The Hottest {Smoked} Salmon Around

August 5, 2013

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This post is brought to you by Oak River Salmon.

Just a few weeks ago I had a hot smoked salmon sandwich. It was my first time tasting hot smoked salmon, which is flakey and moist compared to the lox that most of us are used to. Salmon – particularly wild smoked salmon – is one of my very favorite foods!

Recently a father and son team, Martin Jr. and Martin III, emailed me about their Kickstarter campaign to bring the back porch smoked salmon they have been making for 20 years to the commercial market. They sent me a sample of their Oak River Salmon to try and share with you.

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If you love salmon, there is no way this won’t become your go-to party salmon. The Martins say it best themselves:

“Not too salty, not too smoky, not too fishy and not too dry are a winning combination.”

I enjoyed part of a filet over mixed greens for lunch one day topped with some of the amazing dilly lemon caper mustard Martin sent in my package -

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I found the filet to be perfectly flakey with lots of smoke flavor, which is one of my favorite trends right now. (Smoked beers, Liquid Smoke, smoked paprika -  yum!) It’s definitely not too fishy and delivered all of the salmony taste that sockeye promises. I love that they use wild salmon, too. Martin III has worked for the National Park Service in Alaska and sustainable fishing is important to the two of them.

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The next day I served it with a local goat cheese and capers on toast -

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If the Kickstarter is funded, Oak River Salmon will be available nationally and shipping will be as affordable as possible for a freshly prepared product on ice, likely $15-20 for the East Coast and slightly higher for the West.

The Martins are doing everything right: they are devoted to reducing and recycling as much as possible and have developed a way to have the dry ice containers shipped back to them with a prepaid label. I simply put the label back on my box and dropped it off at UPS.

“Another part of our plan is to ask all our backers and future customers to send back the shipping container and gel packs so that we can reuse them for another shipment.  We will include a postage-paid label to make it easy, and we will give a discount on future orders to those who help us reduce our impact on the environment.”

Their Kickstarter campaign will enable them to start a smokehouse in line with all of the rules and regulations around commercially smoking the salmon and ensuring food safety is top priority.

And if you back with just $25 you get this awesome T-shirt. Love it!!

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I pledged a donation through Kickstarter to these guys for their efforts to make a gourmet food in the best way. If you’d like to support them as well, you can do so here.

If you’d like to try out Oak River Salmon yourself, here’s a giveaway! The winner gets a few hot smoked sockeye salmon filets and a jar of dilly mustard to go with them : )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mazen says two thumbs up!

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This post was brought to you by Oak River Salmon.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali @ Peaches and Football August 5, 2013 at 8:30 am

Way to go getting Mazen going on healthy food right away! Salmon always looks so pretty plated but I’ve never been a fish fan. :( Boo! I know it’s super healthy and keep hoping my tastes will change as I get older. :)

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2 Christine@ Apple of My Eye August 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

Yum! Salmon is definitely one of my favorite foods too (I’m half Norwegian, so it’s in my blood ;)).

Great giveaway!

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3 Lindsey @ The Next Course August 5, 2013 at 9:11 am

What a cool company! Thanks for sharing them with us :-)

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4 Claire August 5, 2013 at 9:12 am

Looks great, but what’s up with the fork and knife in the last photo?

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5 KathEats August 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

crazy! Looks like something went wrong in the editing process

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6 Cindy August 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

Do you photoshop your food pics?!

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7 KathEats August 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

I edit all of my pictures in Lightroom!

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8 aisling August 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

I think they mean why are the knife and fork on the wrong side of the plate and why is the knife turned the wrong way.

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9 KathEats August 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

I updated the photo

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10 Carly @ Snack Therapy August 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

Okay, so I always claim to hate salmon, but the truth is, I’ve never even tried it. I don’t really like seafood, so I don’t know if it’d be my cup of tea, but I should probably taste it before proclaiming my hate for it.

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11 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon August 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

This salmon looks amazing. I would love to learn the smoking process myself- what a cool thing they have been doing together as father and son!

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12 Karen August 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

What a win-win initiative…all the best to these guys! And, I love that you partnered with them to help spread the word!

Have a great week Kath and Mazen!

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13 Lauren @ The Highlands Life August 5, 2013 at 9:56 am

Mazen makes anything look worth getting!!

I love salmon so much. I definitely need to make an effort to put it on our dinner table more often.

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14 Nicole August 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

The knife!

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15 Kathleen August 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

It’s a tool in photoshop called “heal”. It’s typically used to hide imperfections in photos (maybe a food crumb or piece of lint on a shirt, etc.). I’m guessing/assuming it was an accidental click on Kath’s part while the file was open on her computer (heal is a one click tool).

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16 KathEats August 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I know it as “spot removal” in Lightroom, and removing a water spot was exactly what I was doing. I must have synced this photo with another and not realized the spot circle carried through.

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17 Jamelia August 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Kath Eats Photoshopped Food? I hope it’s as nutritionally sound as Real Food. ;^}

Kidding aside, I am genuinely curious as to why food pictures would need to be tweaked beyond adjusting contrast or white balance or something like that.

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18 KathEats August 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Crumb removal happens more than you think! I also don’t use Photoshop – Lightroom! It’s been no secret that my photos are edited, and I don’t know of any food bloggers who don’t edit their photos. I have a whole post on it here.

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19 Jamelia August 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Ah, editing out crumbs. That makes sense.

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20 natasha August 5, 2013 at 10:48 am

salmon and asparagus is my toddler’s favorite meal!

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21 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 5, 2013 at 11:29 am

YUM! I absolutely love hot smoked salmon, there is just no other way! Cold smoked does not even compare

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22 emily August 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

Yum! I can’t get into cold smoked fish (the slime factor is too much for me) but I love it this way. Trader Joe’s has a smoked trout can that became my favorite food the other day.

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23 Anna @ Fitness à la Anna August 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Salmon is my all-time fav meal – I will def try this out soon!!

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24 Sue Doenims August 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The best way to support this is to “SUPPORT” this… Head over to kickstarter and put some monetary momentum behind this great project. This stuff looks delicious and we need more great small business innovations. I pledged my support and can’t wait for my first shipment :)

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25 Crystal @ Simply Playful Fare August 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

This looks wonderful! I love smoked salmon. What a great idea to add capers and goat cheese.

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26 Amanda August 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm

YUM. We just bought some smoked salmon at the Farmer’s Market this weekend. We had it for dinner last night, on onion bagels with whipped chive cream cheese & red onion. Sooo good… I bet with goat cheese it’s even more delicious! Hats off to that company for being conscious of making good choices & not just the bottom line.

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27 Maria Tadic August 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I love smoked salmon like this! There’s a little shop in a DC foodie market that sells salmon similar to this. They make a sandwich with the salmon, sliced avocado, red onion and some typa of sauce on sunflower flax bread. Holy moly it’s to die for!

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28 Tonya August 6, 2013 at 8:04 am

um, dc area here–please share where I can find this! :-)

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29 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner August 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Crazy–I just bought a magnet of that “If you must smoke” sign in Alaska! And I’ve been devouring that mustard a jar a week on salmon burgers or right out of the jar with pretzels. I bet it’s awesome on that smoked salmon. Yum.

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30 mary @ minutes per mile August 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm

just backed them on kickstarter! thanks for sharing, they sound like an awesome company and i’d love to order from them in the future. good luck guys!

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31 Melissa August 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Mazen looks adorable!

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32 Kori August 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I pledged $25 and asked for the reward t-shirt. Will they be emailing backers directly to ask about the shirt size and whether one wants it smoked or not? Great post, and thank you for informing us of this product, Kath!

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33 KathEats August 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I’m not sure about the shirt size, but my guess is an email. And if the campaign is backed!

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34 Kori August 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Okay sounds great, thank you!

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35 Martin, Jr. (Oak River Salmon) August 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Yes, if the campaign is successful, then backers will be sent a survey to get the shirt size.

