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Butterflied Alaska Salmon with Copper River Barbecue Sa

Monday, 26 May 2008


Created by Bruce Hiebert, owner of eastern Washington’s Patit Creek Restaurant, this mild, celery-based sauce fits Alaska salmon perfectly. It is famous in Cordova, Alaska where it was used by the Copper River

Fishermen’s Co-op at its annual barbecue. A long simmer time gives the sauce its melting flavor and smooth consistency, so start it about two hours before you are ready to grill.


At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
Main Course

For the Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped

  • 1 3/4 cups celery, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups ketchup

  • 1/4 cup vinegar

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste (optional)

For the Salmon:

  • 4 pounds Alaska salmon (king, sockeye, or coho) fillets, butterflied 1-inch thick

  • Canola oil for grill




In a medium (2- to 3-quart) skillet, sauté the onions and celery in the oil until they are translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for up to two hours.

Heat your grill to medium-low, leaving the lid open, and brush the butterflied salmon with canola oil. Place the salmon on the grill and close the lid. Grill the salmon for 5 minutes. Gently flip the salmon with a spatula and baste it generously with the barbecue sauce before closing the grill’s lid. Grill the salmon for 4 minutes, then check for doneness with a fork. If the fish is no longer translucent in the center, remove it from the heat and transfer the cuts to a serving platter. If the fish requires more grilling time, close the grill’s lid and re-check the salmon every 2 minutes until it is done. Serve the cuts with warm barbecue sauce on the side.


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