MONTANA MARKET: Olympic Peninsula Cedar Salmon

By Beacon Staff

This recipe, learned from the late Mark Sager, combines all the elements of a great outdoor food event. Invite friends over as the fish and fire tenders. Start fire at noon and eat at about 5 p.m.

Fish Sticks:
Get two six-foot, untreated cedar planks with minimum knots. Cut two 1.5-foot sections from the first plank, split into thin kindling strips about a quarter-inch thick. Split second plank in half, top to bottom. Sharpen ends of stakes into a mild point. Bind about one foot from the end with wire.

1 whole coho, sockeye or king salmon, book fillet*
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tbs. seasoned salt
2 lemons or limes

• Build a hardwood fire into a good bed of coals, having enough wood to maintain the coals for at least four hours.
• Apply butter, seasoned salt and brown sugar to fish. Let sit covered but at room temp for at least one hour.
• Arrange six or seven sticks evenly spaced on a large platter.
• Place fish, skin side down on the sticks
• Place five to six sticks alternating with those below on flesh side of fish
• Slide, beginning with the “head side,” the long “chopstick” along the backbone of fish pinching the sticks and fish between them.
• Wrap wire around stakes above and below the fish securely.
• Apply lemon or lime juice and tilt the stick over the fire, about 2.5 feet above coals, secure the foot with rocks or stab base into the ground.
• Cook slowly for about 4 hours until desired doneness (med to med rare is best)

*Book fillet is the removal of the backbone from the whole fish allowing the fish to lie flat, as if on the cover of a book. Keep rib bones intact, trim excess belly fat.

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