Smoke, Salmon, and Satisfaction

Posted on February 8, 2012


Bristol Bay Kvichak River Smoked Sockeye (before)

The ski conditions have not changed in Juneau, nor has my resolve to make it out as many days as possible this season. Today I went around and around the Mendenhall Campground seven times which I think amounts to roughly 21km. My legs were starting to feel pretty wobbly toward the last couple of rounds and I was wishing I had laid a snack out for myself as a halfway recharge. My sister bragged in a Facebook post yesterday, “I just ate two pieces of hard smoked salmon. I stink good.” When my stomach started gurgling with hunger out on the trail, I couldn’t help but think of smoked salmon. My Great Grandpa, Paul Chukan, used to run trap lines in what is now known as Katmai National Park. He used to like to tell us how he fuelled himself in the winter when he was trapping: “I eat smoked fish in the morning and I never feel hungry all day long.”

Bristol Bay Kvichak River Smoked Sockeye Salmon (after)

Well, I’m home now and I just inhaled the tailpiece of Bristol Bay Kvichak River smoked sockeye salmon that is pictured above. It is a wonder what smoke and drying do to concentrate the flavors of this already flavorful fish. This is my favorite way of enjoying preserved salmon and I am happy to report that I stink good and the taste, that I know will linger long, in my mouth is wonderful. Our dog has been sitting at attention waiting for me to share the skin with her.

Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

The first wine that comes to mind for a pairing is the wine that first turned me on to Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. Joseph Drouhin, the Burgundian wine negociant, has an American wine enterprise in the Willamette valley. Domaine Drouhin produces a Pinot Noir that is widely distributed and consistently pleasing with its full, but not overly full, and balanced body. The reason this particular wine comes to mind is because I always associate it with having a touch of smoke. Those of you who have read other posts will probably think that I only ever drink two types of wine, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Brut Rose, but I really do think that a Brut Rose would also pair nicely with this kind of smoked fish and the bubbles will help cut through the smoky fish oil that will not leave your mouth for a while. Unless of course you want to just let it linger.

For more about Bristol Bay, its abundant wild salmon resource, and the importance of salmon to the people who live, work, and recreate there visit,, and