Our Man In Canada
July 11th, 2005

Food for Thought
A treat for those hot days on the bank
By Chris Chin

As some of you have noticed (and more than a few have mentioned),...a significant part of any outing on the river for me and my family is FOOD!

After some questions from RW and some prompting by "Z" ...both in the chat room the other night, ...I decided to share with you all one of the "Specialities of the House."

Smoked Salmon Bits 'n Bites.

Ever find on those hot 'n humid days, you just aren't up to preparing and cooking a shore lunch? It's easy to skip a meal by accident,...but then... the energy level drops fast and you couldn't cast a tight loop if your life depended upon it.

I usually prepare lunch on the spot. If you're like me, the thought of smashed and soggy sandwiches just doesn't appeal to me (especially after eating 'em half frozen for 25 years in the bush country of Western Canada while doing forestry exploration work).

Today,...lunch is a time to relax with friends, ...not a biological obligation.

Preparing lunch for a few "new" friends - Pool #8 Ste-Marguerite Rv

Even when it's too hot for a "real meal" I like to load up on a balance of protein, carbohydrates, some vitamins and minerals and fibre.

A nice change from the old standby of Chicken pot pie 'n beans is a mix of finger food I like to call Smoked Salmon Bits 'n Bites.

I'll explain first off,...the menu,...then get into our preparation for smoked salmon (in case you're inclined to make some for yourself).

To have a nice, easy to present meal, I'll cut and slice the ingredients the night before and store them all in separate plastic serving containers in the 'fridge. I keep everything cool on the river either in the electric cooler in the Explorer or with ice packs in another cooler on the beach.

The menu is:

    1-2 fresh bagels per person, sliced then cut up into bite sized chunks.

    ¼ lb of smoked salmon per person (not lox, I like warm smoked salmon, not cold smoked).

    2-3 tomatoes - sliced.

    Cream cheese.

    Slices of Swiss cheese or some other "hard" cheese.

    Maybe some sliced ham.

    Maybe some slices of lettuce.

    Hot Mustard.


    Salt 'n pepper in shakers.

    A Caesar Salad on the side goes well too.

That's it...River side, I simply lay out the containers. Then friends, family and clients can pick and choose in the shade, sipping a soda (or something). The bagels are a good source of complex carbs,...cheese and salmon for protein and fat, fiber from the bagels and lettuce and a few vitamins and minerals from the tomatoes.

Even if you're not too hungry around lunch because it's too warm out,...just thinking about the snack all morning long will get most anglers to dig in for a few bites.

Smoked salmon vs BBQ'd salmon.

After looking around a bit, I figured that I don't do "real" smoked salmon. I guess I'd call Smoked Salmon that cold smoked stuff that takes days and days to "cook" in a cold smoke setup. I believe this would be similar in texture and taste as Salmon Lox.

I like my salmon and trout to have a more firm "cooked" texture, so I use a water smoker (a "real" barbeque will do too (as opposed to a propane Grill)).

I use a smoker similar to this one

I'll prepare salmon or trout fillets, de-boned and skinned. Many will leave the skin on, but I like to get more marinade and flavour into the meat so I slip it off with a good filleting knife.

My smoker is only about 20 inches in diameter, so I usually cut the fillets into manageable sized pieces and marinate them overnight in:

    2 cups (cheap) Soya sauce

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    2 table spoons Worcestershire sauce

    1 table spoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

The next morning I put 8 lbs of BBQ briquettes into the smoker. To keep the heat down, I start her up with cold water in the basin (which sits OVER the fire).

I don't wipe down the fillets like my Mom told me to do as I like the fillets to keep some "sweet" on 'em. The thicker pieces go on the bottom rack, ...thinner "tail sections" go up top.

To make smoke I found these neat pellets sold by the Jack Daniel's gang, made from the used barrels at the distillery. These go into a foil pouch and then right on top of the briquettes.

I'll smoke the meat for about 6-10 hours. Not too hot,...If you can't touch the top 1/3 of the walls of the smoker, or the lid,...add cold water to the basin.

The fish is ready when it is cooked through and can be pulled apart (a tad dry for some, ...but we like it that way).

This meat will keep for a while in the 'fridge or can be frozen no problem. As there is less humidity in the meat, the freezing doesn't break down the "texture" too much.

For a treat, we'll also put some in a "Mason" jar in vegetable oil, garlic cloves, capers, salt, pepper and half an onion. Let it sit for a few weeks in the 'fridge and serve it with soda crackers.

Some of the same treatment goes to deer flank steaks, walleye fillets, bacon and some extra old cheddar. All a nice snack on a warm summer day.

Next time you drive by my home waters and see a bunch of anglers (and Wardens and Guides) all hunched around a small table,...stop by for a bite.

Tight lines and bonne appetite). ~ Christopher Chin – Jonquiere Quebec

About Chris:

Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops, British Columbia. He has been fly fishing on and off ever since he was 10 years old. Chris became serious about the sport within the last 10 years.

"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in central Quebec. I've been fishing this river for about 10 years now and started guiding about 5 years ago when the local guide's association sort of stopped functioning."

Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon. "I often don't even charge service fees, as I'm more interested in promoting the river than making cash. I like to get new comers to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around here makes some of the old clan see Salmon fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack Daniel's."

Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend, Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent started fly fishing with me last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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