If this isn’t Heaven, it’s certainly somewhere close. What an incredible weekend hunting absolutely enormous King Salmon upon the deep blue, icy waters of Lake Michigan. And, by the grace of our Good Lord, with a bit of luck, an overabundance of patience and a degree of perseverance, our bounty was great!!
This freshly-harvested 22-pound wild salmon was butterflied with it’s pin bones removed, then seasoned with minced chilies, smoked paprika, roasted garlic, wildflower honey, fresh citrus and red onion, then finished with a splash of robust olive oil, shredded white crab claw meat, a dusting of smoked fluer de sel, and an aromatic selection of seasonal herbs from our backyard garden.
Positioned skin-side down directly atop the chef-grade, stainless steel grates of my All-American Twin Eagles Grill, this breathtaking beast covered all 42″ of grilling surface! The grill’s burners were dialed within 10% of their lowest setting in each cooking zone, elevating the grilling chamber to a steady 225F. Because this grill system was innovatively-designed to deliver both direct and radiant heat with precision and consistency from corner-to-corner and wall-to-wall, I was able to ensure from teeth to tail, this fish was prepared to tender, flaky perfection!
After gently removing the whole fish from the grill and resting for 15 minutes, the thick fillets were sliced and served over a rustic bed of Mediterranean-style ancient grains and paired alongside a beautiful glass of northern Michigan cabernet sauvignon. Life just doesn’t get much better than fishing and cooking out with family and friends!! -Cheers and long live the adventure, David
Butterflied and Grilled Great Lakes King Salmon
- 1 King Salmon, cleaned, scaled and butterflied
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons granulated roasted garlic powder
- 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
- Wildflower honey
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 1 fresh fennel bulb, cored and finely sliced
- 2 Lemons and Oranges, finely sliced
- 8-12 oz crab claw meat, shredded
- Fresh chives and parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish
- Kosher salt and ground black peppercorn, to taste
- Prepare salmon, by cleaning, scaling and butterflying the freshly-harvested fish. Pat dry the meat and skin with paper towel, then rub the meat olive oil, chili, paprika, garlic, cayenne, salt, freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of honey. Rest on the counter until near room temperature. 15 minutes prior to cooking, preheat the grill to low (225-250F).
- Place the salmon skin-side down directly atop the grill grates. Toss the slices of onion and fennel in olive oil and dress dress the fish, followed by lemon and orange, then top with shredded crab meat. Season additionally with salt and pepper. Close the grill lid, basting intermittently with olive oil, until the internal temperature in the fattest part of the fillet reaches 135F, approx 45 minutes.
- Remove salmon from the grill grates and rest under a tin foil tent for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs, season additionally to taste, then plate in 6-8oz portions atop a rustic bed of cous cous and ancient grains. Pair with a beautiful cabernet sauvignon and serve.