OK here's my way to prepare smoked salmon. I hope I can keep my thougths in order as it's quite involved. It takes me 3 - 4 days to go from fresh fish to vacuum packed product or pressure cooked jars.
The first day is spent catching some fish. I prefer to smoke reds but I have also smoked pinks and silvers. Bleed your catch as soon as you land it. Then filet as soon as possible. Leave the skin on it. Refrigerate immediately. Depending on when you start the marinating process can be the same day or the next day.
I use a dry cure. I use this ratio: 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups white sugar, 1 cup kosher salt. Mix this good in a bowl. The cut the salmon in to manageable pieces. (Save the bellies!!!)
Myroadtrips: Smoking Salmon
Once all the fish is cut take a generous handful of the dry cure and cover the flesh side of the fish. Then take a 2nd piece and do the same. Then take the 2 pieces and sandwich the cure sides against each other. Place this in a container, preferable 1 that has a sealable lid. Continue until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. If you cut the fish correctly it will almost cover the entire bottom of the pan.
Then do the same with the next row of fish. Then you should have 2 rows of fish with the cured side flesh touching and the skin touching. Once the pan is full over overnight and refrigerate. Depending on when you begin you can turn the pans over in the refrigerator or iced cooler.
If you don't have the pans then heavy duty ziplock bags will also work. Bags are better if you are doing it at a campsite as the bags fit better in a cooler. Make sure you have plenty of ice.
The cure will draw a huge amount of liquid out of the flesh. It is amazing how much liquid renders out.
I use a marinate to soak the fish. I don't have amounts but its molasses, soy sauce and you can mix in some ginger or ginger root, red pepper flakes or parsley flakes. Mix this up and have it ready for the next step.
The next day drain the filets. Rinse all the cure off the filets. Then rinse the fish in 6-7 batches of fresh, cold water. A good plastic dishpan is good for this. You may want to use a few of them. This ensures that salt is rinsed off of the fish. Pat the pieces dry and set aside.
Cover the fish with marinate and leave overnight. Turn the bags or containers occasionally to ensure the marinate touches as much of it as possible.
The next day drain the fish. Let it air dry in a bug free area. Take some wood pieces and soak in water. I prefer chunks of wood instead of the chips. Just a personal preference. The chunks last longer. Fill the racks and make sure there is room around every piece.
Set up the smoker. Try to put it out of the way of the wind. I use the cardboard box the smoker came in to create a windbreak. Just put the box on the smoker upside down. It also helps retain the heat.
I smoke for several hours. I sort of know by eye when it's done. I really like smoked red salmon bellies the best. If you see people throwing them out see if you can take them off their hands. You can also smoke the bones. Yes ther is a bit of meat on the top of the backbone when you are done fileting. Once it's smoked you can just peel or pick the meat off the bone.
Cool the fish quickly then vacuum pack and freeze or pressure cook. Make sure you write on the package what kind of fish it is and if it's sweet or spicy.
Let me know if you have any questions. I'm sure I left out a step or a hint or 2.