First lox on the MES30

Discussion in 'Fish' started by maxgunner, May 11, 2014.

  1. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    I've enjoyed lox forever (at least my knees think I'm that old), been making it for years, but just smoked one on a real, live smoker for the first time this morning.


    (The other piece of fish is blackfin tuna, caught off the OBX last week)

    I cured for longer than usual, mostly simply because I couldn't find the time to smoke during the week.  I ran it in my MES30 with no heat, AMPTS filled with apple wood pellets, as you can see in the lower left.

    I pulled it after about 3 hours or so.  Smells great.  Tastes great.  But the fish is soooooo crumbly that I can't slice it.  Nearly all of the firmness of the fish is gone and it literally falls apart as I try to slice it.  

    I read where someone recommended refrigerating for 24 hours before slicing, so after a few crumbly, delicious "slices", I put the salmon in gallon bags and into the fridge.

    Any thoughts, comments, tips?  Maybe everything is fine and I will be able to slice it tomorrow after it chills a bit.  But there's no way I could get a real "slice" today except perhaps on the very end where it was the firmest.

    Thanks for your help, brothers and sisters of smoke.

    MG
     
  2. Fantastic to see! And that tuna must have been wonderful too! Nice job! Happy new week! Cheers! - Leah
     
  3. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    Help!  The lox is the same.  So "loose" it is falling apart even before I try to slice it.

    What did I do wrong?!?  Smoke too long? Cure too long?  I have never had this happen with lox before, but as I mentioned, this is the first time I've put it on a smoker.

    All advice appreciated.  Honestly, killer lox is one of the top reasons I bought a smoker.

    thanks,

    MG
     
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you hot smoked it and actually cooked the salmon. I cold smoke my lox and never have that problem.
     
  5. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    I kept the MES turned off and only the AMNTS as a smoke source.  What do you do?
     
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What recipe did you use..... Dave
     
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you know what the temp was in the MES while you were smoking? I know that when I use my AMNTS I can get temps close to 100* if I'm not using my mailbox mod. Course when it's 70* outside it's over a 100* in my GOSM with no heat at all. When smoking loc I like my smoker to be in the 40's temp wise.
     
  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup, If you cold smoked the salmon, you shouldn't have had any real issue.    Did you modify your brine recipe?  I normally cold smoke my lox for two hours after brining and drying, smoking during the morning.
     
  9. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you have a pic of the finished salmon?
     
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You can see from the picture that there was some heat being generated. The white protein/fat rising out where the spine was is a sure sign.  My guess is you were running somewhere in the 110˚-120˚ range. Those pellets generate a surprising amount of heat. Take us through your process step by step and provide some pics of the finished product so we can give a better guess. If it's flaking, or separating st the natural grain of the flesh, it's just cooked. If the meat itself has broken down somehow and it's mushy, I'm not sure what would cause that.
     
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lox should not be brined/cured in a liquid.... It should be salted/sugared/cure in the dry form and pressed moderately, under weight, to remove the internal moisture..... that provides a fairly solid form of meat with concentrated flavor... easy to slice... intense flavor....
     
  12. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you'll get what you're after on your next try.  Smoked lox is out of this world good and even I, on my second attempt following Bbally's method was able to produce the best smoked salmon I've ever had. I say "Even I" because it's a well documented fact that I possess just enough knowledge to screw up even the most detailed recipe for hot water. 

    (Please forgive the gratuitous bragging shots, but it was REALLY good, and not at all complicated)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  13. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is lox (brined, pressed as Dave said and hung to dry for a day). Wasn't smoked. Still moist with oils visible, slices easily.

    And this is brined (for a lot shorter time) and hot smoked. You can easily tell the difference: white stuff and flakes.

    As mentioned above by Mdboatbum...yours seems to be in the 2nd category...not fully cooked in the picture though.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  14. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of my smoked lox's

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    I use 50/50 white sugar and sea salt.  With a little dill weed mixed in.
     
  16. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    Yes, this is what I do.  Salt/sugar cure under weight.  No brine.  It came out of the fridge a perfect consistency.  My only thought is the AMPTS generated more heat than I thought it would.  I didn't measure temp inside the MES since I figured it would be about ambient, which was around mid-70s that morning.  I had the air vent wide open and pellet chute removed.  Had no issue at all generating great smoke.  Must've been too much heat as well.  I'd hate to not be able to cold smoke in summer, but maybe that's a price I pay for living in the south.  Or, I can take a saw to my MES and do a mod.  Not sure which is the less-appetizing thought...

    MG
     
  17. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You could fill up a milk jug with water, freeze it and put it in the smoker between your ampts and the fish.
     
  18. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    Gorgeous pics, Mdboatbum, and cmayna.  

    The only things I did different this time were 1) cure for longer than typical, and 2) use a smoker.  Don't have pics of the finished product at the moment, but the only other strangeness was a much oilier fish than typical.  It's like the smoke (heat I imagine) drew the oils out. The firmness was great after curing, so I really don't think variable #1 had any negative effect.  I assumed the AMPTS would add next to no heat, and I think this was simply a bad assumption.  

    Until at least September, there will be virtually no morning temps in the low or even mid-60's.  Someone mentioned cold smoking at temps in the 40s; that's winter here.  

    So, what to do?  Use less pellets?  Open the door every 15 minutes or so?  Smoke for less time?  Put a tray of ice directly beneath the salmon racks?  What should the max chamber temp be for cold smoking?

    Thanks again.  Great forum.  So glad I found y'all.

    MG
     
  19. maxgunner

    maxgunner Fire Starter

    Sounds like that might work.  Thanks!
     
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member




    That had way too much heat..... Lox needs to be below 70 degs IMO.... You know when it is right by the "almost translucent color of the meat"...... That looks perfect..... not cooked.... compressed.... KEY-RAP that pic makes me hungry.........


     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014

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