On the 7th Day. Before he rested. Our good Lord took one final gaze upon his master creation. And in these fleeting moments he laid his hands for the last time upon a remote plot of rustic land in the furthest antarctic reaches of the world – a land made so beautiful and breathtaking, there was no distinction between the Earth and Heavens. He called this place, Patagonia.
Inspired by my recent travels to the end of the known world, mountaineering and fishing alongside my son across Chilean Patagonia’s Andes Mountains – these gorgeous king salmon medallions, were harvested directly from the crystal clear, aquamarine glacial waters of Torres del Paine (pictured above and below), then delicately sliced to remove the center-cut portion of the tender filet.
This meaty, succulent strip of the salmon was then trimmed at it’s ends for evenness, rolled upon itself and tied with kitchen string to form a pseudo, cylinder-shaped “filet mignon steak.” The tender roll of fish is prepared for the grill by encrusting in a bed of finely ground South American coffee beans, ancho chili, a garden of dried spices and pinch of brown sugar.
The rustic “salmon steak” is hardwood-smoked low and slow until flaky and fork-tender, then finished with a tangy honey-soy glaze and garnished in freshly chopped herbs. Plated atop a wild grains and a quinoa salad with black beans, parsley and roasted pistachios, this Tierra del Fuego-esque recipe is paired perfectly with an ice cold, dark and creamy bourbon barrel-aged porter beer and served fireside – perfect for this end of the world or the next.
- ½ cup dark roastest coffee beans, finely ground
- ½ cup ancho chile powder
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried onion powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 pinches cinnamon
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
- In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients. Set aside.
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup honey
- 3-4 tablespoons low-sodium soy
- Juice of 2 limes
- In a heavy bottom sauté pan over medium-high heat bring butter to a simmer. Add shallots and garlic, sautéing until onion is caramelized. Reduce heat to low and whisk in honey, soy and lime. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is syrup-like in consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Note: the glaze will continue to thicken after being removed from the heat. Account for this during your cooking process.
- 6-8 cups cedar wood chips
- 1 gallon water
- ½ cup cheap rum
- 4-6 salmon filets mignon steaks
- Dark Roast Coffee and Chili Salmon Rub, recipe above
- Honey-Soy Glaze, recipe above
- Fresh herbs, to garnish
- In large container combine water and rum, then submerge wood for 1 hour prior to smoking.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salmon "mignon steaks" by slicing the fish filet lengthwise and removing the center strip of the filet. Trim the ends of the filet for evenness then roll the filet upon itself and tie to form a psuedo, "salmon mignon steak." (note: if you'd prefer, ask your butcher to slice and tie the salmon into "filet steaks"). Next, prepare the honey glaze and spice rub. Roll the exterior of the salmon through the spice rub. Set all aside.
- Preheat grill to 225-250F using the 2-zone grilling method in the notes section below. Once the grill reaches temperature, spread the pre-soaked wood chips directly over the cooler, indirect heat grill grates and close the lid. When smoke begins to emanate from the grill simply lay the spice-encrusted salmon mignons upon the wood. Smoke for approximately 30 minutes with the grill lid closed, or until internal temperature reaches 130F, basting intermittently with olive oil.
- When internal temperature is at 130F begin lightly brushing exterior of the salmon with the honey-soy glaze, caramelizing one layer upon another until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 135F. Remove fish from the grill and rest under a tin foil tent for 5 minutes.
- To plate, season additionally to taste, place over a bed of grains, garnish with fresh herbs and serve alongside a tall, dark and handsome porter beer.
1-burner grill – Turn the grill to high, then leverage the warming shelf, lined with tin foil, removing the meat from direct contact with the grill grates.
2-burner grill – Turn right side of the grill to high & leave the left side off.
3-burner grill – Turn far right side of the grill to high, the middle to low-medium and the left side off.
4-burner grill – Turn far right side of grill to high, middle right to medium, middle left to low, & leave the far left zone off.
2-Zone Grilling Surface on Charcoal:
Ignite the charcoal in a chimney starter. When coals are glowing red, dump coals onto the grill floor. Rake coals, pushing ⅔ to one side of the grill, slanting the remaining coals to the opposite side of the grill, establishing high-piled 1 hot zone & 1 cooler zone. For every hour of cooking, add a half-stack of coals.
Pay special attention to grill and smoke in an open area. With open flame and smoldering wood chips, do not smoke within 6 feet of your home or covered structure. Do not smoke in a closed space, in your garage, bedroom or bathroom.
Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible for consistency of heat and airflow.
Maintain a full water spray bottle near by to douse flames as they arise.
With attention to safety first, this will be the undisputed best smoked chicken ever pulled from your grill.