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-   -   Cold Smoked Salmon: Am I doing this right? (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=151523)

IbrahimSS 01-14-2013 06:38 PM

Cold Smoked Salmon: Am I doing this right?
 
Hello

I'm at the end of the curing and drying process for my salmon and I'm totally unsure if I'm doing this right. Can you experts comment if this looks good or if it's under cured or under dried?

I used a simple 4:1 brown sugar to kosher salt cure.

Thanks
Sam

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8...0b43e91433.jpg

firefighter4634 01-14-2013 06:48 PM

I love smoked Salmon, but I have never made it. Sorry I can't help, I am sure someone will chime in and let you know how to check it.

Gore 01-14-2013 07:04 PM

Can't really tell by looks as all salmon are different and color varies greatly. It should be noticeably darker than it was before the cure and it should be much stiffer and sticky, rather than slimy -- you should be able to pick it up and it not seem like a raw fish (slippery, slimy and floppy). The amount of cure is highly variable. I've had it range from very salty to almost no salt. We have refrigeration now, so it's not used purely for safety, but for taste preference. Many, many cultures have different methods for curing/smoking salmon. I've done it more times than I care to count and it always turns out great.

IbrahimSS 01-14-2013 07:37 PM

It definitely doesn't look or feel like fresh salmon. The skin is also rather stiff. It's not as dark as I thought it would be and there is a fair color variation between the tail and the thickest end near where the head was.

Any woo it's on the smoker now...

rockinshelby 01-14-2013 10:04 PM

Your 4:1 mix is perfect. I add 10-15 cloves crushed garlic also. Brine for 6 hours or overnight. Rinse and let sit at room temp. for a couple hours. Smoke for 6 - 12 hours to achieve desired result. Trust me. I am from British Columbia, Canada and fishing is my life! Pacific Salmon and BC rainbow trout in the smoker can't be beat.

Phrasty 01-14-2013 10:25 PM

Yeah salmon vary in color so dont go by that... Like Gore said go more on the feel of the fish. Now this is personal preference but I got for a 2:1 sugar to salt with additional seasonings. I find more sugar and its too sweet for me... it's just my sweet spot. Waht you didnt mention though was how long did you cure it for? It certainly looks ready though. I'm sure it'll come out great.

Cheers

IbrahimSS 01-14-2013 10:46 PM

I cured it for about 12-14 hours. I was little worried that 4:1 might be too sweet for me but I figured it seemed like a typical starting point for my first go. I will adjust for next time.

I just pulled it off the UDS. I smoked it for about 4 hrs.


I used the poor mans technique ie a few briquettes of charcoal lined up and slightly overlapped then lit the first one and put some wood on top. I'm not sure if that's the greatest way to do it. I don't want to get a AMNS because I don't want to be stuck ordering dust particularly because I have plenty of wood.

Gore 01-15-2013 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IbrahimSS (Post 2329197)

I used the poor mans technique ie a few briquettes of charcoal lined up and slightly overlapped then lit the first one and put some wood on top. I'm not sure if that's the greatest way to do it.

That's worked for thousands of people for centuries. It's only recently that we've had the new gadgets to spend money on. :thumb:

thirdeye 01-15-2013 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IbrahimSS (Post 2328867)
Hello

I'm at the end of the curing and drying process for my salmon and I'm totally unsure if I'm doing this right. Can you experts comment if this looks good or if it's under cured or under dried?

I used a simple 4:1 brown sugar to kosher salt cure.

Thanks
Sam

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8...0b43e91433.jpg

Your color looks just fine.....Like the others mentioned, the color will vary from species to species, and also vary between wild caught and farm raised. In fact many farm raised fillets have color added. All the descriptions of texture and feel were better than I could have described them, so I think you are good there too. Your fillet does look a hair dry down toward the tail, but you will figure this out when eating (and it might just be the light in the photo).

Here is some cured steelhead drying so you can see the color of some of mine... I season them before the drying step because it anchors better, and seasoning is optional on cold smoked salmon.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...11-13004aa.jpg

A couple of tips,... I usually cut off the belly strip and the tail. The belly is really fatty and the tail dries easily... plus they are of different thickness than the main body, so they take more smoke. Trimming the fillets also makes the fillets easier to slice.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...SC02849aaa.jpg

Here is some of my cold smoked Nova lox so you can see the finished look. Just be sure to slice it really thin and enjoy...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...DSC02939aa.jpg

midwestsmokeboy 01-15-2013 11:46 AM

One thing I would mention is the last half hour turn up the temp to at least 150 degrees to kill any remaining bacteria. You can set your oven at 150 and finish for a half hour.

thirdeye 01-15-2013 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by midwestsmokeboy (Post 2329625)
One thing I would mention is the last half hour turn up the temp to at least 150 degrees to kill any remaining bacteria. You can set your oven at 150 and finish for a half hour.

That's interesting, does the 30 minutes do any actually cooking to the surface of the fish?

Often food safety experts will recommend fish which has been commercially frozen when making lox. The quick freezing and well below zero temperatures will kill any baddies associated with uncooked fish you may worry about. That said, I prefer using extremely fresh fish which has not been frozen, and have not had any problems. Sushi grades of fish don't have the benefit of curing salts or exposure to smoke, however they are kept really cold, instead of the 50 to 80 temps inside a cold smoker.

IbrahimSS 01-15-2013 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by midwestsmokeboy (Post 2329625)
One thing I would mention is the last half hour turn up the temp to at least 150 degrees to kill any remaining bacteria. You can set your oven at 150 and finish for a half hour.

I never heard of that before. Does that actually work? I'd think doing that would actually cause more bacteria to grow as the surface temp of the fish would not warm up but the warm air might spur the bacterial growth. :confused:

IbrahimSS 01-16-2013 11:25 AM

I just wanted to update the thread.

Thanks everyone for your help. It came out awesome. I'm amazed at how simple it was to produce such an outstanding product. I think the only thing I would tinker with next time is seasonings, ie add garlic or whatever I'd like, and the brown sugar to salt ratio. The wife would like it a bit more salty so I'll probably go 3:1.

Thanks again

IbrahimSS 01-16-2013 11:33 AM

One last thing: if you have any storage advice I'm happy to hear it!

pmad 01-16-2013 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IbrahimSS (Post 2330616)
if you have any storage advice I'm happy to hear it!

I cut mine into small sections (an amount I'd eat in one sitting) and then vacuum seal. Keep it in the fridge.


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