Salmon on Ice

How to Choose Salmon at the Grocery Store

How to Choose Salmon at the Grocery Store

Salmon. There are just so many choices. When you hit the seafood cold case, depending on the season you could see Coho, King, Sockeye, Keta, Atlantic and they all seem to have alternative names. King Salmon is also called Chinook. Copper River Salmon can be more than one species. Here is a quick, over-simplified guide to decoding what’s on ice at your local fish market.

The Copper River wild salmon season starts out with a big media bang when the Copper River Salmon start running. The Copper River flows 300 miles through Alaska and empties into the Prince William Sound at the town of Cordova. This is where the salmon run originates. Copper River salmon can be any of the following species: King, Sockeye, and Coho. The king kicks off the salmon season, sockeye maintains the middle, and the end of the season is for the Coho.

Finding the Best Salmon

Whole Fish -

Take a good look at the eyes- they should be clear and bright, not sunken or cloudy. The gills should be a deep red and the skin shiny and slippery to the touch. When you pick up the fish it should feel firm, not floppy.


Salmon Fillet -

Give it a poke! Press the fillet with your finger- the flesh should spring back, not leave your fingerprint in it. The flesh should have a bright orange-red hue with nice marbling and there shouldn't be any low tide-type smells.

Grilling Planks for Salmon
*The best way to prepare this fresh salmon is on a grilling plank. Browse our selection of Cedar Grilling Planks here! Whether you want to grill an entire salmon fillet, or single servings, we carry a wide variety of plank sizes to fit your needs.

Understanding Salmon Species

King Salmon -

Market Names: Chinook salmon, King salmon, Spring salmon, Tyee salmon, Blackmouth salmon Primary
Source: Alaska, Oregon, California
Season: California, Oregon & Washington troll: April—Sept. Alaska: May—August, winter troll: October—April
Flavor Profile: King salmon have the highest oil content of all five species of wild salmon

* Kings are the largest of the salmon family and require plenty of plank space. You'll want to use our X-Large grilling planks.

Sockeye -

Market Names: Sockeye, Red Salmon, Blueback Salmon
Primary Source: Alaska, B.C., Washington
Season: May - August
Flavor Profile: High oil content and a stunning bright-red flesh color

Coho -

Market Names: Silver salmon. Silver bullets , Coho
Primary Source: Alaska, B.C., Washington
Season: July-October
Flavor Profile: Coho salmon have a bright red color flesh and is right in the middle on the salmon scale of oil content

Pink -

Market Names: Pink Salmon, Humpies
Primary Source: Alaska, B.C., Washington
Season: July-September
Flavor Profile: Pinks have the lowest oil content of the five Pacific salmon species, and a more delicate, trout-like flavor

Chum -

Market Names: Chum salmon, Fall salmon, Keta salmon, Dog Salmon, Silverbright
Primary Source: Alaska, B.C., Washington
Season: May - November
Flavor Profile: Of the five salmon species, chum is a comparatively paler-fleshed fish, with a lower oil content

Steelhead -

Market Names: Rainbow trout, golden trout
Primary Source: Idaho and Washington
Season: Year-round
Flavor Profile: Trout has a delicate flavor that benefits from milder ingredients

Atlantic Salmon -

Market Names: Atlantic salmon is usually identified by country of origin e.g., Norwegian salmon, Chilean salmon, Scottish salmon
Primary Source: Chile, Canada, Norway, Washington state and Maine Season: Year-round
Flavor Profile: Relatively high in oil content, Atlantic salmon is very adaptable to a variety of cooking methods

Great! Now that we have identified different types of salmon, read here about How to Grill Perfect Planked Salmon!

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