Cold Smoked Salmon Wthout Cure #1. Need Advice

Discussion in 'Other' started by smesh, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Hi guys.

    So I picked up some wild sockeye salmon that had been previously frozen, excited to make my first batch of lox using my MES 30" and Cold Smoking Kit. I decided to follow a traditional Nov Lox recipe that did NOT have pink salt in it. I brined the salmon for the past 48 hours in the fridge with ice in a ziploc in top of the fillets.  The fillets were on a cooling rack (skin on) suspended above a cookie sheet so that all the juice actually dripped away. There was salt on the bottom skin but most was on top.

    Last night I removed them from the fridge and rinsed them, then patted them dry. They were quite firm. I put them back in the fridge on the rack and left them to dry.

    I didn't plan to desalinate them, but today at noon, I decided to do it. I put them in a cake pan with water and ice and put them back in the fridge for about an hour-hour and half, then removed them, patted them dry with paper towels and put them back on the cleaned rack over the cookie sheet lined with paper towel. I planned to dry them again until tomorrow or Saturday, then cold smoke them for several hours.

    But now...I'm starting to wonder if I should have just used prague. Ugh.  $24 worth of salmon that I hoped to serve on Sunday, but I'm worried that if I do, everyone might get sick. I was pretty careful about keeping things clean and cold, but what if I messed up?  Is the salt enough to make this safe?

    Temperatures in CA where I live are running from 48 at night to 63 during the day. If I smoke a long time without prague, could the meat grow bacteria and get people sick? 

    Is it possible to make some brine with prague and put the fish back in for a day?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  2. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey SoCal, NorCal here,

    What is this prague you mentioned?  I thought it was a city far away LOL . 

    Seriously, I do a fair amount of smoked lox and I don't use any kind of cures.   I dry brine for 7-8 hours, then wet brine for another 7-8 hours.  Rinse for 20+ minutes to bring the salt flavor down a little.  Air dry for a couple hours then cold smoke for 2-3 hours.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  3. Prague is insta cure #1.

    Yeah I think I'm going to go for it and just try it myself. I probably shouldn't have desalinated, since that is not part of most recipes for authentic nova lox. The extra salt probably helps with curing and flavor. I didn't want my salmon to taste like ham or bacon which would have happened from using the insta cure.

    I'm going to let it dry and smoke it tomorrow morning with plenty of ice in the cold smoker. I want to smoke it for a good long while, but haven't decided exactly how long. I'm thinking at least 6 hours. Then I'll stick back in the fridge for at least 24 hours with a bag of ice on top before slicing up and taste testing. Hopefully I don't get really sick for my party on Sunday. That would be bad.

    P.S. Where's the puking smiley? ;)
  4. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have you cold smoked lox that long before?   To me, it seems awfully long and might be way over powering for lox.  I also don't think it is necessary to use ice for this application.  Oops!  forgot you are using a MES30 + their cold smoker device.

    Let's see some pics of your process.

  5. Never cold smoked lox before.

    Okay. Maybe I'll try a shorter period this time out. I did beef tenderloins cold smoke for 90 minutes and they were plenty smoky tasting when I grilled them to medium rare later.

    I watched this video and they cold smoke for a very long time, although it's probably very cold in their smoker. Not sure. They don't mention cure #1 and doubt they use it, since it would taste like ham.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  6. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK, what I saw in that video versus what we can do here at home is so freakin' different.  I will again say that if you cold smoke Salmon for 6 hours, you will loose the taste of Salmon.  Way too smokey. 
  7. Here's another good video by the same company. They smoke up to 5 hours using saw dust. Check out 2:40 and beyond.

  8. I cold smoked for 3.5 hours.  Did some salt while I was at it. Smells pretty good. We'll see how ti is after 24 hours chilling on a cooling rack in the fridge. Hope I don't get sick. We'll find out tomorrow night. :)
  9. Just to let everyone know. It was fine. It's all gone now. Served it all at a party on Sunday after my wife and I both tested it. Everyone loved it. :)  Will get some pictures up shortly.
  10. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey,  a happy wife is a happy life.  Congrats.
  11. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice colour. Good smoke.
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice looking smoke! Just an FYI adding #1 to fish wont impart a hammy flavor on the fish. Just in case you want to use it in the future.
  13. Smesh, that looks fantastic!

    What recipe did you use or is it a secret?

  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smesh, morning.... Something to consider..... Like dirt said, the fish will not taste hammy.... As for nitrite making folks sick, that is not true... they may get sick if you do not use it.... Pink Salt, Cure #1, Prague Powder are all 6.25% nitrite, 93.75% Salt, here in the US.... 1 level tsp. per 5 #'s of meat will deliver approx. 156 Ppm nitrite... Here is some reading if you wish to read it.....

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