Salmon cold smoked 24 hours

Discussion in 'Fish' started by crankybuzzard, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wife and mother in law love cold smoked salmon, so I made a couple for them.  

    Started with 2 filets from the local fish market. Did a 24 hour dry brine of salt, brown sugar, and cure #1.

    Rinsed after 24 hours, patted dry, then back in the frig for around 18 hours to get a pellicle.

    Here they are just before smoke.

    In the small cedar smokehouse

    Pulled them this morning with a bit of smoke still coming from the A-MAZE-N tray.

    Had to sample some before packaging.  Not too bad, and I don't really care for salmon!

    The test will be when the bride wakes up and gives it a taste!

    Smoked with alder pellets and the temp in the small smoker never got over 72 degrees.
    disco and gary s like this.
  2. Nice dark smoke Cranky. I hope to move to some cold smoking at some point. Still need to get on my fabrication project for the external chamber but been really busy with other stuff. I may do the A-Maze-N thing, but I'm a metal fabricator and feel like I should be DIY-ing this stuff!

    What was your salt/sugar/cure ratio?

    How long was the cold smoke?
  3. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I made at least 8 homemade smoke devices and all paled in comparison to the A-MAZE-N. It's just too easy! :biggrin:

    I used 2 cups each of salt and brown sugar, then weighed out the cure amount needed for the filets.

    I started the smoke at 9 or so yesterday morning, first tray ran for 9 hours, lit the 2nd tray around 7 PM, then refilled the tray at 2 AM before bed. At 7:30 this morning, I still had about an inch to go. I pulled the fish at almost 10.

    I'm thinking I used too much sugar, the tops of the filets are pretty hard. I talked to a friend in Washington that smokes LOTS of salmon each year and he agrees. So next time, I'll reduce the sugar by half.
  4. dert

    dert Master of the Pit

    What temp did it get to? Looks like there was some heat...
  5. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Never got over 72 degrees in the smokehouse. No heat. It's just the upper surface that is tough. After the first 1/8 inch surface, it's perfect.

    crazymoon likes this.
  6. dert

    dert Master of the Pit

    I wonder if it case hardened by drying the surface out...
  7. dert

    dert Master of the Pit

    Must have been what happened...
  8. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep. My friend in Washington state has had this happen with too much sugar he said.

    Still good stuff, the wife is all over it. I'm just too picky about the stuff I make. :biggrin:
  9. dert

    dert Master of the Pit

    Looks great, I wonder if you had too much air flow or just exposed to the air (smoke) too long and dried the surface out.
  10. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't think you should make your wife eat an inferior product, CB. Send it here and I will dispose of it for you.

    Point for keeping the missus happy.

  11. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    If you want to cut down on the amount of time when smoking your next batch try this method.

    I have used this method several times and the salmon came out perfect every time...Give it a try...I think you will be happy with the results.

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  12. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    Same here I do metal fab, hot rods, powdercoating, I just cant buy something I can build.   Ran to the metal supermarket for $10 worth of stainless perf sheet drops and made my own U turn tray.  works perfectly fine.   Now I want to rip the junk controller from this MES 40 and build another PID box like I did for my powdercoating oven to control the temps better, then rig up a controller to wifi so I can run it remotely lol  its addicting isn't it!
    care to go into a bit more detail?  ie dummy proof it for me?  I am trying a cold smoke for the first time myself I just mixed up my cure as per this:   but the way you said it you added enough cure as per the LB of the fish in question, where they did it by the total weight of all the ingredients.
  13. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, I had 4.3 pounds of fish (meat) and since I was dry curing, I added almost 5 grams of cure #1. I didn't weigh out the salt and sugars, never have. Some do it like I did, and others do it like you refer to. In the madness we call a hobby, you'll get many differing answers. Mine aren't always correct, so I provide guidance, and try not to say that my way is always correct.

    I've also just done it with salt and sugar only, but I always recommend using a cure.

    If we want to get really technical, some would say that since the thickest portion of the largest filet was around 1" thick, I should have cured for 7 days. Yep, some would say that.

    But, that would be a salty bite of fish flesh after a week in the sugary, salty juice...
  14. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How did i miss this CB.

    Looks good to me. I am not a salmon fan but I need to try smoking some.
  15. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm not a fan either, but the bride and her mother love it, so I make it.

    I had several tastes while slicing and packaging and it wasn't too bad, but I've had enough to last me a while. :biggrin:
  16. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  17. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    Thank you for the reply!  I know what you mean, for a newbie like me (I only started smoking about 6 months ago and really only started to really enjoy cooking a year ago so a lot of it is all new but im a very fast learner) its hard to get a solid handle on the right and wrongs because the recipes and opinions on how it should be done can be 10 miles wide.   I think a good idea for a sticky thread at the top of say the fish page, is a good list of "don't do's".  Like for smoking a turkey you need to worry about the 40-140 zone in 4 hours, for fish adding curing salt helps keep botulism away but don't add to much because nitrite poisoning can happen.  stuff like that.  Or FAQ's  under each sub section of the forum with idiot proof simple concepts, and what major mistakes can make you sick or worse.

    7 days? that's another thing I need to research, cure schedules.   I see everything from a few hours, to over night, to a day, or a week... and myself being a machinists/fabricator/welder/hot rod man, I am very scientific and precise when it comes to anything I put effort into so its frustrating to me when I see such a wide range of acceptable practice... its like telling me to turn a part on the lathe to "about an inch and a half and it will be good". lol   when I feel +/-.010 is like a hotdog in a hallway tolerance! haha
  18. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Your pictures are making me slobber CB.  I am just going to have to go get me a slab or two of Salmon.
  19. bryce

    bryce Smoking Fanatic

    I'm glad I read this thread.

    I've had smoked salmon that ended up with a hard surface as well. I was just thinking it was result of the dry brining process but never thought the sugar alone could cause that. I think I prefer the dry bringing process but my best salmon has come from wet brining.

    I do know that salmon isn't very forgiving like a pork shoulder or chicken thighs. Every time I smoke salmon I always feel like things have to go 100% perfect or it just won't be that good. I've only really nailed like 3 batches and I've smoked quite a bit of it.

    I sure love the stuff regardless.

  20. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So I did two 1/4 lb pieces of salmon I bought at my local supermarket. With the skin on . Brined for 24 in 50/50 salt and sugar. Zest of one lemon and a bunch of dill. Then I washed off the brine and smoked for 10 hours using my tube smoker and cherry pellets
    Vacuum warped for 24 hours then sliced
    The skin was hard but after some trimming I ended up with the best lox I ever ate!!!

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