There are two types of smoking of salmon: cold smoking and hot smoking.
Cold smoking will result in “lox”, which is defined as cured, cold smoked salmon. It is not cooked, so it is soft, supple, pink and needs to be sliced very thin against the grain of the salmon filet. It is generally served with cream cheese and bagels or on a platter with capers, sliced tomatoes, diced egg, shaved red onions, chive cream cheese and toast points (small slices of bread toasted).
Hot smoking is what we are doing here. We will cure the salmon filet, then rinse off the cure and let it dry, then smoke it to 145 F.
- Hot smoked salmon can be used in pasta with a light caper white wine cream sauce
- Smoked salmon sandwiches, as you can make a salmon “salad’, as you would make tuna salad, then assemble the sandwich with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, shaved red onions, baby spinach or mixed greens on rye bread or pumpernickel!
- Mixed in with your scrambled eggs with chives.
Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe Ingredients:
- 1 salmon side, skin-on, boneless, 2 to 3 pounds. Make sure that all the “pin bones” are removed. These are the small bones that must be removed with fish tweezers.
- 1 cup Grate Grinds Pacific sea salt
- 1 cup Grate Grinds Demerara sugar
- 1/4 cup Grate Grinds Chef Seasoning Salt or Lemon-Garlic-Dill Seasoning
- A/R plastic wrap
- A/R aluminum foil
- Cedar plank or sheet pan
- Combine the salt, sugar and spice blend in a small bowl. Mix together until completely combined.
- Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a cedar plank (sheet pan or on the counter) over twice as long as the salmon filet.
- Spread 1/2 (2/3 cup) of the salt/sugar/herb mix on the plastic wrap the size of the salmon filet. Use the back of the measuring cup to smooth out the mix so that it’s even.
4. Pick up and lay the salmon filet, skin side down on the salt/sugar/herb mix. Then spread the remaining mix evenly on the top of the salmon.
5. Fold up the plastic wrap to keep all the edges of the plastic wrap on the top part of the fish. The water in the fish will be drained out of the fish as it cures. Now place a sheet of aluminum foil on the cedar plank (sheet pan or counter) and transfer the salmon filet onto the foil and fold up the foil the same as the plastic wrap.
6. Now place the entire salmon in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours for the salmon to cure. Place some weights on top of the salmon as shown to compress the cure onto the salmon.
7. After 24 to 36 hours, remove the salmon from the refrigerator and remove the foil and plastic wrap. Rinse the cure off the salmon in the sink. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel and place it back on the cedar plank or sheet pan. Place it uncovered in the refrigerator again for 3 to 4 hours to dry out the salmon. The salmon needs to dry out for it to accept the smoke in the smoking process. This dry salmon meat is called getting a “pellicle”.
8. Prepare your smoker so that it is smoking and has a temperature of approximately 250 F. Place the salmon directly on the smoker grill away from the heat source. Smoke it until the salmon reaches 145F. The heavier the smoke the more smoke flavor will be transferred into the salmon. The lighter the smoke, transversely the salmon will have a lighter smoke taste.
9. Transfer the salmon to a platter, cover and refrigerate or serve immediately. Enjoy.