Prague Powder quantity in Wet Brine for Cold Smoked Salmon

mattree

Newbie
Hey all,

I'm doing my first wet-brined salmon which I'll cold-smoke afterwards. I've dry brined but never wet.

I'm having a hard time figuring out the right way to measure quantities for the brine, especially the Prague Powder. What quantities and rules of thumb do you use?

tx smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
I cannot answer your question but a guy named Ray ( sawhorseray ) does a lot of salmon. I tagged him here so hopefully he will be able to answer your question for you.

Robert

Cheers Robert.

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Convert your fish weight and water weight to grams. Then figure out your ppm of cure #1.
So if you wanted a 154ppm brine in say, 1/2 gallon of water, it would look like this.
454 grams per pound. 2 pounds of fish is 454x2= 908 grams. Water weighs 8.33 lbs per gallon. 8.33x454=3781.8g/2=1890.91g.
908g+1890.91g =2798.91g of total weight.
@ 154ppm cure (cure #1 is 6.25% nitrite)
2798.91g x 0.000154= 0.431/ 0.0625= 6.89g cure.

Or just use diggingdog’s calculator.

tx smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Convert your fish weight and water weight to grams. Then figure out your ppm of cure #1.
So if you wanted a 154ppm brine in say, 1/2 gallon of water, it would look like this.
454 grams per pound. 2 pounds of fish is 454x2= 908 grams. Water weighs 8.33 lbs per gallon. 8.33x454=3781.8g/2=1890.91g.
908g+1890.91g =2798.91g of total weight.
@ 154ppm cure (cure #1 is 6.25% nitrite)
2798.91g x 0.000154= 0.431/ 0.0625= 6.89g cure
Yep, what he said

Robert

mattree

Newbie
This is great info. Thank you!

Would cure #1 or #2 both work so long as I control the nitrite level?

tx smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
My recommendation is do not use Cure #2. That is a totally different animal all together. Stick with Cure #1. The #2 is for long term dry aging of food as opposed to short term then smoke. With #2, no cooking is required, only a LOT of time to achieve the necessary weight loss and low pH factor of dry aged charcuterie.

Robert

mattree

Newbie
Thanks Robert and SmokinEdge . I've got a nice 700g piece of salmon, so with a 1/2 gallon water it comes out to about 6.38g of #1.

I'm using this as a rule of thumb: https://www.meatsandsausages.com/fish/processing/curing

With an 80º salination brine (1.75 cups salt to half a gallon) it reckons only 2hrs or so in the brine. How does that line up with what you do?

Can't decide whether to leave in the brine the fridge overnight, or just let it sit in the brine for 2-3hrs now, then form a pellicle overnight.

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
In my opinion, they always use to much salt for modern time.
personally, I would use no more than 1/2 cup salt In 1/2 gallon of water. All depends on salt you like. If brining for a couple hours, that 1 3/4 cup salt works. If you want to brine over night, I would do the EQ brine. This is based on salt, sugar, percentage to total volume of weight.
I’m using the lowest salt recommended Which is 1.5% along with 1% sugar. This imparts mild flavor on chicken, pork, and beef. Keep in mind fish is the most effected by salt of all meat groups. Longer soak time= lower salt. Short soak= higher salt ok.
EQ would look like this with low salt (1.5%)

700g fish plus 1890.91g water=2590.91 grams total weight.
@ 1.5% salt. 2590.91x0.015= 38.86g salt. ( closer to a 1/4 c)
sugar(to balance the salt) @ 1% would be 2590.91g x 0.010= 25.90g
with this method, your fish, or any meat, can never become more than 1.5% salt and 1.0% sugar. No matter how long it sits in brine. Very tasty.

mattree

Newbie
REALLY stupid question now SmokinEdge but I am new to this. Your method sounds a lot better for letting sit overnight in water four or so times more salinated than the ocean.

With your method, if I wash the salmon off afterwards, pat it dry and leave to air dry a while (normal pellicle forming time) is that fine for me to cold smoke without any other curing steps? I've seen some people say you need to dry cure after a wet brine... seems excessive to me.

Thank you very much for your answers and time... it's surprisingly hard to find a good cold smoking recipe/guide out there.

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SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Once a pellicle forms you should be fine to smoke. That’s how I do it. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to go though.

mattree

Newbie
Amazing. Because in the past I just smothered the salmon in dry brine, this method makes the fish seem so wet -- obviously it doesnt lose as much weight and that makes me nervous. Excited to try this!

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Amazing. Because in the past I just smothered the salmon in dry brine, this method makes the fish seem so wet -- obviously it doesnt lose as much weight and that makes me nervous. Excited to try this!
Are you working with frozen fish, or fresh? Previously frozen meat, of any kind, loses weight when thawed, and takes on more brine than fresh. Fresh meat has less uptake on brine than frozen meat.