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Fancy Shmancy Salmon at

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I both like a nice piece of wild salmon despite it costing more than ice in the dessert. So, when some wild sockeye steaks were put on sale, we bought them. The problem with salmon steaks are they have bones and the thin belly pieces are hard to eat between the bones and the skin.

I had seen a method for preparing salmon steaks on America’s Test Kitchen that took most of the bones out and folded the belly pieces in to make a solid salmon disc. I decided to use the preparation method but use my own cooking style on my Louisiana Grills Pellet Smoker.

I started by inserting a very sharp knife between the bones and meat on the inside of the belly portion. Start near the spinal bone and slice between the bones and the meat. Do this with the belly portion on both sides.

Use kitchen shears to cut the bones off at the spinal bone.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 01

Starting at the height of the spinal bone on one side, carefully cut between the skin and meat to the bottom of the belly portion. Cut the skin off. You will only do this with one of the belly portions.

Roll the skinned belly portion into the large piece of meat.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 02

Wrap the other belly portion around the curled in portion and tie the steak with butcher string to make a disc shape.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 03

Mix 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of garlic powder, 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground pepper and 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) dry mustard into 25 ml (2 tablespoon) cold butter.

For the butter into 3 discs and put it in the refrigerator.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 04

Preheat an oven or smoker to 350 F.

Rub the salmon with olive oil. Put it in the smoker or oven and put a disc of herb butter on each salmon steak.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 05

I smoked the salmon for 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 135 F. Gourmet books will tell you to cook it to 125 F, but I prefer it just a bit more cooked.

I took the salmon out. I cleaned a pair of needle nose pliers well. I used them to grip the spinal bone. I wiggled it a bit and it with the dorsal bones pull right out.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 06

We served it with Summer Potatoes (my next post) and a great noodle salad.

Fancy Shmancy Salmon 08

The Verdict

This was a real treat. There was practically no bones in the salmon and it was easy to eat. The herb butter really enhanced the salmon taste without overpowering it. The salmon was moist and tender. It also looks, well, fancy shmancy.

The Old Fat Guy

Fancy Shmancy Salmom

Yield: 3 servings

Fancy Shmancy Salmom


  • 3 salmon steaks
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) garlic powder
  • 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground pepper
  • 1 ml 1/4 teaspoon) dry mustard
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) cold butter
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil


  1. Cut between the bones and the meat of both belly portions of each steak.
  2. Cut the bones off at the spinal bone with kitchen shears.
  3. Cut between the skin and meat with a sharp knife on one of the belly portion. Leave the skin on the other side.
  4. Curl the skinned belly portion into the large piece of meat.
  5. Wrap the unskinned belly portion around the skinned portion and tie with butcher string to make a disc.
  6. Preheat a smoker or oven to 350 F.
  7. Rub the salmon with the olive oil.
  8. Put the salmon in the oven or smoker. Put a disc of herb butter on each salmon steak.
  9. Cook to an internal temperature of 135 F, about 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon steak.
  10. Grasp the spinal column bone with needle nose pliers. Wiggle a bit and pull the spinal bone out with the dorsal bones attached.
  11. Serve.
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6 Responses

  1. Nice to see. I tried that about 20 years ago for a dinner party and it was a success. Good to see another old fat guy with the patience to do stuff like this. My next trick was deboned pistachio stuffed drumsticks

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