Homemade Food · Southern Food

“Poor Mans Steak” AKA “Salmon Patties”

There are few meals that really stuck out to me as a kid. The few that stood out were the unusual meals that I didn’t know any other family eating for dinner. I thought we were the only ones eating salmon patties for dinner. Turns out it was a family recipe with a lot of history and also something southerners would mix up quick & cheap. If you were raised on a tight budget in the grocery store…more than likely you have heard of Salmon Patties.


My Mother would make us eat fish all.the.time! As I said in another post, we were raised very healthy! She would always insist fish was the healthiest “meat” we could eat. Which made it even harder to eat just because she would say “healthy”. (oh…stubborn self) We were raised that Omega-3 is very important in daily health! Here are some Huge Health Benefits from Salmon:

  • Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. … (helps with hair growth & scalp health)
  • Great Source of Protein. …
  • High in B & D Vitamins. …
  • Good Source of Potassium. …
  • Loaded With Selenium. …
  • Contains the Antioxidant Astaxanthin. …
  • May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease. …
  • May Benefit Weight Control.
  • May Protect Brain Health.
  • Can help fight Inflammation.

If we walked through the doors smelling that very distinct smell of fish, me , my brother & sister knew it was either: sardines, tuna or salmon patties. None of us could stand sardines…yuck! When we saw Salmon Patties for dinner… it was a huge sigh of relief! (haha)

Family Story

Turns out my Mom got her recipe from her Mother, who had it passed down from her Father & her Grandmother. (that makes it my Great, Great Grandmother)
(Pictured below is my Grandpa & Grandma Ford & me as a baby)Let me tell you a story I remember about my Great Grandpa & Great Grandma Ford. I remember going to their house many times but the thing that sticks out to me was how thoughtful my Grandpa Ford was. I remember him being very slow and quiet. We lived about 10-15 minutes away from them. Every now and then Grandpa Ford would stop by and drop off some cheddar popcorn or cheese puffs in ziploc bags for me & my sister.(my brother was a baby) Even if we wasn’t home they would leave it on our front porch. I would be so excited to see them & those cheese puffs were soooo good!

My Grandmother, said as a child Grandpa & Grandma Ford would have Salmon Patties most Sundays after church. That was always a happy day eating a protein for a change, Sundays meant Salmon Patties. My Mom had a large family of 8. Her family lived on a very tight budget and made the best with what they had. She would mix canned Salmon & canned Mackerel(mackerel was cheaper) to feed her 6 children.

My Mother and her siblings weren’t raised on much meat because meat was too expensive. So she called Salmon Patties, Poor Mans Steak. From what I understand, each of them brought that recipe into their own kitchens just as I have.

I saw my Mom make Salmon Patties so much in my life that it was one of the only things I knew how to make when I married.

When I joined my husbands family, his Nannie would make Salmon Patties. I was very surprised to find them on her very traditional southern meal table. Her meals always consisted of fried chicken, pintos, fried potatoes, green beans, cream corn & cornbread. Here and there she would do Salmon Patties because not all of the family enjoyed them. Her recipe was different from mine but that is what makes everyone unique. We all have different taste in things.

So this Recipe may differ from yours but that’s what is FABULOUS about Salmon Patties…there are so many ways to make them and still be just as tasty! 🙂


When I was a newlywed, I had to go CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP! Salmon Patties was in the budget A-LOT! 1 can of Salmon costs maybe $4 and can make approx 8-10 patties! (and are great leftover!) It is seriously a great, cheap meal! It is still something we all love to eat! It is easy, healthy & CHEAP! I’ve estimated this to cost about $8-$10 (depending on your grocery store) and can easily feed a family of 4!

So let’s get started with ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Pink Salmon (deboned)
  • 1/2 squeezed Lemon
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers (can also use Saltines, Bread Crumbs, Cornmeal or Flour)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/3 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)


  • Strain Juice out of can & Pour Salmon into large bowl
  • Carefully take out all (if any) bones & skin
  • Cut a Lemon in half and squeeze half of it (careful, no seeds)
  • Crush sleeve of Ritz Crackers & pour into bowl
  • Add 1 tbsp of Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder, 1/3 tsp Onion Powder
  • Add 1 Large Egg
  • Add 1 tbsp of EVOO
  • Begin Mashing with hands (what I do) or with masher/fork
  • Roll into golf ball sizes and smash with hands to flatten patty and lay onto plate
  • Prepare another plate with paper towel lined for the patties once cooked
  • Heat pan on Medium/Low.
  • Spray with Pam
  • Add Crisco OR EVOO (what I used)
  • Wait a minute or two for the oil to get warm then place patties softly, not touching
  • Cover pan with lid
  • The Patties will start to brown on the sides. That’s when you know to carefully flip them one at a time.
  • It should only take 2-4 minutes per side with the oil preheated
  • When flipped, cover with lid for another 2-3 minutes.
  • When the patty will easily move in the oil, it is done!
  • If the patty is still stuck to the pan…it is not done!
  • Lay Patties onto prepared plate with paper towel

Poor Mans Steak AKA Salmon Patties

Our family enjoys eating Salmon Patties dipped in Ketchup but is great by itself. Also, delicious with a green vegetable & mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower! YUM!

Hope you enjoy! Love & Blessings till next time…

One thought on ““Poor Mans Steak” AKA “Salmon Patties”

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