A guide to our wild salmon with tasting notes | Alaska Gold Seafood

We offer these tasting notes to the different species of wild Alaskan salmon we sell. It goes without saying that all the seafood we sell is wild caught as finfish farming in Alaska is illegal. Our plant in Sitka, Alaska is busy offloading catch from members of our fishermen-owned co-op.

What makes our Alaska Gold wild salmon special is that our fishermen catch salmon using traditional hook-and-line fishing methods. Fishing with hook and line limits bycatch. It also requires attention to detail. It means that each fish is handled individually—they are bled, gutted and iced within minutes of catch. Our salmon fishery focuses on quality over quantity. As a fishermen-owned co-op we take great pride in producing the finest wild-caught salmon available.

First, it should go without saying that wild salmon is a nutritional powerhouse, truly a superfood. We offer this chart comparing some nutritional facts of the species we sell. 

Wild Salmon Nutrition Facts Chart

Our king salmon portions are our most popular offering. They are a white table cloth fine dining option. As the name suggests, they are luxurious and regal.  Line-caught on the open ocean when their natural oil content, color, and texture are at their peak, our king salmon are handled with care and humble pride by our fishermen one fish at a time. Our king salmon are the gold standard for wild salmon.

We sell several “grades” of king salmon which have different flesh color ranging from the salmon-y orange that most of us think of when we think of salmon to a stark white king salmon, which we call ivory king salmon and is almost as white as halibut.

We offer these detailed tasting notes on the differences between our three king salmon offerings: ivory king, marbled king and red king salmon.

But our friends and neighbors at the Beak restaurant in Sitka, Alaska beautifully summed up an appraisal of these 3 different varieties of king salmon as follows:

Ivory king salmon— melts in your mouth, rich, silky, fatty; almost no stereotypical “salmon” flavor.

Red king salmon— has rich, meaty, luxurious mouth feel, and is not as oily as the white.

Marbled king salmon— more solid flake than the white, but richness comparable to the white.

Our king salmon is our most popular offering, but our coho salmon is a very close second in terms of salmon offerings. Like our king salmon, our coho salmon is also perfect for fine dining. Many of our coho customers believe that you get the most bang for your buck with coho salmon. They describe it as the platonic ideal of what a great salmon fillet should taste like.

When handled with care, as our fishermen do, coho salmon can be just the pinnacle of wild salmon. Our coho salmon is firm but delicate with a clean flavor. Its delicate texture makes an elegant preparation if you poach it. But you can grill or sear it for a lovely meal. It also makes one of the easiest healthy meals there is. Just stick 2 portions in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite veggies and you have a perfect meal for two.

Like our coho salmon our keta salmon is very mild. We offer more on the differences between keta salmon and coho salmon here. With its very mild flavor, keta salmon is almost like a chicken but with the sweet savory flavor of the sea. Since it is so mild, keta salmon is versatile to prepare with your favorite sauces.

Below is a chart with a summary of the salmon species we sell the most of:

Wild Salmon Tasting Notes Chart

An all-around versatile fun way to have our salmon is our Easy Salmon burger meat. When we make salmon portions and fillets, we are left with the backbone of the salmon. There is plenty of good meat on the backbone that we scrape into vacuum-sealed bags for a fun way to make your own salmon burgers. There are no other ingredients—you can add your own seasonings as you like. It’s amazing to see some of the recipes our customers have made with our Easy Salmon burger meat. From burgers to tacos to salmon cakes, casseroles and salmon meatballs, Easy Salmon is an easy way to make salmon fun.

We have no argument against our customers that note that collars are the best part of a salmon. Our king salmon collars are the best of the best. The meat around the collar bone on a salmon and many other fish (see our black cod collars as well) is super rich and luscious. We grill our king salmon collars. Marinade in teriyaki sauce or a miso marinade. Sear on the grill at high heat for roughly four minutes a side. Pick through the meat like you would with chicken wings. (Wings and collars are not that different in presentation—it’s just that the meat on a king salmon collar is a lot more interesting than a chicken wing in our opinion.) After grilling, one thing you can do is save the bones/cartilage from the collars and make a salmon broth for noodles or other soups.

The other great part of salmon are the bellies. Our Smoked King Salmon Bellies are very rich—a decadent indulgence! Thaw for at least 24 hours in your refrigerator and you can keep them in your fridge for about 7 days. Then let get up to room temperature and serve plain or with crackers and fruit. Once again, they are very rich! Our Traditional Smoked King Salmon is the platonic ideal of what smoked king salmon should be like.

It is very rare for us to have sockeye salmon. The salmon we catch are caught on hook and line. And since sockeye salmon are plankton eaters and don’t tend to eat the baitfish that king salmon and coho salmon eat—needlefish, anchovies, herring, mackerel and more—we cannot catch sockeye salmon using the lures that imitate those baitfish. When we do catch sockeye, it’s a special treat because they are handled with care and bled quickly, unlike most sockeye which are caught in nets. We have canned sockeye salmon available from time to time, but don’t hold your breath. Sorry!

Pink salmon is also unusual in the sense that it is caught on hook and line. The vast majority of pink salmon is caught in nets and is typically thought of as a lower quality species. But when caught on hook and line and handled with care by our fishermen, it can make a very mild, light treat.  Our canned pink salmon is perfect for making salmon cakes, salads, or just a delightful sandwich, our canned pink salmon is a go-to special for those who love wild salmon. In addition to being line-caught with attention to quality, what also makes our canned pink salmon is the canning method. Our canner uses an old canner from the 1940s that he maintains using tools that he makes—they don’t make them like they used to. The canner specializes in a slow cook that results in a very nice finished product—perfectly cooked salmon with a few grains of salt and that’s it.

This canning method also is true of our canned king salmon and canned ivory king salmon, which are our luscious king salmon and ivory king salmon (described above) in a can. You cannot lose with these because they are so convenient to take with you on the road or to the office and make a quick sandwich or snack.

All of our wild salmon is caught by members of our fishermen-owned co-op. We take great pride in delivering you the highest quality salmon there is.