8 minutes per side.
Serve fish immediately or let cool, remove meat from bones/tissues and serve cold or vacuum seal to use later in chowder, pasta or salmon dip.
Recipe by Tiffany Haugen (www.tiffanyhaugen.com)