Storing smoked fish in fridge

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cmayna, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am smoking a fishing buddy's Salmon this weekend.  Was going to then vacuum seal it and store it in the fridge for 8 days while he's on vacation and give it to him on Monday May 2nd when we go fishing.  Will it last that long in the fridge?   I really don't want to freeze it unless I really have to for we will not have a freezer to put it in while being on the boat for the day.

    Or go ahead and freeze it, then pack it in ice on the morning we go fishing.  It would remain under ice for most of the day in my car.  I would then give it to him and the end of the day.

    Typically I store the smoked fish for a couple days in the fridge while I woof down as much as my tummy can tolerate, then I freeze what's left.

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are you hot or cold smoking it as they will need to be treated differently? The best thing to do will be to freeze it before you smoke it. The texture will still be fine but it will lose about 3% of its moisture when it thaws. Freezing will not noticeably affect its texture or flavour?
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Eat that fish then smoke another fish when you can give it to him within 1 day....     or freeze then vac-pack ...  use cure #1 if the fish can't be under refrigeration at all times....   Vac-Packed fish that gets warm is not a good thing...  200 Ppm max nitrite is the upper limit...  I cure using 160-180 Ppm nitrite..
  4. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    It's a hot smoke.  The fish has been frozen first.  


    I'm too booked right prior to meeting with him, thus why I'm doing it this weekend.   Think I'll just freeze it after I smoke it and deliver it to his house when the time is right.

  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK - In that case you cannot refreeze it. In that case you have several options... As Dave mentioned you could cook and eat it yourself and buy another one to give to him. You could also hot smoke it and freeze it - however this is not so good once it has thawed. I would not suggest doing anything with Nitrite though as this is overkill for fish and you may as well just prepare it as if you were cold smoking.

    What I would do is to cold smoke it instead. If you have never done this before then BE VERY CAREFUL as you will not want to eat plain hot smoked fish again !!!

    For speed simply
    • Fillet the fish and pin bone it.
    • Make a cure mix of 50% salt and 50% caster sugar. Mix in some fresh shopped dill of fennel leaves if you want.
    • Liberally coat both sides of the fish with the cure and allow it to cure for 24 hours on a wire rack in the fridge.
    • Wash the fish under a running tap with cool to lukewarm water to remove all of the cure. Pat dry with a paper towel.
    • Cold smoke for 24 hours between room temperature and about 28 C (80 F)
    This will give you an idea of what you are looking to achieve...

    The thing to remember is that here you are providing bacterial control by increasing the salinity in the fish, reducing available water and also supplying smoke - which is a mild antibacterial agent. The curing increases the salinity and the smoking at that temperature accelerates the water loss from the fish and provides the antibacterial smoke.

    Once you have got it to this stage then you are looking at (commercially) 10 days of chilled shelf life. You coule either slice it and give it to him as traditional sliced smoke salmon or cut it into steaks, vac pack and freeze.

    If you decide to freeze then on some of the fillets you may want to first add a little sliced fresh ginger, a ring of thinly sliced lemon and a thin slice of chilli. When he wants to eat it then he can simply boil it in the bag to get a wonderful fragrant dish. (12 minutes from thawed or 15 minutes from frozen)

    Remember though that this is fully cured smoked salmon and could be thawed, sliced thinly and eaten raw.

    Photo of Woodchurch Smokery Salmon curtesy of SlimJimUK
  6. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Thanks for your very detailed reply, but 95% of my smoked salmon is hot smoked and I then refreeze it.   I'll be doing the same with this fish, for I don't want to risk it.   All our fishing buddies like my hot smoked salmon, even if it's been refrozen after being smoked.  I don't do much cold smoked for my fish is more of a finger food being Salmon jerky, nuggets and chunks.  The only cold smoke I do is to lox, but in very small quantities.   I was just curious as to how long hot smoked salmon would last in the fridge if vacuum sealed.

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Craig - When I said that you could not re-freeze it I was meaning before you hot smoked it. Once you have hot smoked it, the fish has been further processed and can then be re-frozen - but I was under the impression from your post that was what you wanted to avoid doing.

    If you hot smoke and vac pack you will also be looking at a maximum safe chilled life of 10 days as the hot smoking temperatures will not be sufficient to kill off any botulinum spores that will be present.
  8. delbbq

    delbbq Fire Starter

          I've smoked alot of salmon..Smoke..Vac Pac..Freeze.. put packages in container filled with water..Freeze..will last years..!!

  9. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Thanks for the clarification.  My friend has asked me to go ahead and freeze his fish after smoking, so we don't need to be in a hurry.    Regarding the cold smoke method that you mentioned earlier, I think I might give it a try one of these days just so I can experience another method.  "what if"  keeps coming to mind.......


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