Lox - Save that summer catch for later

Discussion in 'Fish' started by herkysprings, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Lox. Its awesome.

    Sliced thin on a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese, capers and some red onion. Lox is by far my favorite thing to make in a smoker.

    It freezes extremely well, even gets better with age. Save your summer catches and try this out.

    My recipe comes from the Bradley smoker forums. Its a cold smoke, so you may have to wait unit fall to make it, so freeze those salmon fillets!


    I'll go through my experience with it here.

    First off, I used farmed (yeah i know...) Atlantic salmon to practise with, and it turns out GREAT.

    You are gonan need a lot of salt and sugar, and the cure will last well in an air tight container.

    Note I mixed my cure in this container. Dont store it in metal, use a plastic bucket. Next the brine ingrediants.

    I set my brine up ahead of time to get it chilled.

    Ok so hint #1. In this picture you'll notice the fillets are touching each other and the sides. You really dont want this. You want a decent layer of cure inbetween the fillet meat and sides. The cure "cooks" the meat so make sure its a decent layer. Also if you do multiple layers (3 max) put larget fillet cuts on the bottom. The tail pieces may "burn" in the cure. They actually will come out a bit saltier, so just freshen them in water more than the other cuts. I also tried 1/2 fillets and 1/4 fillets and noticed not too much difference.

    Now (following the recipe) when they come out of the cure they are going to feel tougher and almost jerky like. Dont worry, they will get back to "lox" texture in the brine.

    Ok so if anything you really need to time the cure and brine stages. I will usually try for having the fish in the cure during a saturday, then putting it into the brine at night. It's not too bad to have it inthe brine too long, because you can freshen later to reduce saltiness, but too much cure can really ruin the fish.

    Once the brine stage is done, freshen in water. At this point you can cut off a small piece and taste for saltiness. Different thickness of fillets may take longer, but on the whole I just follow the recipe.

    I let the fish sit (not quite like this) on the teflon racks for the bradley until the peticule forms. Also this is where you can get them to the texture you want, so you can let it go longer or shorter. However the longer the brine / freshen stage, the longer this may take. Since I brine overnight I can take Sunday to wait this part out.

    Once they are ready into a cold smoker they go. In my bradley I fill 4-6 pop cans with water, which have been frozen in the bottom rack, plus ice cubes, to maintain less than 80F. Over 80 and you will start cooking these, so during the summer this can be very hard to do.

    Smoking time is short, maybe an hour depending on how much smoke you like. Also the fish gets better as the oils and flavours mix.

    Slicing this is as important as anything else. You want to cut the fillets as PARALLEL to the cutting board as possible, and as thin as possible. Tail to head direction if you can. The result will be amazing.

    Like I said it freezes very well, and gets better over time.

    I hope you liked this, the recipe is very involved and the lox is amazing.
  2. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    "Save that summer catch"
    This is one fish we can't catch here except at the local market.

    Your technique is interesting. I've done wet brine and dry cure but not both. Between the two I like the wet brine but maybe doing both will bring the best of both.

    I've done Nova "lox" many time and have several sides of steel head trout in the freezer ready to thaw for making Nova. The word lox is used loosely here as lox or belly lox are not cold smoked but that's the part that I like. Before making my own I would buy Nova not lox. Always found lox too salty.

    I'm hoping to do some this weekend and will try your technique.

    Thanks for the tips.
  3. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    You got that right about lox on a bagel with cream cheese capers and some red onion!

    I couldn't connect with the link you provided so please bear with my questions.
    How do you introduce the smoke? Are you introducing the smoke through a Smoke Daddy device into a smoker whose temperature is controlled by ice? If yes then could I theoretically get a large 80 Quart cooler, rig up some thing to support racks, put a block of ice in there, and pipe in smoke into the cooler? A small vent on the top of the cooler would probably be necessary to enourage the flow of smoke? An hour or two would do it you think?
  4. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    The ice is mainly used in this case to keep the chamber section of my Bradley below 80F, since the smoker generator is in the same chamber as the fish and burns wood pucks.

    The key in this cold smoke is to keep the fish in a contained smoker that NEVER gets to 80F, or the fish will cook from heat. What ever you can rig up on your smoker to cold smoke will work as long at you keep that fish under 80F.

    As for smoke duration, I know that the Bradley throws out a more condensed smoke than just burning wood. You could try smoking for 2 hours and taste test, but the finished product doesn't come together until many days after. Usually this just means a more integrated flavour than a stronger smoke flavour. Even a bit less smoke than you may like will give you a great finsihed product!
  5. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Herky,

    I'll give it a try. How long does it ususally take for the flavors to meld ?
  6. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    For those that don't have a Bradley, Cookshack or Smoke Daddy you can always use the tin can/soldering iron method for cold smoke production. This is what I use but also try to hold the ambient temperatures down in my smoker with ice or foam ice blocks. The ambient temps are just too hot here in Fla.

    I agree the flavors improve over the first couple of days. Cold smoked salmon usually doesn't last more than a week in our house.
  7. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Honestly its good after a day, after a week its pretty great.

    I've eaten some that was frozen for months and it was awesome. Some people swear months later its at its best as the oils in the fish have a chance to really meld with everything. As others have mentioned, its very hard to keep it that long.

    Another great thing to make with it is to slice it a bit thicker, then dice it a BIT. Then fold it in with some cream cheese for a "lox spread". Careful to not over mix or you'll bust up the chunks.
  8. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    herky -

    thanks for the outstanding post ~ will be giving this a try in the future for sure!
  9. cajunsmoke13

    cajunsmoke13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice job Herk....That looks awesome..

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