Chowhound fldhkybnva loves king salmon (also known as Chinook or spring salmon), but has never tried the variety known as sockeye. What are the differences? And which, if either, is better? Fellow ‘hounds waded in with answers.
According to ipsedixit, king salmon is generally fattier than sockeye, and a bit less firm and meaty. Think of king as a well-marbled rib-eye steak, while sockeye is more like sirloin. They’re equally good, just depends on your taste and mood. For instance, pinehurst prefers the oilier taste of king, and mcf finds sockeye too lean and muscly.
One difference, notes Puffin3 (who prefers coho over both king and sockeye), is how the two varieties are caught. Sockeye are net caught, which means they can’t be cleaned before lactic acid builds up in the flesh (some say it spoils the taste). Coho and king salmon are both line caught, which allows for immediate cleaning (though fattier king salmon are still too strong for Puffin3).
Other ‘hounds think Copper River Sockeye is the best there is, despite its short season, limited availability, and premium price. Starting in mid-May, during the few weeks of the year when wild Copper River Sockeye is available fresh (not frozen), Veggo is one Chowhound who loads up.
Photo still from CHOW’s How to Make the Easiest Baked Salmon video