Wild Alaskan King Salmon
Without a doubt, our most popular product is our Alaska Gold King Salmon. Like all of our Alaska Gold salmon, our king salmon is wild and line-caught with care. Our fishermen-owned co-op takes pride in producing the finest quality salmon. Our line-caught king salmon is the pinnacle of quality. Many of our customers are discovering our Ivory King Salmon and our Marbled King Salmon and these are really special, too.
We get a lot of questions about the differences between these 3 wild salmon offers. Note that these are all the same species–king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The main difference between these three offers is the meat color, but we’ll give you some details on the salmon and their tasting notes below. Of all Pacific salmon, king salmon vary the most in meat color. The color of their meat depends on both their diet and genetics.
Red, Marbled and Ivory King Salmon
Our red king salmon (left), marbled king salmon (middle), and ivory king salmon (right) ready to be cooked.
Our Alaska Gold King Salmon or “red king salmon” will be the orange-y pink salmon color you think of with salmon. But our Ivory King Salmon can be nearly as white as halibut. Fishermen and people in the seafood industry tend to call these white king salmon. Our Marbled King Salmon will range in color between white and salmon-y and will also have shades in between and sometimes orange-y stripes. These wild marbled king salmon are rare and a special treat. Like our ivory king salmon, they will be a bit more mild and buttery than our red king salmon.
These salmon are all “graded” at the dock when the fish are landed. Determining which salmon to label as ivory or marbled or red is a subjective endeavor, so there is some variation in coloring in portions. But in general, our ivory king salmon will have a white meat color. Our red king salmon will have a color typical of most salmon you might be familiar with. And our marbled king salmon will be somewhere in between in terms of meat color and sometimes even striped.
Ivory King SalmonIvory King Salmon are rare and we sometimes call them the “fishermen’s favorite.” Roughly, only 5% of king salmon are white king salmon. Certain river systems produce more white king salmon than other rivers. In the old days, fishermen had trouble selling their white king salmon. Many chefs and consumers did not recognize them as salmon because of their white meat color. Because of this fishermen took them home for themselves, which is why we call ivory king salmon the fishermen’s favorite.
Scientists also believe that white king salmon eat less krill (which accounts for the salmon-y color in other salmon). As a substitute, they eat more bait fish like herring and needlefish, perhaps accounting for the richer, oilier taste. Chefs have learned that the flavor of ivory king salmon is truly special because of the higher concentrations of healthy oils that accumulate in the ivory king salmon.
King Salmon Tasting NotesWe got together and dined on our Alaska Gold king salmon. We did a blind taste test with blindfolds. There was consensus that the Ivory King Salmon is the most delicate of the three and most tender. “Silky” is a word that comes to mind with the ivory king salmon. We also agreed that our Marbled King Salmon is a tad fattier or more buttery tasting than the other two offers.
One of our customers who has been getting our red king salmon for years noted: “As for the ivory salmon – it is delicate and mild. By delicate, I mean that the muscle striations were very soft and delicate – so instead of chewing the salmon, it melted in your mouth. Definitely a step towards perfection in the choice of things to eat – goes very well with a good chardonnay.”
That being said, we all enjoyed the marbled king salmon for its buttery flavor. And we all agreed that the red king salmon was excellent, too. Just what one would think of when thinking of the perfect salmon. So, you can’t lose with any of our wild king salmon offerings. Give them a try.