It’s always a challenge to catch a big salmon, but on a recent trip with John Krauthoefer (Firefighter’s Guide Service) I landed a dandy, twenty-pound chrome bright salmon. So, what to do with the catch? I didn’t have to travel far to discover one delicious idea!
Karla Steinhauser likes to say she hasn’t met a salmon that she doesn’t like – to smoke – the old fashioned way. Nearly half a century of experience in the Tillamook County village of Rockaway, Oregon has led her to use alder and vine maple in a smoky fire. Through the years, she has prepared tons of “sushi grade” salmon, sturgeon, cod and albacore tuna with a simple cure of two parts kosher salt and one part of brown sugar.
She cuts the fish into numerous small chunks and places each on racks inside her famous wood smoker. I joined her in the smoking room as she pulled a fresh batch of golden hued salmon and tuna from the mammoth wood smoker that once had a life as a stainless steel crab cooker.
But Karla had a better idea for the piece and thought that if the cooker was turned on end it would make a better smoker. She was right!
She learned her way around a kitchen from her Norwegian grandmother and her business savvy father – Karla’s Smokehouse has been a fixture on the north coast since 1964.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.