Hot smoked or cold smoked, brined or marinated, these smoked salmon recipes create great food that's as good for you as it tastes...a rare quality that you should take advantage of as often as possible.
During the process of hot smoking , the salmon is cooked, reaching an internal temperature of 160 degrees. A better quality is acheived if the smoker gradually rises in temperature, bringing the salmon up to the correct temperature slowly.
The Luhr Jensen Little Chief and Big Chief Smokers are perfect for smoking salmon. On a nice, 70 degree Fahrenheit day, the internal temperature of these smokers hovers around 160 degrees...perfect for salmon. The temperature is controlled by a built in thermostat.
Cold smoking is done at a temperature of 80 degrees or less. Cold smoked salmon is cured, but not cooked, and can take up to three weeks to complete. The process requires many steps, including brining, drying, and smoking. Each of these steps can take a day or more to complete. Cold smoked salmon will take at least several days to finish.
The most difficult part about cold smoking is finding a cold smoker. It usually requires some modification to the smoker to be able to keep the interior temperature of the smoke chamber at 80F or less. I've seen contraptions made out of cardboard boxes and clothes dryer vent hose hooked up to smokers, designed as cooling chambers for the smoked before it enters the smoker. It can take a bit of creativity to cold smoke salmon.
Brining cures the salmon and adds flavor. The brining process can take one or two days to complete. The thicker the fish, the longer it takes to brine properly. Spices, herbs and other seasonings can be added to the brine to give the salmon that just right flavor.
Marinating adds flavor without curing, and helps keep the salmon moist. Wine, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and fruit juices are just a sample of the marinating choices available. You can be as creative as you like with salmon marinades.
To create the best smoked salmon possible, you need to know what to look for when buying your fish. Buying Salmon will tell you about the different species of salmon, their eating qualities, and how to find the freshest salmon possible.
The West Coast of the United States is home to several species of wild salmon, including kings, cohos, sockeye, and chum salmon. Each have their unique qualities. King salmon and sockeye are rich in oil, and the flesh is moist and flavorful. Chum salmon have much less oil, and are a bit drier in texture. Coho salmon are somewhere in between.
Smoked Salmon Recipes
Try one of these smoked salmon recipes. Don't be afraid to do some experimentation. Add a different ingredient for more flavor, or extend the smoking time for a drier, smokier tasting salmon.