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First attempt at lox -SmokinAl method

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Joined Sep 7, 2020
Tried this a couple months ago and just joined the forum, so here it goes with a few pictures:

I followed Al’s method almost to the letter. I didn’t trim up the salmon filets (cut the tails off) since I don’t eat salmon other than smoked. Next time I will trim them up to more square-so the tails can be pulled earlier.

In other research I found a “preferred” list of salmon to use for making lox and my local grocer happened to have fresh (never frozen) filets on sale. I bought 2 large filets. I now know that they will sell a piece of a filet, so next time I’m just buying the good stuff. 🤣

salt soaked, cured, rinsed and dried per Als method. The cure smells amazing, though I wondered about adding a few juniper berries to the cure.

the only deviation from Al’s method was I peppered half of my salmon and sprinkled the other half with dried dill. Of the commercially smoked salmon I USED TO BUY, our house prefers peppered or dill.

I used an AMAZEN rack with apple pellets for smoke in a Kamado “Big Joe”
151110D9-9A2B-4B61-BC1F-B3CE3425C0D9.jpeg
im sure I got a little warm on the smoke and overcooked the salmon. After all, It was July in Texas! Next time I’ll use a LARGE pan of ice to help cool the KJ during the smoking.

the result was slightly overcooked salmon that mostly flaked rather than sliced. The taste though...incredible!
F2ED4BB2-5E8F-494A-A67C-8D4752E005B2.jpeg
we’ve had lox and bagels several times. As well as just eating the more cooked “flaky” smoked salmon with crackers.

cant wait for some cooler weather to try cold smoking it again!
 

forktender

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Did you use a pellet tube and pellets for the smoke? If so you'd be better off with an Amaz'in smoke maze and dust. The dust burns way cooler than the pellets. You can either buy the dust or make it by putting them in a ziplock bag with a cup of water overnight. The next morning drain the water if there is any left then smash the pellets with a potato masher. Then spread the mash out onto a cookie sheet and place into the over at 175-200* until they are dry, stirring them every 30 minutes or so until 100% dry....it works great. If you don't have juniper berries you can use a few splashes of gin a lot of people use vodka as well, I know it sounds gross, it's not it's excellent. I actually prefer a few splashes of vodka instead of the berries or the gin.
 

SmokinAl

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You kind of figured it out on your own, it’s almost impossible to make lox in the summer in the South. I usually make a big batch in Feb., then slice & vac pack in portion sizes. It freezes very well. And I make enough to last the whole year.
Al
 

gmc2003

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I agree with Al. Lox can be difficult to make during the summer months in the north. I couldn't imagine trying it in the south. All in all it looks pretty good to me.

Chris
 

Winterrider

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I do want to give that a try sometime, wasn't sure what the best type of Salmon to use. They occasionally have Alaskan for an extremely high price.
 

sawhorseray

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Too hot to do it up right in Texas during the summer months, as it is here in AZ. I made three batches last winter using Al's recipe to a TEE, it's the best stuff on the planet. Freezes up great when vac-sealed, we have lox & bagel every Sunday. RAY
DSCN1870.JPG
 
23
16
Joined Sep 7, 2020
Did you use a pellet tube and pellets for the smoke? If so you'd be better off with an Amaz'in smoke maze and dust. The dust burns way cooler than the pellets. You can either buy the dust or make it by putting them in a ziplock bag with a cup of water overnight. The next morning drain the water if there is any left then smash the pellets with a potato masher. Then spread the mash out onto a cookie sheet and place into the over at 175-200* until they are dry, stirring them every 30 minutes or so until 100% dry....it works great. If you don't have juniper berries you can use a few splashes of gin a lot of people use vodka as well, I know it sounds gross, it's not it's excellent. I actually prefer a few splashes of vodka instead of the berries or the gin.
I have the AMAZEN 5x8 maze, not the tube. pretty sure I bought it because of a post on here...maybe even because of SmokinAl's tutorial. :emoji_astonished: - I'll try making pellets into dust next time.

If I could have found juniper berries for a reasonable price, I would have tried them. Maybe a splash of gin next time (for the aromatics, not the alcohol LOL),

You kind of figured it out on your own, it’s almost impossible to make lox in the summer in the South. I usually make a big batch in Feb., then slice & vac pack in portion sizes. It freezes very well. And I make enough to last the whole year.
Al
it seems like it's always warm here - I'm thinking of a huge block of ice in a pan next time. Maybe rig up a pan with a drain tube so the pan won't over flow as the ice melts. Ahhhh, projects! :emoji_laughing:

I do want to give that a try sometime, wasn't sure what the best type of Salmon to use. They occasionally have Alaskan for an extremely high price.
I searched this morning, but couldn't find the other website I read before. What I remember: fresh is better than frozen. Wild caught is better than farmed. The "redder" the meat, the more oil content and flavor it has. I think that article recommended King salmon as the best for cold smoking. My local grocer had fresh (never frozen) wild caught Alaskan salmon for $9/pound. I don't think it was King, but maybe it was Coho? It was near the top of the recommended list from the "other" website.

