??? about smoked salmon...

Discussion in 'Fish' started by fatback, May 19, 2008.

  1. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    I am trying to figure out how to smoke salmon without it looking dried out and charred on the edges. You know, that fancy restaurant, Sunday brunch kind of salmon that looks moist and almost like it did when it was fresh and raw. I have an idea to try smoking it skin side up on foil or a cookie sheet. Maybe that would protect the pretty side from the drying and charring effects from the smoke and heat. Also, what's the minimum amount of time and temp that I need to ensure it's done and that I am not eating sushi.
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You don't want it skin up... Don't want grill marks #1, #2 the skin helps protect the meat FROM burning.

    Your temps need to be LOW... when I do salmon I try to keep below 200°, I think some may go lower.

    The brine is the key. And the pressing methods during brining to remove excess moisture. Then the rinse and drying of the fillets, forming the pellicle-- the dried glaze... on the fish before smoking. Salmon is an art- and I'm just a painter so far.

    But once the samon flakes nicely and easily up in the thicker parts...it's done. A quick chill after smoking seems to help out the appearance and texture as well.
  3. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    Most of us are really cooking our salmon and adding smoke as a flavor. The meat is typically done long before it is dried out and headed for jerky. How long and at what temps are you smoking? The advice in the above post is right on for procedure so follow that and try to pull it a little sooner.
  4. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    thanks for the quick replies. I searched elsewhere on these here internets, and I think the end result I am looking for is accomplished via cold smoking which I don't think is possible with my BSKD.
  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Or at least "warm" smoking... yep...
  6. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    What Richtee said is right on....

    Also remember, when you are comparing your salmon to brunch type salmon. Even though the menu says it's smoked, it doesn't mean it was smoked that day. A friend of mine works in a very high end fish restaurant that serves salmon for brunch. They get it in refrigerated, vacuum sealed sleeves and heat it up in the oven. I've had it. The end result is a great product but it's not what you think.
  7. timothy

    timothy Newbie


    Good smoked salmon requires curing the salmon to remove moisture and cold smoking at ambient temperatures. In my experience you want the smoke chamber below 80 degrees. I works much better at colder temperatures. Any higher and the meat cooks, turning gray and unappealing.

    Curing a boneless, skin-on filet can be done in 24 to 36 hours with kosher salt and sugar. The dry brine should use 3% to 3 1/2% of the weight of the salmon. The fish are tightly wrapped, refrigerated and turned every 8 hours or so. After brining, rinse, dry and air dry to get the pellicle.

    Smoking requires a source of smoke and a separate chamber to receive the smoke and hold the fish. This can take as little at two-three hours. If you have a tight smoking chamber, you can provide 10 minutes of smoke every hour.

    The source of smoke can be sawdust and a soldering iron, an electric charcoal starter and woodchips or another type of smoke generator. You can eliminate oxygen by using a tin can or flower pot and aluminum foil. You can use heat duct or an aluminum dryer vent to carry the smoke to the chamber. Aluminized tape helps seal the smoke.

    The chamber can be a cardboard box or something comparable.

    Jacques Pepin has an excellent recipe in his "Techniques" and "Celebrates" cookbooks. If you want a recipe, I can look it up.

    Good luck,

  8. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yanno, Chef... yer right. I was asked to do salmon for a Mother's Day brunch at a local resto for them. The owner said he wanted REAL smoked salmon. Well, it turned out pretty good, but everyone who commented said WOW... this TASTES like smoked salmon...but not like any I've ever had...

    I think alot of it is done with a few drops of the cursed L.S.
  9. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tim Hia...and hit the Roll Call forum and intro yerself... it's polite and we're nosy. Always nice to have more experience on board.
  10. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    Thanks, guys. This place in invaluable!!!
  11. davy

    davy Fire Starter

    Hi, I am so new to this forum I still have the plastic wrap on. But.

    To ad to this what little I know.... about smokin salmon is the temps are key in the process.

    So far our "best" smoke for about 10 lbs of spring salmon cut in 1-1 1/2" chunks has been about 4 hours broke into three stages;

    First stage, no smoke, drafts wide open 105 degrees

    2nd stage= 135 degrees, drafts all but shut, two trays of alder

    final stage= 160 degrees, drafts open, no smoke

    Prior to this we use a simple dry brining process of 5 to 1 sugar/salt, ginger and garlic of about 12 hours. We finish it the last two hours with a withheld (sorry) liquid slurry .[​IMG]

    if any of that helps, great!!!![​IMG]

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