We call our dried salmon 'Be’h'. This is a very traditional way of preparation that our mother Rita George taught all of my brothers and sisters. It is the way our people have preserved our salmon for generations. The process isn't necessarily easy, but certainly worth it.
- Whole wild pacific salmon (ideally sockeye), 7-10 lbs. Heads on and cleaned.
- Salt and pepper
- Season cleaned salmon inside and out with salt and pepper
- Hang salmon on sticks in smoke house under a cold smoke (no flame or heat)
- Let hang for a day and a half
- Remove salmon from sticks
- Working from the inside of the fish, starting at the head, cut along the back bone with a sharp knife. Follow the back bone to the tail. Repeat process on other side.
- Remove rib bones from fish
- To cut strips: Use a sharp knife to cut the fish at an angle ensuring not to cut all the way through the salmon. Leave about a 1/4 to 1/8 inch of flesh on the skin.
- Return salmon to racks in smoke house (cold smoke only) for an additional 24 hours for half dried, and 48 hours for fully dried salmon.
Andrew George is an acclaimed chef dedicated to promoting healthy Indigenous food and its presence in mainstream cuisine. He has been a chef in top restaurants and resorts across the country and has mentored youth in many kitchens, most notably at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Andrew is the co-author of Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native People's Cuisine and Modern Native Feasts. Andrew is all about healthy, innovative and sustainable cuisine.