2.5-3 lb Salmon, skin on and cut about 4" strips crosswise
1 Qrt Water
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Kosher Salt
1/2 C Great River Maple Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup
1 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Mix brine ingredients till completely dissolved. Put salmon in zip-lock bag and pour in brine. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Drain brine and pat salmon dry, continue to dry salmon in refrigerator for another 4-6 hours or overnight so as to form a pellicle (sticky layer on the outside which helps absorb smoke).
Once pellicle is formed brush each fillet with Great River Maple Bourbon aged syrup and then freshly crack black pepper on top.
Preheat smoker to 170' F. Place salmon fillets on the grate, skin side down. Smoke with apple or pecan wood until the fillet reaches 145' (about 4-6 hours). At about 3 hours in drizzle more bourbon aged syrup over the fillets (do not brush on as it will remove the cracked black pepper).
This recipe won 1st Place at the Iowa State Fair 2019 in the Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup Category.