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Why Brine and Smoke Times Vary So Much?

post #1 of 2
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I'm about to try my first cold smoked salmon. I perfected my hot smoking technique. I'm a bit surprised on the variance on brining and smoking times I've read on various web pages. Some advocate an overnight brine, some just a couple hours. I've found that more than a couple hours in a dry brine is way too salty. On the smoking, I've seen smoke times similar to hot smoking and smoke times of "2-5 days" !! My guess is that some people use more of a Lox technique by brining for a long time, they are letting the salt do the work for preserving. However I believe Native Americans cold smoked their salmon for many days with little or no brining. In that case the smoke is the preservative. So am I correct in assuming the brining and smoking are essentially disproportionate. The longer the brine the less you have to smoke. The less brine, the longer you have to smoke. I believe in fact you can make Lox without any smoke at all. Just a long brine time in the fridge. I was thinking on my first try to double the brine time of my hot smoking technique which would be a dry bring for a 2-2.5 hours. Let it cure in the fridge overnight after rinsing. And a 18-24 hour smoke at 50-90 degrees. Does this sound about right?



I read this:
•  Depending on the desired finished product, 
smoking will take anywhere from 16 hours to 7 
The critical piece of info missing is HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS DONE?

Edited by jazzy - 1/15/12 at 12:13pm
post #2 of 2

I smoke salmon very often. There are two types of salmon I deal with due to different preferences in my family.

My wife likes pacific salmon a lot because its more lean. My mother (big surprise!) likes atlantic salmon which is fattier.


Lean salmon goes to brine. Fatty salmon dry cured. Either way I cure it for 48 hours following ice water bath for 1 hour.


Also they smoky flavor preferences are different. Wife likes it less smoky while my mother likes it smokier. So I remove some salmon after 6 hours and the rest after 12. Never smoked it longer.


Not claiming to be a perfect recipe but its so good we are ordering fresh salmon once every 2 weeks.

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