When shopping for fish for the grill or smoker, it good to know about the different types of salmon. Each species has certain qualities that affect its flavor and cooking characteristics.
The oil level in the flesh of the salmon varies from species to species, but the location from which the fish is harvested also has an affect on the quality. Certain rivers contain stocks of salmon that are very high quality.
Pacific salmon is a term that can be used for any one of five species of salmon, all found in the Pacific Ocean. These salmon include chinook, sockeye, coho, pink and chum salmon.
Chinooks are also commonly called King salmon, probably because of the large size they can attain. Kings of nearly 100 pounds have been taken by fisherman, and fish of 20 to 30 pounds are common. This salmon contains the highest oil content of all the Pacific salmons, and the flesh is rich tasting and buttery, and delicate in texture. The flesh is deep red in color.
These are also known as red salmon and bluebacks. This fish also has a high content of oil, and a rich flavor. Many of these fish are exported to Japan. The sockeye also has flesh that's deep red in color, and is somewhat firmer in texture than the Chinook.
Cohos have an oil content that is lower than Kings and sockeyes, but it's still a rich tasting fish. The flesh can be from pale orange to dark red in color, and medium firm in texture. Cohos are commonly called Silvers.
This is the most abundant of the Pacific salmons. The flesh generally contains a low oil content, and is light pink in color. The flavor is not as rich as the more oily salmons. Other names for this fish are humpbacks, or humpies. Pink salmon is usually found in canned form, and is fairly inexpensive.
Chums are known by several different names...Keta salmon and silverbrite salmon are two. These fish have large teeth and a speckled appearance, which is the reason for two more common names. Dog salmon and calico salmon. The flesh of this fish is usually very low in oil content, pale in color, and of a coarse and firm texture.
Atlantic salmon are found wild in the Atlantic ocean, and can be found on the eastern coast of North America and in Europe. This fish is farmed extensively, and has an oily flesh that's mild in flavor.
Types of salmon that are low in oil content are usually lower in
price. When these fish are marinated or seasoned with herbs and spices,
they can be good eating. Knowing a little about the different types of
salmon will help you choose the best cooking method when grilling or