Smoked salmon

Discussion in 'Fish' started by waterinholebrew, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Does anyone know after the brine on smoked salmon if you can dry the salmon in the fridge overnight to get the pellicle on it ?? Any help is very much appreciated.,. WHB
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes You can do that.
  3. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks ds2003, your help is much appreciated !!
  4. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I have yet to see a frig with enough airflow to begin to get a good pellicle.

    Set your trays on bags of ice and put fans on them if you are unable to get the temp down enough or if it is so damp the pellicle takes too long to form.

    The pellicle is simply the most critical element in proper salmon smoking and cutting corners is going to cause issues at some point.
  5. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Though I've never used a fridge to airdry the Salmon,  I can't imagine it letting a pellicle form due to no wind flow.  I've always used a fan when drying my fish.
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It does work, just takes longer. You can also place a small fan in the fridge to speed things along.
  7. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    A fan in the frig???

    Nothing good happens to fish while it is waiting...

    A frig with a reasonable seal exchanges very little air with the outside. There are already as many molecules in the air as it can contain (Avagadro had more than a little to say about that) until it gets colder. And that does not amount to much. There is simply no where for water vapor to go, aside from condensing on stuff that is there that is already colder. It does nothing positive for the frig or the fish.

    A reasonable quantity of fish could never be surface dried in any frig, fan or not. Either pellicle means something different, or there is something going on in your frig that is way different...
  8. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    A refrigerator is a fairly good dehydrator because air is circulated thru the freezer compartment. That's why you get freezer burnt food. That's why a freezer needs to be defrosted regularly. A freezer is used to dehydrate air in a high-vacuum system, for instance.

    For some refrigerators, you can screw in a socket extender into the refrigerator light socket to plug in a small fan.

  9. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    Well, no, most of what you say is incorrect.

    I have heard tell the light goes off in the frig when you close the door... Never stayed inside one to check it though. I pulled wire for many years to get through college and am more than passing familiar with electricity and can make most anything work... Just wonder "Why?"

    Freezers are used to drop water out of air used around high-vacuum systems because the boiling point of water in a vacuum is 62 degrees below zero F! That has nothing to do with consumer grade freezers.

    I do not know of any refrigerator-freezers that circulate air through the freezer and reefer sections... and certainly none do it in volumes suitable to actually form a pellicle on any reasonable volume of salmon.

    Freezer burn is caused by water sublimating from frozen food...

    Further, the notion you support is to run wet air into a freezer? Just to build a bunch of frost?
  10. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will stand by my first response, it is possible to form a pellicle in the fridge. It is not my preferred method but it is possible and answered the original posters question. And yes it is also possible to place a fan in a fridge. That's the last that I will comment.
  12. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    Yes, water does boil in a vacuum at room temperature... But it starts boiling at 62 degrees F below zero in a vacuum. You are confusing latent heat effects.

    Freezer coils do not circulate air... They carry Freon in older units and most newer ones use ammonia. The concept of dumping wet air into a freezer to allow the defrost feature (something to be avoided if storing food is a priority) to remove it is "interesting" and counterproductive in so many ways.

    You seem to have forgotten the question is whether a pellicle can be formed on salmon in a frig. Yes, very small quantities can be. As you noted the RH in the closed system will stabilize at the given temperature and pressure. Evaporation rate is a function of RH and ridiculously slow when RH is high. RH increases dramatically when the temperature drops. A fan on the counter in the same kitchen will have the multiple advantages of increased air temperature therefore greater capacity to accept evaporating water, greater air volume therefore longer window of evaporation, and reduced RH therefore a greater speed of evaporation.

    How water works under many different conditions is actually a specialty of mine by dint of extensive education and work. Your understanding of same is clearly limited and I have no desire to argue with you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  13. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  14. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    Please take a look at the linked chart... you will see that water does indeed boil in a vacuum at temperatures FAR below zero. Picking out the exact number from the chart is tough to interpolate, but minus 62F is the number generally used. And yes ice subjected to a sudden complete vacuum will boil away, stepping over solid and liquid phase like they were almost never there.

    Getting to a complete vacuum is a difficult thing and why the average room temperature is used... The link is from a group at Cambridge University so feel free to question them.

    Your comment "...air has to be circulated thru the same freezer coils." Feel free to explain what that means if not air is shipped through the same coils.

    I was inexact on ammonia... It is used in most of the freezers I deal with at the commercial scale.

    There is as much bacteria in a refrigerator as out... Actually more in most cases as a concentration point.

    Further, the evaporation of water will keep the fish below room temperature for quite a while and the ice below (if used) will further lower the temperature.

    The brine will have reduced the surface of the wet fish to less than favorable conditions for bacteria, especially as it starts to dry, yet remains moist and the electrolytes are being concentrated.

    While smoked salmon is going to be at room temperature while the pellicle forms it will be raised to 140 to kill said problems and will be put in a smoker at far below 140 for a significant amount of time... Total non-issues in real terms.
  15. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  16. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  17. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I can agree with that "if".

  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'll not get into a scientific debate, but I will give what I know from my experience.

    I have always put my Salmon pieces on racks in my Meat Fridge over night, before smoking.

    It has always at least begun the pellicle, but not usually completed in that short time.

    Therefore I set my MES to about 100* to 130*, and put the Salmon in the smoker for an hour or two before adding smoke.

    This has always completed the forming of the pellicle.

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  19. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Air drying was always a concern of mine therefore, I brine mine much longer than actually needed partly for convenience, but mostly to insure 100% brine saturation.  I presently have one in the brine that has been there for 18 hours.  Will air dry with fan and smoke later today.

    The following is how I do mine.   Mr T's "Smoked Salmon From Go to Show" w/Q-View

  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It has been my experience that length of time brining depends on how thick the pieces of fish are, and how strong your brine is.

    If one recipe for brining calls for 18 hours, and you use it on fish that were brined in a mixture that calls for 6 hours, that fish would be too salty.


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