The Grillin’ Fools families journey annually to Michigan for vacation. A very important part of the vacation involves chasing salmon around the cold, deep waters of Lake Michigan and of course grilling that wonderful fish. This year Grillin’ Fool Tom and crew hijacked (not really) a charter boat to learn what goes on in salmon-nation before embarking out to the deep in their own dingy. This is a chronicle of the day on the charter as well as pretty cool trick for grilling salmon using a brown paper bag.
The day began early with 10-mile ride to an area determined by the ship’s captain to be a prime location for some big salmon.
Fish on at dawn!!
Scott George (not Grillin’ Fool Scott but a friend) must have a big one on the line. A 45 minute battle has begun. Who will win? Fish or man?
Grillin’ Fool Tom readies the net!
Friend Brian casually observes Captain Frank securing our meal.
Scott George with his prize:
Tom scours the water for another salmon for the grill.
Captain Frank comes to the aid of Tom, aka Big Green Eggspert, who has a scrappy one on the line.
Scott George, Tom, and Brad having a smooth return ride.
When Tom returned he was showing Greg all the photos taken on the cruise and he was especially proud of his composition of this one with the lighthouse in the background…guess he earned his stripes.
Here’s the motley crew with the catch of the day.
With the 3-chord progression played by The Troggs ringing in our ears Captain Frank prepares to clean the catch or is there something crazy about him?
Grillin’ Fool Tom filets a salmon for the grill then slices another into chunks.
Now it is time to head back to the cabins, grab a cold one, and stoke up the dueling travel charcoal grills:
Captains Frank and Elaine Pierce, yes they’re both licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captains, showed Grillin’ Fools Tom and Greg a new way to brown bag it… on the grill:
Place a skin-on, soon to be grilled salmon, filet on a paper grocery sack, skin side down, then trim around the filet leaving a border of a half inch or what we call brown bag salmon.
Simple treatment for the brown bag salmon, massage olive oil into the meat side of the salmon, dust with your favorite seasoning, we used a Jamaican seasoning on half and a commercial bbq rub on the other half:
Fish on!!! The grill that is! We’re grilling the brown bag salmon over direct heat. Will the brown bag burst into flames before we get some tasty grilled salmon??
Here’s a close-up of the skin curling and the juice from grilled salmon combining with the oil and beginning to bubble. It’s getting close to dinnertime now.
Here’s another close-up showing the pin bones that can/should be removed prior to grilling.
The grilled salmon is ready after 8-10 minutes on the grill, depending on the size of the salmon. This was a small fish but it was grilled till flaky and it was indeed tasty.
The reason for this grilling method is to provide an easy, foolproof way to remove the skin after grilling while maintaining high moisture content in the salmon. The grilled salmon was picked up by the tail, laid bag side up, then the brown bag simply peeled away with a juicy salmon filet remaining.
Here’s the nasty skin stuck to the brown bag.
The following year, Grillin’ Fool Scott went out on the Wild Thing II and caught this beauty:
And in 2021, my oldest son went on his first excursion out on Lake Michigan:
The catch of the day in 2021 was this 40 inch MONSTER: