Different methods / recipes for cold smoking salmon

Discussion in 'Fish' started by cmayna, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I first need to thank Frank (fpmich) for his recent post http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/237669/is-this-true-when-using-dry-salt-sugar-cure-on-fish#post_1486181, which got my noggin thinking more about experimenting with more cold smoked salmon recipes.  Though I am pretty happy with my current smoked lox recipe, I'd love to know if there was another recipe out there that would excel what I currently do.

    This is all  fpmich's fault! [​IMG]

    Below I provided the links of 6 different recipes that I find when I google "cold smoked salmon" and listed:

    *  Dry or wet brine

    *  How many hours in the brine, how many hours drying, how many hours smoked.    ( hours brined -- hours fridge dried -- hours cold smoked)

    1. Dry brine - Pitmaster x    .............................................  1-1/2 -- 0 -- 24

    2. Dry brine - barbecuebible   http://barbecuebible.com/recipe/cold-smoked-salmon/   ................................24to48 -- 4+ -- 12

    3. Wet brine - smoker-cooking  http://www.smoker-cooking.com/coldsmokedsalmon.html ...........................6to12 -- 12 -- 12to16

    4. Dry brine - fastandfoodiest   http://fastandfoodiest.com/?p=612 .....................................................................24 -- 4 -- 5to8

    5. Wet brine - Kasilof Seafood  http://www.kasilofseafoods.com/Smoking/cold-smoked-lox.htm  ...............12to24 --12 -- 12to16

    6. Dry brine - Newenglandprovision http://www.newenglandprovisions.com/coldsmokedsalmon.html .............13 -- 12 -- 2

    Which one would you try? My current recipe calls for both a dry and then wet brine session (8 hours each) fridge dry for 5 hours, room dry for 3 hours, smoke for 3 hours.  I could spend forever researching more and more recipes but need to stop somewhere.  :)

    Looking at the above numbers on the right,  I'm having a tough time accepting to smoke for the typical 12 plus hours that most are suggesting.  I'm afraid it will add too much smoke, maybe not?

    Here's a quote I took from #6's recipe which made me chuckle

    "......If you ever read a recipe or article that fish is smoked for days; the writer is wrong and maybe is smoking something else. The salmon should be tasty, slightly salty with a rich salmon flavor backed with a nice smokey finish. Salmon first, then smoke and slight saltiness......"

    Thoughts please
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  2. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Oh SURE!  Blame it on me for this thread's discussion.  I only asked one question, because I've never heard of not drying for pellicle before,  hot or cold smoking. LOL
  3. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you ever read a recipe or article that fish is smoked for days; the writer is wrong
    I am trying to stay away from recipe authors who make absolute statements such as this.

    I normally do a dry brine only. But I read here and in other places about dry then wet brine and plan to try it.

    I know you are not into heavy/long smokes. But I suggest you go for a longer smoke ...just to prove yourself right (or wrong). Worst case....you use the fish in pasta or pate.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  4. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Going thru these recipes as well as others, nothing is set in stone unless it relates to health issues.  It's all to what you happen to like, so why not give it a try. I might try a couple pieces in both a wet and dry brine with both having a longer fridge dry and longer smoke, assuming I can do this when we will have cooler weather.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cold smoked salmon is what is says.... Smoke below ~75 degrees....... how many hours or days is up to the cook... wet or dry brine is up to the cook.... how the fish is prepped is up to the cook....

    If you end up with a product you like, you've got it made.....

    I looked at #1 video.... I don't understand why the cook added 10% salt and 10% sugar then rinsed after 1 1/2 hours.... he has no idea how much salt and sugar "soaked" into the meat.... every piece of meat absorbs stuff differently..... I add 2% of both and let it soak in until thoroughly absorbed..... rinse, form pellicle and smoke... Consistent results every time... I don't smoke continuously.... smoke on... smoke off.... just like the native Alaskans do it... they smoke fish to "cure" it... dry it out... like jerky, so it will last forever in cool weather....

    You have to figure out if the method given is a "factory" hurry up method.... Like making hams... there is the country method that takes 9 months or the factory method that takes 24 hours.... both methods make "ham" but at what cost....
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  6. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I actually like my current smoked lox recipe, but I think I'm restless and having so much salmon in both freezers, I'm just getting antsy  wanting to try other recipes.  When doing a long cold smoke, would you smoke off and on leaving the fish in the smoker all the time.  If so, then yes I need to make sure I pick some very cool weather.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The smoking times etc. are darn near exactly like "old time" bacon.... smoke on / off until it's dry enough to keep in the root cellar all year long....
  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well the weekend after turkey day is suppose to be in the high 50's,  so I might do a smoke on, smoke off over a much longer period than what I'm use to.  Being that low in temp, I assume the fish will be ok sitting in the smoker for the entire duration of smoking, especially since I'll be first curing it for 12-24 hours.
  9. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    I am trying some for the first time too:  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/239921/first-cold-smoked-salmon

    I am between # 3 and #5 because my girlfriend went into work early and I originally wanted her to pull them out of the brine around hour 12 but no ill just pull them around hour 17 once I get home. lol.

    I wish there was an easy thread on what NOT to do, health and taste wise.  that would make it so much easier for us noobies.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you wanted to insure not over salting etc..   You could weigh out the salt, sugar, cure etc. to what is required and spread it over the fish...   OR weigh the fish and water and add the required amounts for the total weight and have an equilibrium brine..   use about 1/3 the weight of the fish for the liquid.....
  11. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    ok i gotcha... but, so what are the "required" amounts?   and is this a safety thing, the required part I am speaking about.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Why are you using a recipe from Smoker Cooking dot com.....    It does not call for cure #1 or any nitrite...   You can get botulism poisoning from salmon.... 


    Required amounts are.....   How much salt you want in the fish... how much sugar...  and how much nitrite (cure #1) is required....  

    Salt: I like 2% and sugar the same...   Cure #1..   I use ~175 Ppm nitrite... (200Ppm is max allowed)...   Dill, Garlic, Onion etc. optional...
  13. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    I also have been trying to find the difference between curing and brining.  I was under the impression that once you pull it from the brine and air dry it in the fridge that was the curing part?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  14. krazykid

    krazykid Newbie

    also I may have screwed up by leaving the brine and the fish in the brine, in the nonstick pot I boiled the solution in initially. :(   everything I keep reading about nonstick/Teflon being non-reactive doesn't seem to be set in stone either.   maybe I should toss the fish and start over?

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