IPNC Salmon Bake

Posted on August 2, 2012



The fire burns on long after the salmon are baked at IPNC Northwest Salmon Bake

All who love salmon have their own special way of preparing it. At the 25th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, OR I bore witness to yet another way that salmon can be prepared and it was a grand spectacle, befitting of the celebration. For this special evening king salmon from Neah Bay in Washington were sourced and purchased from the Makah fishermen who caught them.

Neah Bay Chinook (aka King Salmon) being staked to alder poles for IPNC Salmon Bake

Neah Bay Chinook staked and ready for the fire at IPNC Salmon Bake

The wild salmon were roasted over a blazing fire pit fueled by split redwood logs and fastened to stakes of alder by cedar plank slats. What news I have scanned through my fishing news channels has indicated that the Chinook runs in the Lower 48 have been climbing steadily to sustainable levels that now allow for responsible commercial harvest. I heard at the celebration that there were some years when kings had to be sourced from Alaska in order to allow for the tradition of the IPNC Salmon Bake.

The baking of Neah Bay Chinook begins at IPNC Salmon Bake

Alder poles of Neah Bay Chinook being placed in stands specially designed to hold them over the pit as the sun begins to set on IPNC Salmon Bake

The salmon lined up as the fire takes off for IPNC Salmon Bake



For me, a lover of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, wild salmon and how well the two match, the evening was the highlight of many that the weekend had to offer. Special wines acquired for the event and others that individuals brought to share were poured freely. Friendships that had only been nurtured by online interaction or observation were brought to life and I had the privilege of meeting winemakers whose work I have admired for years. Thank you to the organizers of IPNC for pulling off such a huge undertaking so well.