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36 Kim August 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Kickstarter sure is a popular site! This is the second campaign I’ve randomly seen in a week!

The salmon looks delicious and I hope they can get fully funded. Sounds like they have a great sustainability plan!

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37 liz August 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

trader joes has a yummy hot smoked salmon, can’t wait to try this one

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38 Kitty A. August 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

It sounds delicious! This Scandinavian girl looooves salmon. A few things about salmon…

1. The term “lox” only refers to salmon that has been cured, not cold or hot smoked.

2. Both hot and cold smoked salmon are typically cured before smoking.

3. Hot smoking typically ‘cooks’ the salmon making it less moist, and firmer, with a less delicate taste. (This prevents the sliminess that some people don’t care for.)

There is no good or bad among these three ways of preparing salmon. It probably comes down to personal preference. I admire sustainability, but I am concerned about the environmental impact of having salmon shipped hundreds, even thousands of miles. Have you ever read “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” Barbara Kingsolver’s book about eating local foods? So interesting!

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39 Martin, Jr. (Oak River Salmon) August 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Re #3: without revealing the proprietary details of our hot smoking process, our product is NOT that much less moist than cold smoked salmon. It took me approx 4 years to perfect my recipe for it, and that is one of the reasons why people love our product — it is very moist compared to every other hot smoked salmon product that I have tasted in my market research.

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40 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! August 5, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Nothing better than smoked salmon and capers. Perfect combo!

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41 Holly M August 6, 2013 at 12:27 am

Salmon looks awesome. I always buy wild salmon. Smoked paprika is the way to go. Love it on all seafood. Particularly calamari. Love this :)

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42 Mom August 6, 2013 at 6:42 am

Love salmon and capers! Good luck to Oak River. Glad they’ve got Maze approval.

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43 Martin, Jr. (Oak River Salmon) August 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Several posters have commented on not liking fish. Over the last 20 years, we have converted a number of people who said they didn’t like fish at all into loving one type of fish — our smoked salmon!

Several posters have said that they love a particular hot smoked salmon product they have tried. I will unabashedly say that you have NEVER tasted a hot smoked salmon product like ours. You ask, what’s the difference? The major difference is that every other hot smoked salmon product uses a vacuum packaging that REQUIRES an extreme salt content. We have chosen to use a slightly more expensive packaging system that allows us to keep my recipe, which has less than half the salt content of other products. So, our brine accentuates the salmon, rather than hiding it. And, because of the proprietary way I have developed to smoke it, it remains very, very moist.

The upshot, if you don’t like fish (or think you don’t), chances are good you will like this. AND, if you like other hot smoked salmon, you will LOVE ours!

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44 Erin August 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Kath -

I actually had the opportunity to meet up with Martin today to pick up the smoked salmon (wonder of wonders, we happen to not live very far apart – how’s that for convenient!?) – and I also have nothing but rave reviews of it!
I absolutely love fish and this one was no exception – it was moist and flavorful without being too pungent. In fact, my non-seafood loving husband ate more of it than I did tonight and requested that I thaw some more out for later this week.

I had the opportunity to chat with Martin a bit the past few days and you can really tell he has a passion for what he does and it certainly shows. We would love to see his campaign fully funded so we can keep track of him and hope the business grows. This is a great product produced by wonderful people who clearly know what they’re doing and love every step of it.

Thanks for hosting the giveaway, I would otherwise not have known about these guys and now I’m a huge fan!

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45 KathEats August 11, 2013 at 8:55 am

So fun! Thanks for chiming in : )

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46 Martin, Jr. (Oak River Salmon) August 12, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hi everyone! We are entering the crunch hours in the Kickstarter campaign!

It would not take even 250 people pledging at the $75 level to put us over the goal!

We (the Martins) want to show their appreciation to those who back the project: anyone who shares the secret code KERF upon receiving the “thank you for backing” email at the end of the campaign will get a discount on salmon purchases for the first year of business:

For backers at the $75 level, it would be a 5% discount; at the $140 level, a 10% discount; at the $270 level, a 15% discount; and at the $500 level, a 20% discount.

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