Mint bright summer or winter steelhead that have not been in freshwater too long are pretty good but really don't compare to spring chinook or Upriver bright fall chinook (URB's). Bright steelhead are comparable to coho, while sockeye are better than either. Bright sockeye and springers are close, but many will give the edge to bright springers over any other samon. Most folks eat their springers fresh and only lightly smoke them if they're going to can up a batch or two. Early summer steelhead have a higher oil content than winter fish as the summers won't be spawning until the following spring which means they can be in river for 7-11 months prior to spawning. Winter fish generally spawn within a month or so of entering the river. So, catch and smoke summer run in June, July or August for the best. Pinks and chum are at the bottom for table quality but can be quite passable if gutted and iced immediately while they're fresh from the saltwater.
Some will question your sanity for smoking springer as the are the best of the best to eat fresh. In fact, eating it raw when thinly sliced and dipped in wasabi mixed with soy sauce is fast becoming more popular. Now that I've acquired the taste I almost think it's a crime to cook springer and tuna. At a minimum, don't overcook it!
Originally Posted by bstandow
I searched the board and could not find the answer to my question.
We live,love,sweat,and love the taste of the spring salmon when they get smoked at Sonnenbergs. So on to the question.
How do the steelheads rate to smoking taste vs. the salmon?