At our Alaskan lodges, we tend to eat a lot of salmon (shocking, we know). Not only do we serve it a bunch of different ways for dinner, but our guests also have the option of a shore lunch – where your guide prepares a fresh salmon you caught that very morning.
Those of you that have joined us at Alaska West of late probably recognize the name Ben West, better known around camp as ‘Big Country.’ Not only is Ben a great guide, but he also cooks a mean shore lunch, and today he shares his favorite recipe for cooking salmon over an open fire.
Big Country’s Shore Lunch Salmon Recipe
As many who have fished with me know, I love to do shore lunches. It can be a great way to take a little break, enjoy a fire and a hot lunch. Salmon on the river is just as good as it gets. I love to fish, I love to cook, and most importantly I love to eat. How else do you think I got to be six foot four? So, today I would like to share my go to recipe for a salmon shore lunch.
2 Salmon Fillets
1/2 Large Onion sliced
2 fresh Tomatoes sliced
3/4 Cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Dill
3 Tbsp Tarragon
2 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
3 tsp of garlic salt
2 Large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil
Metal grill grate to put on top of coals
The first step is to build a nice large fire. I like to build it bigger than expected, because the light wood we find in Western Alaska burns fast. While the fire burns down to coals, I fillet the salmon and prep each fillet on top of its own sheet of aluminum foil. I like to mix my sugar, herbs, and spices beforehand and have them ready to go in a ziploc bag.
To prep, I like to liberally cover the fish in the seasoning mix. Then, I lay the slices of butter evenly down each fillet, followed by the onions and tomatoes. The fish is then ‘enveloped’ in the foil by folding it up over the top of the fillet, and inward on the sides making it ready to cook.
Once the coals have started to burn down, I stir the coals around creating a nice even heat source. I place the foil wrapped fillets, skin side down on a metal grill grate, then place the grate on top of the coals. Cook about 12-15 minutes and check. Note, I generally serve the tail portion of the fillet first, as it cooks faster, then give the rest of the fillet a few more minutes, and eat as ready.