Cookin’ in Camo: Pecan-crusted Sockeye with a Bourbon-citrus Reduction


This dish is inspired by an incredible dining experience I had at Rue Dumaine in Centerville, Ohio last week. Pecans add an awesome contrast in texture while the bourbon brings sweetness and the orange contributes its brightness. Did I mention I get to cook with bourbon? As any cook knows, tasting each and every element often is a necessity. If wading the Alaskan streams is not an option, get to your local fish monger and make this tonight. Fast, easy, and most importantly, tasty!


  • 1 pound sockeye salmon
  • 1/4-cup bourbon (more if you’re like me)
  • 3/4-cup pecan halves
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Juice and zest of a large orange
  • 1/2-teaspoon dried ginger
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/2-teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2-teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Combine bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, orange juice, ½ the orange zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and salmon in a large zip-top bag. Let marinate for thirty minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick. Pulse the pecan halves in a food processor until similar to bread crumb consistency. Pour the crumbs onto a large plate.

Remove the sockeye from the marinade, season the fish with kosher salt and black pepper, and dredge the flesh side of the fish in the pecan crumbs. Place the fish on the sheet tray and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or when the fish is flakes with a fork. Reserve the marinade.

As the fish cooks, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved marinade and bring to boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and reduce by half.

Once the fish is finished hit it with a little more kosher salt, top it with the bourbon reduction and the remaining orange zest. Now to my favorite part, eating. Catch, cook, share, enjoy, and, as always, keep Cookin’ in Camo!

Editor’s note: This recipe is the fifth in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated “forest to fork” hunter and professional chef. Click here to read last week’s recipe, duck bruschetta with orange balsamic vinaigrette.

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