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British Cold Smoked Salmon - what the toffs eat ;-)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cold smoked salmon seems to be a europaen thing. It's very easy to make and really good to eat. SO here's the definitive 'How To' right from salmon fillet to Sandwich :-)

There are a number of 'traditional' cure mixes for salmon. Most of them use way too much salt in my opinion and result in an over salty product.
I recommend you use a 3:1:1 mix. Sea salt crystals (or similiar top quality salt) Dark brown demerara sugar and dried dill tips.
The dill is traditional only for gravad lax. But it adds an almost imperceptible sweetness to the final smoked salmon that really works.
I use teaspoons to measure out my spices. For this smoke: approx 11 lbs of salmon I used about five mixes. so approx: 15:5:5 tsps.

Prepare your salmon fillet by washing any residual liquid off in cold water and then patting dry with kitchen paper. It's important that the salmon is as dry as possible when you rub the cure mix in.

Place your salmon in a large enough container for all the fish you'll be curing - also make sure it will fit into your fridge. If you can only get the salmon in a container and in the fridge by cutting the fillet - cut the fillet. I tend to smoke these salmon fillets (costco) cut in half, otherwise they would not easily fit in the smoker trays. Each fillet weighs about 3 1/2 lbs.

Sprinkle tsps of the cure mix liberally over both sides of the salmon and rub in thoroughly with your fingers. make sure every part of the fish is covered in the cure mix.

Repeat - stacking the fillets on top of each other - until you've done all the fish. Any spice mix can be sprinkled over the last layer. You really can't use too much - but try and make sure you don't skimp on it. More cure is better than less :-)
Once you've finished stick some clingfilm over the tray and put in the fridge overnight. I normally give it about 12 hours.

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
After 12 hours. Take the salmon out of the fridge.
Pour off the liquid in the container.
Wash the cure off the salmon and pat dry with kitchen towel.
The fish should feel a lot firmer than it did last night - it also no longer smells fishy.

You now need to leave the salmon somewhere cool and dry to form a pellicle. This usually takes 2-3 hours. But it won't hurt the salmon if you leave it overnight.

Once the pellicle has been formed the salmon is ready to smoke.
Traditional english smoked salmon is smoked COLD and I do mean cold. The fish is NOT cooked by the smoker. Not even a little.

Ideal smoking temp is as low as you can get it - I smoked this batch at around 60f. Keep it as far below 100f as you can. You could probably get away with 100 but anything higher and you're starting to cook the fish.

Smoked salmon is very tempting I suggest you find someone to guard the smoker while the salmon is smoking ;-)

I usually smoke for about 5 hours. I've found that this imparts just the right amount of smoke flavour to the fish.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Cold smoking in a Bradley smoker

Quick detour. For those who can't work out how I keep the smoker so cold.
Here's how.
The bradley smoker has a removeable smoke generator. For cold smoking I use a modified cardboard box and a 4 inch diameter tumble dryer hose. The heating element in the smoker is not plugged in. There is no heat source in the smoker.

One advantage of the bradley is that it's compact enough to use almost anywhere - but can hold quite a lot of food for smoking.
Here it's loaded with 11 lbs of salmon and about 2 pounds of cheese for the cold smoke cheese experiment (see cheese area).

And the reason I use that table to put the smoker on is that when the weather turns against me (this is england - 5 hours can be a lot of weather :-) It's got an umbrella.

And of course we got to have TBS :-)

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
After smoking for 5 hours remove the salmon from the smoker.
You should notice it's now a lovely dark orange colour.

So now you've got your smoked salmon, what do you do with it ?
In england it's usually only sold as very thin slices.

So you can slice and vacpac. I usually pack it into 4oz packs. Enough for 2 sarnies or scrambled egg for up to 4 people :-)

Or you can freeze the whole fillets for use at a later date. I don't actually vac pack the whole fillet as I want to keep the texture and vac packing would squeeze the salmon. I just wrap it in clingfilm and freeze. It doesn't get freezer burn and I frequently defrost a fillet, slice and vac the slices and refreeze the slices for eating later.
It's perfectly safe :-)

One of the best uses for whole fillets of smoked salmon is on the grill.
Cut the fillet into cubes approx 3/4 to 1 inch square. Make a marinade with equal amounts of honey and balsamic vinegar (mix well) coat the cubes of salmon - leave for an hour or two, put about 3 cubes on a bamboo skewer and grill for about 20-30 seconds a side on a very hot grill.
Just about the best fish kebab you'll ever eat :-)

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

And finally...

