Yesterday’s Friday night dinner included smoked salmon, shrimp, and a garden salad. This was the first time I’ve cooked both salmon and shrimp skewers using Meat Church BBQ’s All Purpose Rub. Here’s a summary of my cook notes and lessons learned.
When cooking fish and seafood, I think it’s best to cook at a high temperature: 400 degrees is perfect. “Normally” I’ve cooked skewers of shrimp over charcoal, but last night I didn’t want to fire up my Weber Kettle, I just wanted to cook everything on my RecTeq RT-700 Bull pellet smoker.
Step 1 was defrosting the frozen shrimp. I probably need to be seeking and finding higher quality seafood, but last night we ate WalMart Neighborhood Market shrimp and salmon. I put the shrimp in my strainer, put it in a large bowl, and let it steep for about 10 minutes in cool water in the sink. All defrosted! I put the shrimp on my skewers, passing the skewer through each shrimp TWICE, to hold them firmly in place. I brushed a little olive oil on as a binder, and sprinkled (at a 12 to 18 inch distance for coverage) with Meat Church BBQ’s All Purpose Rub.
I haven’t been posting my cook logs here on food.wesfryer.com very long, so I didn’t have a fast and easy way to look up my own cooking notes. (Full disclosure: I’m posting this in large part for my own reference for future cooks, was well as to share with you and others.) I find Facebook more challenging that it should be to search for old posts, and my “Cook with Wes” Facebook page has been, in the past, where I’ve shared cooking notes. So, I actually started my cook last night at 350 degrees instead of 400. That’s a lesson learned: Grill your seafood outside at 400 degrees!
Step 2 was seasoning my salmon. Instead of purchasing a large single salmon fillet (about $22 now at WalMart for Atlantic farmed) I purchased two smaller packages, which each have two pieces in them, for about $7 each.
I prepared these just like the shrimp: Used olive oil as a binder and Meat Church Gospel.
I’ll share a few things about Matt and “Meat Church.” Meat Church BBQ is one of my favorite YouTube channels I’ve enjoyed watching the past few months. Unlike some larger YouTube barbecue channels, Matt doesn’t have a restraunt, but does sell his own rubs and sauces out of his shop in Waxahachie, Texas. His main website is meatchurch.com. I love using YouTube playlists, and you’ll find many of Matt’s Meat Church videos in my “Smoking Meat” YouTube playlist and maybe some in my “Cooking” playlist too.
Even though I’ve been watching Matt’s videos for awhile, I hadn’t purchased any of his rubs until about a week ago. I bought “The Gospel” at our local True Value Hardware Store, Norick’s, which is about 3 minutes from our house in northwest Oklahoma City. I LOVE having a local store like Norick’s which has a great selection of smoker pellets, BBQ rubs and accessories. Online ordering is great, but it’s also good to ‘lay hands’ on products yourself when deciding what to buy.
Back to the cook.
I cooked the about eight minutes on the pellet smoker at 350 degrees. Had I cooked at 400 degrees, I probably would have just had them on about 5-6 minutes. Recommendations for internal temperature for the ideal grilled shrimp vary from 120 degrees to 145 degrees. Mine were about 140 degrees. My $15 ThermoPro TP03 thermometer continues to be my constant companion and safety monitor as a backyard barbecue chef, and I absolutely recommend (without any reservation what-so-ever) that you HAVE to have a reliable instant thermometer to cook meat outside on your grill or smoker!
We enjoyed these shrimp as an appetizer as I put the salmon on the smoker, with a little cocktail sauce. I used tongs to push them all off the skewers into a small bowl, and we dug in. Delicious!
I love cooking salmon (and a few other foods that might break apart if I just placed them directly on the smoker grates) on my “Kona Best Grill Mat,” which is $22 now on Amazon. If you want to grill salmon, I think a grill mat like this is also essential equipment.
I don’t think it’s nearly as important to let cooked fish (including salmon) to “rest” like you should with beef. Please correct me if you think differently or have other experiences. I took the cooked salmon off the smoker using a metal hamburger spatula, putting the entire mat (with the salmon on it) onto a cookie sheet. When I got inside, I transferred the salmon over onto a wire rack over foil, and then served the pieces onto our plates.
So, that was last night’s salmon and shrimp cook! Shelly made a terrific garden salad, and it was wonderful to share this meal together with Rachel at the kitchen table! Since it’s her senior year and she’s been SUPER busy, these moments have been fewer and far-between compared to the past. It’s great to spend family time together over good and HEALTHY meals like this!