Oops! Accidentally left a salmon fillet sitting in the smoker over night!!

Discussion in 'Fish' started by smokinnn, May 25, 2015.

  1. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    I brined about 10 lbs of salmon overnight (brown sugar and salt)  two nights ago, and smoked it all yesterday, about 3 1/2 hours total.  I had cut it into about 8 pieces all together.  When I opened up the smoker this morning to clean it out some, I noticed that I had accidentally left one of the fillets in the smoker on the rack.  Uuugh!!!   

    How long can smoked salmon sit out like that and still be ok to eat?


  2. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Depends on how dry you made it or how cold the temps were overnight. When in doubt throw it out! And that doesn't mean feed it to the dog!
  3. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Thanks!  That's pretty much what I was thinking too.  I sure hate to give up such a nice big hunk of smoked salmon though. It all turned out so perfect.  Oh well, at least I have plenty more.  [​IMG]
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    sitting in the warm smoker overnight.... BAD..... all sorts of pathogens were multiplying....

    If it had been properly cured, I would eat it no problem...
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  5. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Hi Dave... what would be considered "properly cured"?  
  6. scorchedporch

    scorchedporch Fire Starter

    If you didn't use any pink salt it wasn't cured.  Either way - 4 hours max between 40 and 140.  Throw it away.
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Toss it.  Have you ever had food poisoning?  I have once.  Felt like I was dying.  Not worth it.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Using cure #1.... sodium nitrite, like you use when making bacon.... meats can sit in a smoker in the "danger zone" for days and still be safe... I have smoked bacon at 70 degrees for 6 days.... fish would be similar... without cure, 6 days at 70 degrees would probably kill you...
  9. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Thanks!  I'm OK with the 4 hours max between 40 and 140, I took it to about 155 in 3 1/2 hours. I didn't know about the pink salt though.  Is that something that people typically use for smoked fish?  None of the many recipes I checked out called for it.  [​IMG]
  10. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    pink salt is considered a cure. Like Dave stated cure can make things last longer and smoke slower.
  11. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Does it result in any different taste to what is being smoked compared to non-pink salt?
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is a difference between "pink salt" like gourmet pink salts and "pink salt, cure #1 with nitrite... and it's poisonous and one needs to get educated before using.... I recommend a grams scale, say 0-200 grams ish to be able to accurately weigh it out for small batches of meats...
    It makes pork leg taste like ham... and pork belly taste like bacon.... but I have never noticed any flavor change in salmon....

    .... click on picture to enlarge......
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  13. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    dave knows his cure so anything he says is what I would go by. I was going to say same that there are differences but I haven't notice taste difference either. Hymilain pink salt isn't cure.
  14. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Thanks guys!  I've already done some research on curing since it was brought up, I'll continue to do some more.  My biggest question is, while it definitely makes sense for things like bacon and jerky, do you tend to use pink salt for everything that calls for dry or wet brine?  Like your Thanksgiving Day Turkeys for instance?  Or do you only use it under certain conditions?
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When meat processing developed, it was noticed some folks died when they ate salted smoked meats and smoked sausages...which was the primary way to make meats etc. last without refrigeration... strangely, folks died from only a select few meat processors.. Sooooo, those meat processors were out of business... no customers left....
    the salt from the remaining processors, several hundred years later was found to have trace minerals in it.... and it was determined nitrite and nitrate was the reason folks didn't die from smoked/dried meats.. Since about 1900, advanced chemistry was applied and regulations were developed and improved methods of processing were established... limits established and refined... and today we have the opportunity to cure and smoke meats with little or no possibilities of getting ill or worse, dying from this technique... The FDA/USDA and universities are very good places to get information... conversely, blogs and forums can have poor information considering typos, misunderstandings of approved methods, etc... curing is VERY complex with all the different methods employed...

    Well, that's the simple version.... terminology is complex..... confusing..... and can get you in trouble.. Books that are written on the subject have errors... When a person puts together a book, and it is transcribed for print by an individual that know nothing about curing, mistakes are made and have been noted here... even the "GURUS" of smoking meats etc. have errors in their books... the well known named folks... so, with a grain of cure, be careful when using recipes and always refer back to the above named reputable sources... who also make errors..
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depending on the salt/sugar brine concentration and whether you were you hot or cold smoking the salmon It would probably have been fine. Although wet brining will actually increase the moisture content of the fish, the salt and sugar content of the brine will have inhibited the growth of any bacteria. It will also have depended on the temperature of the smoker - If it was above 165-170 F for the 3 1/2 hours, then that would have killed off any bacteria both on the surface of the salmon and the inside the smoker. The slight risk may be any airborne that were around when you were unpacking the smoker. What temperature was it overnight? If it was a cool night then this would also have helped. 

    Without knowing more details it is impossible to say for certain, however if chilled immediately and then quickly used as part of a hot dish it is highly likely that it would have been perfectly safe.

    On a practical note though it would have been you and your family eating it. If you did not feel comfortable eating it then, regardless of how safe it was, the sensible thing would be to throw it away.
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Unless you are intending keeping the brined food for any period of time before cooking and eating there is no reason to use nitrite or nitrite as a preservative. Most people brine things like turkey and salmon to enhance the texture and favour and not as a preservative - and then in order to preserve them they freeze. Once it has been brined, so long as you continue to treat it as you would fresh meat then it is fine. Curing using nitrite/nitrate is more commonly used for the longer term preservation of things like air dried meats - or in the case of bacon to impart the bacon flavour.
  18. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    Hi Wade... I smoked them Sunday and the high was about 82 and the low Sunday night was about 61.  I finished smoking around 4pm (brushed a little honey on them near the very end) when the temperature was probably in the hight 70's.  The smoking temperature was just under and around 200F, I could not keep it any lower than that, so easily above 165-170.  As soon as I found it the next morning I put it in a plastic baggy by itself and put it in the fridge where it still sits.  I'll be putting a bunch of it into the freezer tonight.  
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like Dave & others have given a lot of great info.

    I would just add what I would fall back on----"When in Doubt, Throw it Out". Words to LIVE by.

  20. smokinnn

    smokinnn Fire Starter

    That's likely what I will do.  Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the help!!!

Share This Page