So what do we use the slices for ?
Traditionally it's served with a cream of horseradish sauce, or on blinis with caviar. I love it chopped up and mixed into scrambled eggs just before the eggs are done. That way the salmon part cooks and adds a lovely smokey flavour to the dish. And then of course it's ideal for Bagels and lox - cream cheese, smoked salmon and a bagel.
Smoked salmon is pretty versatile and just adds that final touch to a lot of dishes. Me I can just eat it sliced or in lumps. You could also use it to make pretty decent sushi (leave the rice out of mine)

OR you can try a traditional Curious Aardvark smoked salmon sandwich :-)

Slap top on bottom, cut and enjoy one of the best fish sarnies there is :-)

Bread machine recipe for the bread (add to bread machine tin in this order):-
1 1/4 cups warm water.
2 tbs evoo
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 tsps salt
3 tsps brown sugar
2x 100mg vitamin c tablets (keeps the bread softer longer)
(use a 1/3 cup size measure for the flours)
4 x strong white bread flour
3x malted brown flour
2x seeded white flour
1x porridge oats
1 1/3 tsp bread machine quick yeast.

Makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf on the standard white bread setting.

Enjoy :-)
post #6 of 17
Wow!! What an extensive threadPDT_Armataz_01_37.gif Great job Aardvark!!
Thanks and points to you!!
post #7 of 17
An amazing adventure! Very nice work!!!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Any chance of a sticky ? ;-)
the really annoying thing is while I was writing the posts the pictures appeared in the text. Once posted they went back to just links :-(
Anyone know a way round that ?
It looks way better with the pics in the post :-)
post #9 of 17
Very well done Aardvark! I just might give that a try when the temperature drops a little here. Thanks for the post. Points to you.
post #10 of 17
nice post ardvark!!!! this is a little different smoked salmon than we are used to here in the states i see. but very interesting and i thinnk i may give it a try sometimes, or i may use your brine method and smoke to conventional doneness. and you are right a bout dill. salmon and dill go together so well. as far as pics what photosharing are you using. i use photobucket and upload pics at 480x640 size using the IMG code and end up wirh with a nice pic on post. no clicking on links or thumbnails, just view. 480x640 will leave you with this

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
ah I got sneaky with the pictures (or thought I had lol). I'm abit paranoid about online photosharing services as all the ones I've seen have in the small print that any pics uploaded to them turn over copyright of those pictures to the photo sharing service. Ie they can use them and sell them for anything they like. I don't agree with this. Particularly not with any of my food pictures (writing a book doncha know).

So I thought I'd attach the pics to the posts as normal and then insert links to the attached pictures into the post - see sneaky :-)
And it works a treat when you're writing the posts up. But when you post them the pics turn back into links. Very disappointing and also a bit weird.
Should be a way round it. Just need to know where the forum stores the pictures attached to posts. The links turn out to be a php command and give no real indication of where on the server the picture is being stored.
post #12 of 17
Nice job!
I like the sammich, Thanks for using Heinze, I am origionally from Pittsburgh and used to stare out of window at the neon Ketchup bottle empty out over and over again.

Keep up the good smoking.
post #13 of 17
One great little trick I use to vac packing soft things that I don't want squeezed by the vac pack - I freeze the items first, then vac pack for long term storage.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
I vac and freeze the slices. But clingfilm works just great on the half sides. Like I said - don't get freezer burn and it defrosts perfectly. Also saves on real big vac bags :-)

Is there any other ketchup worth the name ? I don't think so.
When I ws kid people would try me with different ketchups - I always told the difference. You just have to look at the ingredients. No crap.
I get through lots. Plus it's great for adding to just about everything from sausage mixes to sauces. And yeah I even put it on hotdogs (NO ! Say it aint so !) Yep. Sometimes with mustard as well ;-)
post #15 of 17
Curious, I'm a smoked salmon fan and have done many, but not cold smoked. Thanks for all of the detail. It was a process i'm sure. I now have to figure out how turn my CG into a cold smoker. I tried cold smoking some belly recently and couldn't get the temp below 100. Even after a massive tray of ice. Thanks again.
post #16 of 17
Unfortunately vBulletin stores attached images within the database, not as an actual file on the server, so there's no way to directly reference the images without access to the database. What you might try as an alternative is to find some cheap webhosting and put your files on there. You can get hosting plans for like $5 (US) a month, and probably even cheaper than that if you look.

Anyway, your salmon looks excellent! I usually smoke mine at slightly higher temps, around 130-140. I'll have to give your way a shot! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah that would taste great - but you'd get mostly cooked fish.
Which you can't slice wafer thin.

In reality I suppose smoked salmon is english/scottish sushi.

One thing I ought to mention. My bradley smoke generator kicks out an awful lot of smoke, so for me five hours is a noticeably strong smokey flavour.

ALL the commercial smoked salmon I've ever eaten (and it's not a small amount) Has NEVER tasted smokey. Despite claims on the packets that it's been smoked for 12-18 hours.

So five hours on a smoker with heat being generated in the smoker itself could well be nowhere near enough time if you're not putting out all that much smoke.
If in doubt just cut a small piece off the salmon and test it. As soon as it tastes smokey to you, pull it.
It needs the smoke to be noticeable but quite subtle.
Not as subtle as the commercial stuff though lol
The stuff I make is measurably superior to even the really expensive stuff you can buy. As well as mucho cheaper.

Figured as much. But why do the pics show up when you're writing the post ? and not after - that's pretty weird.
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