In which some things are pretty tasty, and other things are just pretty

Willy had his first experience with a salmon barbeque the other day. Of course, we eat salmon a lot at home, but there's a lot more going on in the cooking of several hundred fish on the same day....

I had to explain that this barbeque was a "white guy" salmon barbeque, which is not quite the same cooking as "powwow" salmon barbeques we will encounter later in the summer. There are a couple of significant differences:

1. White guys build a barbeque pit above the ground. This one, at a local park, was built from cinderblocks, a common white guy barbeque building material. It will last for 5-10 years without needing any significant maintenance unless somebody drives over it with an industrial lawnmower (yup, seen that happen....a little embarrassing for the lawnmower driver, but quite amusing for bystanders).

Powwow barbeque pits are below the ground, and closely resemble a double-wide grave: about 4-6 feet deep, with lovely coals at the bottom.

White guy barbeques and powwow barbeques both rely on alder wood for fuel. Nothing cooks salmon better than dry, fragrant alder coals and alder smoke.

BTW, those pricey alder planks sold to gourmets for plank-roasting salmon create a lovely-tasting fish, but it isn't actually "traditional." If you want real traditional, you want powwow-style fish as I'm describing, or else you can toast your fillet over a fire using an alder branch (same technique as roasting a hotdog) for a similar flavor.

Also, for crying out loud, if you really want to plank-roast a nice chunk of fish, just go get a board of alder at the lumberyard instead of paying $25 for 4 scrawny chunks of the stuff. Sheesh.

2. White guys buy the grill at a place like Home Depot. Powwow grills are usually made from rebar, woven or welded in somebody's garage. It's a little rougher in appearance, but does a fine job of keeping fish from falling into the fire, which is the important thing.

3. White guys have these little metal "hats" for the fish. Powwow grills are further from the fire, so the fish can bask naked without getting over- or under-cooked.

Both types of fish-cooking uses fresh or fresh-frozen salmon. Fresh is best, but if you've got some really nice-quality fish that was frozen at sea and kept frozen, it's just fine.

Doesn't that look tasty?

4. White guys serve salmon with garlic bread, beans, and Costco salad. Lots of garlic, yummm. The beans had sausage in them, which is kind of unusual--usually it's just beans from a can.

Powwow barbeque comes with frybread and roasted corn-on-the-cob, plus sometimes beans.
Since I have to avoid sugar, frybread is technically "out-of-bounds" for me, but I usually have a bite or two because it is so wonderful. I like mine with butter and no sugar, but lots of people put butter and sugar and cinnamon on frybread.

Either way, Willy thought it was pretty good (he had two chunks of salmon, the chefs were very flattered).

Elsewhere on the farm, the apples are growing....

and the flowers are blooming.

Life is good.


  1. That sure looks good - I wish you could teleport - or blogasize (?) some and send it in my direction.

  2. YUM. I bet that salmon is to die for!

  3. yah, I went back for a refill on salmon, it was really good.

    Those nice Roterians didn't realize they'd sold a meal ticket to a seagull like me, able to eat my own weight in fish (every day)!

  4. I love the information you post on things I NEVER knew before!!! I would like to go the pow wow route, although I wouldn't reject the "white guy" way either!!! LOVE salmon, but have never had it smoked BBQ'd with alder!!! Cool post!
    Did you get the email about San Antonio I sent???


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