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Idaho Salmon

(recipe, Zena Chew)

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This recipe comes from Sarah Ankersmit's father. Read more about Ankersmit's family traditions in Zena Chew's story "The unturkey."


  1. 1 salmon, at least 18 inches long, cleaned, gutted, and sliced into two fillets
  2. ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  3. 1 bottle beer (12 ounces); try a lager, such as Kokanee or Dos Equis
  4. 1 big handful brown sugar
  5. 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. Black pepper


  1. Prepare the grill. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm together the butter, beer, brown sugar, garlic and pepper until the sugar melts.
  2. On a baking sheet or other hard carrying surface, unroll a sheet of aluminum foil long and wide enough to serve as a base for the fillets. Poke several holes in the foil so the fish skin will stick to the foil during cooking. Place the fillets, skin side down, on the foil.
  3. Once the grill has reached high heat, slide the foil (with the fillets on top) onto the grill. Baste the fish with the butter-beer sauce every few minutes. After 10 to 12 minutes, check for doneness; remove from heat just before the pink flesh starts to lose its translucence. (Be careful not to overcook the fish.) Slide a spatula between the meat and the skin and lift the fillets onto serving plates.