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Tastes of Home part five - Home smoked salmon

By September 08, 2015 , , , , ,

There are certain cooking techniques that you think to yourself "I'll never try that at home, its probably too difficult". That's what I thought about smoked salmon, you think its some complicated long drawn out process, but with the right tools its pretty easy.

I've smoked other foods before such as bacon and brisket but this was hot smoking (still relatively lowish temps) with the Big Green Egg. With fish I always found that even with a 50 Celsius temp the fish could end up cooking slightly when using smaller pieces. That's when I decided to purchase a cold smoker. I bought the open one rather than the enclosed stove top version as I could still use the egg as the conduit without having to light charcoals. For those of you without an Egg you can use a BBQ that has a closed lid and vent or improvise with a large tin drum if you can get hold of one. Those of you with a stovetop version can use that if you like.

So I had the kit, all I needed to do was find a nice piece of salmon. I trawled the local market and settled on Irish rather than Norwegian as I always find that the Norwegian Salmon can be a bit oilier with a higher fat content and the Irish has a more closed and firm texture and not as fatty. I may be a bit biased having grown up not far from the west coast in Ireland and having good access to some pretty good Atlantic and wild salmon.

If you are intending to smoke fish then you will need a couple of days prep ahead of the actual smoke itself. You'll need to salt or brine the fish to cure it and add flavour and then once cured you'll need to wash the cure off and then allow to dry so that it forms a pellicule (a dry film which helps the smoking process and gives a more even smoke). When smoking the time will vary depending on how big the piece of fish is, so keep checking as you are smoking to see how the flavour is developing.

Once smoked the fish will keep for up to 14 days in the fridge or freezes quite nicely for later use.

Smoked Salmon

1 piece of salmon for this recipe I used 500g
20g salt
A cold smoking kit (see above picture)
Your choice of wood shavings (not wood chips), I used hickory for this recipe, beech, apple or oak are also good. Be careful with oak as it will give a pretty strong flavour.

Sprinkle the salmon with salt and place in a dish in the fridge for 24 hours
After 24 hours wash the salt off the salmon and pat dry, place back in the fridge for another 24 hours to air dry
Now you are ready to smoke
Place the smoking kit in the BBQ (I clear out any charcoal remnants before doing so) and light the shavings, give it a while until it gets going
Place the griddle in the BBQ and the salmon can be laid on this
Check the salmon regularly for progress in flavour by taking a small piece and tasting it
I smoked my piece for 3 hours and got a nice subtle smoky hit without it being too overpowering, you can keep going longer if you prefer a stronger smoky flavour.

I like to serve this on traditional soda bread or with my potato cakes

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