I may be in that store again soon so will have to see what's in the fish case and try to jog my memory :emoji_sunglasses:
 

forktender

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The pinker/actually oranger actually has nothing to do with the oil content. Salmon that have super orange colored flesh have been feeding on krill/ tiny shrimp. Salmon that have pale orange or white flesh /which is pretty rare have been feeding on anchovies, squid, herring and sardines. Which have far more of an oil content than krill fed fish. Chinook salmon are favored for lox just because of their size. Coho Salmon are more flavorful and have a higher omega3 content than any other Salmon. Coho makes the best lox by far in my opinion.
You would be better off buying flash frozen Salmon where you live it's a much better product than what they are calling fresh never frozen Salmon which is most likely 2 weeks old by the time it gets too your market. Salmon flesh starts to decompose the second it is killed even when it's iced in a salt water slush.
 
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tallbm

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Tried this a couple months ago and just joined the forum, so here it goes with a few pictures:

I followed Al’s method almost to the letter. I didn’t trim up the salmon filets (cut the tails off) since I don’t eat salmon other than smoked. Next time I will trim them up to more square-so the tails can be pulled earlier.

In other research I found a “preferred” list of salmon to use for making lox and my local grocer happened to have fresh (never frozen) filets on sale. I bought 2 large filets. I now know that they will sell a piece of a filet, so next time I’m just buying the good stuff. 🤣

salt soaked, cured, rinsed and dried per Als method. The cure smells amazing, though I wondered about adding a few juniper berries to the cure.

the only deviation from Al’s method was I peppered half of my salmon and sprinkled the other half with dried dill. Of the commercially smoked salmon I USED TO BUY, our house prefers peppered or dill.

I used an AMAZEN rack with apple pellets for smoke in a Kamado “Big Joe”
View attachment 462203 im sure I got a little warm on the smoke and overcooked the salmon. After all, It was July in Texas! Next time I’ll use a LARGE pan of ice to help cool the KJ during the smoking.

the result was slightly overcooked salmon that mostly flaked rather than sliced. The taste though...incredible!
View attachment 462202 we’ve had lox and bagels several times. As well as just eating the more cooked “flaky” smoked salmon with crackers.

cant wait for some cooler weather to try cold smoking it again!
Mmmm lox!!!

Yeah I live in TX and I have to wait until January most times to do lox. I do about 12 pounds at one time and vac seal.

What works for me is waiting till we get a 40F or lower set of days coming. THEN I have to buy, prep, and cure the salmon and hope the weather holds out.
If you can get around 40F temps and lower then when you cold smoke you can add pans of ice in the smoker and keep the smoker from going over 70-75F from the pellet heat.

I run an MES40 with a mailbox mod so even then with the smoker off the pellets create enough heat to still need the pan of ice so in TX it's almost impossible to get the smoker temps low enough and keep them low enough for proper salmon lox.

NOW, something u CAN do is cured salmon nuggets or almost dry candy/jerky style in our temps which is awesome but not quite salmon lox.

Gives you something between lox and hot smoked for you to try in our year around heat temps.
 

bgaviator

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I have gotten pretty good at making lox. I too use an Amazen pellet maze at the bottom of my Kamado Joe. I dry brine then use a wet brine to get that silky lox texture. I use this recipe on the Bradley Smoker website. It's great! They provide big batch amounts, as well as at the end there is a recipe for a smaller batch amount for just doing a few fillets. I've only ever used the smaller converted amount listed at the end.

Also one thing I do too is I take a razor blade and score the skin side of the fillets so the salt/sugar mix in the dry bring penetrates from underneath as well. The first time I made lox I didn't score the skin, and it would sometimes taste like the cure hadn't gotten all the way through.


You can really only make cold smoked salmon (at least here in the south) in the fall/winter months.

now, in the summertime, I'd like to try making kippered salmon, which is hot smoked, albeit at a low temp. Not sure if I can get my kamado to hold low enough or not. That's where an electric smoker would be good to have.

There is also the option of making gravlax, which I have done as well. Non-smoked, and just cured with salt, sugar, and dill...sometimes lemon slices. It's a bit firmer/drier of a texture, but still tasty on bagels with cream cheese. You could always used some smoked salt too with gravlax. An easy way to do it is to lay the salt/sugar coated fillets in a vac seal bag and just vacuum seal it....that way all the brine juices stay contained.
 
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