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Know Your Fish and Get Grilling!


We love dining on fresh selections of seafood, but it’s even better when you have some knowledge on what you’re dining on. As the o-fish-ial midpoint of the salmon season, we’re sharing our best kept sea-crets on how to classify and remember the fish you’re enjoying, and even sharing a quick, seasonal salmon recipe to make at home!

If you’re feeling fishy and ready to become an expert on all things salmon, we’re here to help!

Knowing how to decipher between the different types of salmon out there is important, as the location and species result in the different tastes of each (but we think all are fin-tastic).

Which Fish are You?

Two big things determine what salmon tastes like: where it comes from (denoted by a location, usually the name of a river) and what species it is.

PINK salmon, aka Humpback salmon, has pink flesh (surprise!). It’s often used for canning; Ivar’s doesn’t serve pink very often.

SILVER salmon, aka Coho, has pink-orange flesh with a flavor that’s much lighter than that of both King and Sockeye. Coho’s weigh from 7 to 12 pounds and freeze very well compared to other species.

KING salmon, aka Chinook, is known for its high fat content and rich taste. It has a dark orange color, and the fish itself is usually quite large (up to 50 pounds) hence the name. Because this is the least common of the salmon species, it’s also often the most expensive.

SOCKEYE salmon, aka Reds, have a deep red-orange flesh. They are often smaller fish, averaging 6 to 8 pounds, and have a distinct rich flavor. 

CHUM salmon, aka Keta, also has pink-orange flesh and a lighter flavor, and weighs 7 to 12 pounds on average. Because Chum aren’t usually high in oil, they’re best in preparations that bring out other flavors, like fish-and-chips or smoked salmon dishes.


A Handy Chart!

If remembering the five types of Northwest salmon proves difficult, #KeepClam because our Director of Training Patrick Yearout developed a “handy” way to do so. With his trick, you’ll know the five kinds of salmon like the back of your hand!

If remembering the five types of Alaskan salmon proves difficult, #KeepClam because our original Director of Training Patrick Yearout developed a way to do so. With his trick, you’ll know the five kinds like the back of your hand!

Don’t forget the PINKie

SILVER on your ring finger

KING rules the hand

Don’t poke your SOCKEYE out

Thumbs up for CHUM

So now that you’re an expert in salmon identification, it’s time to get cooking! We’re sharing a nice, simple recipe from Ivar’s Salmon House for these grilled Coho salmon skewers that’s perfect for barbecues with family and friends. With your “handy” knowledge and this recipe, you’ll be sure to impress your guests with your grilling skills and salmon knowledge!

Grilled Salmon Skewers

Serves 6



  • 9 oz Coho Salmon (fresh and now in season!)
  • 1 bunch lettuce frisee or mixed baby greens
  • 1 to 2 oz sweet chili sauce
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Six 6-in. skewers
  • 1 to 2 oz olive oil
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Cut salmon into six pieces weighing 1.5 oz each and skewer onto six skewers.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush salmon with olive and then grill over 125 degrees F or until medium.
  4. Add salmon skewers to a bed of lettuce frisee or mix baby greens.
  5. Pour sweet chili sauce into a ramekin or small bowl, squeeze with lime and mix. Pour over skewers for taste and bonus presentation points.
  6. Sprinkle or add a pinch of sesame seeds
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Whether dining at Acres of Clams or Salmon House for our fresh, wild Alaska Coho salmon or making these delicious skewers at home, you don’t want to miss out on peak salmon season. And when in doubt, look to your hand for some guidance on identifying the fish you’re dining on!