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First shot at making Lox

heavymoose

Smoke Blower
76
55
Joined May 22, 2010
I recently had a couple bagels with lox and realized what I have been missing.  The problem is the cost of lox so I decided to try and make some.  I picked up around 3# of salmon from BJs.  I watched a couple videos on YouTube and jumped in.  Last night I coated the salmon with 2 part brown sugar/ one part salt.  After 24 hours I recoated with one part brown sugar / one part salt.  The plan is to stop curing tomorrow evening after 48 hours total.  I will not cold smoke this time, but if all tastes good I will try to put some smoke on it with the a-maze-n smoker next time.  Last night was crazy so I did not get to take any pictures; below is a picture from today after I re-coated with the cure mixture.  I will post more pictures moving forward.  

 

mdboatbum

Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 22, 2011
Looks good! Good call on not cold smoking. While the salt mostly cures it. I'd be wary of cold smoking without actual cure. Next time try some cure #1 or tenderquick if you're wanting to cold smoke.
 

heavymoose

Smoke Blower
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55
Joined May 22, 2010
Thanks MD  - I should have thought about putting some cure#1 in the mixture.  
 

m-fine

Fire Starter
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Joined Jun 21, 2014
Looks good! Good call on not cold smoking. While the salt mostly cures it. I'd be wary of cold smoking without actual cure. Next time try some cure #1 or tenderquick if you're wanting to cold smoke.
I don't get the logic here. The nasty parasites that may have survived the salt cure are not going to get worse with smoking and certainly won't vanish due to not smoking. If it was safe to eat salt cured it would have been safe smoked. Or more to the point, if it would have been unsafe smoked it was unsafe unsmoked as well.

I also am very skeptical that a small amount of nitrate or tender quick will penetrate the meat in sufficient quantities or that it will reliably kill round or tape worms even if it does. Does anyone have a good reference on quantity and time curing to kill these parasites in salmon?

The two ways I know will kill the parasites are sufficient heat (not an option for lox) and proper freezing. Commercially frozen to -35 for 15 hours, a week at -10 or 10 days at -4 if you trust the government. Freezing also helps the meat lose moisture speeding the salt cure and giving you a firmer texture so I will generally go that route but if a little pink salt really works and does not hurt the flavor it will save me a week when comercially frozen is not available. Otherwise I keep it in the chest freezer for a week before cure.
 

daveomak

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Cure...... nitrite is used to eliminate the possibility of botulism.... The other pathogens / bacteria are not a problem when the fish is in the refer... the smoker.... low oxygen environment... is the incubator for botulism.... just a safety precaution due to what botulism can do to you....
 
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m-fine

Fire Starter
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Joined Jun 21, 2014
Ahh, thanks.

When it comes to salmon, I have always been more concerned with the parasites which are hardier than bacteria and can survive the salt cure for my lox/gravlax recipes. From what I have read, the salt alone may not completely stop botulism if the concentration is not high enough but it will dramatically slow it down. British testing showed it took 7 days for vacuum packed smoked salmon intentionally contaminated with an unnaturally high level of botulism to become toxic at room temp (20c) so 2-3 hours in the smoker is not a major concern for me. I am more worried about parasites and cross contamination as well as long term storage since lysteria can survive in a freezer. YMMV.
 

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