Hello and Welcome. I can't help with this one. Wade is the fish smoking man here. I am sure he will but if he doesn't chime in soon look him up at the link below. "RATTLE HIS CAGE" ( he is getting older and dozes off now and then
) and send him a private message and ask him to look at your Thread. You will see that option on the left side of his personal page. Send him the link to your thread in the PM. He will sort you out. Hope it goes well. Keep Smokin!
What kind of smoked salmon are you looking to produce and what equipment do you currently have?
Smoked Salmon can mean different things to different people. Are you looking for a traditional sliced smoke salmon, a smoked salmon fillet to cook or something like Gravadlax?
I usually smoke my traditional salmon as salmon halves and then thinly slice them. You can smoke ready filleted sides of salmon though. It is important to ensure that the salmon is as fresh as possible and that it still has the skin on. You are looking to cure (preserve) the salmon using a combination of techniques 1) increasing the salt content 2) reducing the moisture content 3) using the smoke as a mild antibacterial. The important two are the salt and the moisture reduction. The smoke has more to do with flavouring.
It is prepared in 2 stages:
Firstly the salt is added and used to begin removing the moisture. This can be done in a metal tray lined with clingfilm. Simply make a 50:50 mix of salt and caster sugar and liberally coat both sides of the fish. Place it on a wire rack in the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours you will find that a large amount of water has collected in the bottom of the tray.
Rinse off the fish under running water to remove any remaining cure and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Secondly you need to place it in your cold smoker with plenty of air flow so that the fish takes on flavour for the smoke and continues to lose moisture. This will take a further 24 hours. By the end of the smoke the fish should have reduced in weight by about 18% due to the water loss and will have taken on a sheen.
Place in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) before slicing.
If you would like to see a step by step them you can look here
That is great. The important thing is to get the water content down. You can regulate the smokiness by using different woods and different times exposed to the smoke. If you don't like it too smoky, after you have smoked it for a while you can even leave it in the smoker without smoke (but with good air flow) until you achieve your weight loss.
Looking good Steve. No that will be fine. It depends on the water content of the salmon at the beginning. If it was previously frozen then it will have already lost ~3% as it thawed before you even added the cure. If it was bought fresh then the original moisture content may have already been reduced from it sitting uncovered on the fishmongers slab for a few hours. The 18% loss is what you aim for from fillets that have been freshly removed from a whole fresh fish.
The skewer technique works well for hanging the fillets doesn't it
Looks good, I did a couple of sides for the first time, just before Easter and found the finished flavour gets even better if left to rest for 2-3 days before eating after the initial smoke. Straight from the smoker it just tasted of strong oak smoke for me. But that subsided after 48-72 hours and the fish and marinade shone through.
Also I found 1 inch of either end of the side, the fish was much moister as the ends seemed to be very dry and smoky even after the resting period. Thought I had ruined my salmon because of this, but realised I hadn't once I got to this part of the salmon side...
These points may be relevant to just me but may be of help if you come across the same situation as me?
Steve - that does not look half bad. A great first attempt.
The main difference to the way I slice mine is that you have taken straight slices across the fillet - which results in thin cross section slices. If you were to slice along the fillet angling back to the tail then you would end up with the larger "D" slices that you often see commercially.
That could be not enough air flow through the smoker I Jerry rigged a PC fan up to induce airflow something wade reccomend way back in the mists of time. It does need doing properly one day but it works ok