Originally Posted by FunGus
I kept seeing it wasn't loosing lots of moisture so tonight I dredged it in kosher salt for 4 hours. Its firm now and I am rinsing it for an hour, ill smoke it tomorrow night. I am not sure if fishiness develops with so much salt? Ie. can I let it cure for days without it turning?
In my world in Canada, smoked salmon is never hot smoked. I understand it happens but where I live smoked salmon is always uncooked.
I am thinking I will let it make a pelllicle overnight and smoke it tomorrow night for 4 hours using cold alder smoke. I will brush it with local maple syrup in the last hour and let it sit for a day to stablize then eat and vacuum pack and freeze if its good.
To avoid the salmon from becoming too salty you need to use a dry brine that has a lower concentration of salt than in your mix. A ratio of 1:1, 3:2 or 2:1 sugar:salt is common - some use higher ratios. You will not need the cure#1 either as this will be a product that is either cooked if hot smoked or chilled if cold smoked.
The main reason for curing the salmon is to reduce the moisture content and you need to reduce it by about 16%-18% from fresh if you are making cold smoked salmon - which is what is doing most of the actual preservation. By putting it in the cure you will have started to reduce the moisture content, however by then soaking it for the hour afterwards you will have then been unfortunately adding it back. Once out of the cure you should rinse the fillet but you should not soak it.
For lightly smoked salmon fillets you can get a good flavour by smoking overnight (about 8 hours) however for true traditional cold smoked salmon this can take a day or two to achieve the desired moisture loss.
You mention brushing with maple syrup at the end. Your method appears to be a mix of hot and cold smoking techniques - however you do not appear to be cooking at a high enough temperature for hot smoking and you will not achieve the required moisture loss for cold smoking.
I hope it turns out OK but I must confess that I am skeptical. Please let us know how you get on.
Edited by Wade - 10/28/14 at 6:54am