The largest, most desirable wild salmon in the world, king salmon are prized for their rich, juicy red meat. Kings are big fish, sometimes exceeding 100 pounds. Kings grow to their large size because they spend more time at sea than other salmon species, sometimes as long as 5 years. The largest king every caught commercially weighed 126 pounds. Although kings are big fish, only 15,000 tons are caught each year — less than 3% of the total wild salmon catch in North America. They range across much of the eastern North Pacific, from the Yukon River in Alaska to the Sacramento River in central California but the most famous kings come from Alaska’s Copper River, known for fighting their way hundreds of mile upriver through a multitude of rapids.
Availability: Seasonal (April-September)
Origin: Wild (California to Alaska, Canada)
Texture and Flavor: Rich, red, robust-flavored, buttery flavor, high fish oil content
Cooking Methods: Grill, bake, sauté, smoke, poach, steam, sushi, sashimi
Substitutes: Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead