Cold Smoke Salmon – That’s How it Works

Gourmets swear by carefully cold-smoked salmon. If you want to try cold-smoking salmon yourself, you need not only the right equipment but also a little time. It takes up to a week before you can enjoy the finished smoked salmon.

Cold smoke salmon – the right equipment

Salmon is a noble food. To make it last longer, it can be treated with salt and smoke. The cold smoke treatment also gives the salmon a pleasant smoky aroma. The fish fillet remains fresh and fishy-aromatic. For cold smoking you need the following basic equipment:

  • If you own a standard smoker, then you are already well equipped for cold-smoking food.
  • However, you can also smoke in a good, windproof grill. This can be a charcoal grill or a gas grill. Kettle grills are very suitable for this.
  • In addition, you should consider purchasing a cold smoke generator or cold smoke bowl that fits your grill. These are available in both square and round versions.
  • You will also need smoke dust. Beechwood shavings with a grain size of around 0.5 to 1.0 millimeters are recommended.
  • Red cedar flour is also advertised as an option for smoking. Its spicy-resinous, slightly sweet aroma is said to go well with salmon. Sometimes it is not easy to get such cedar shavings.
  • Fill your cold smoke bowl very tightly with the smoke dust and press the chips firmly again. This later results in a better economical firing, which works well at low temperatures.
  • To check the temperature in your smoker, a suitable thermometer should be available or already installed on the cover. Because constant and precise temperature control is also very important for cold smoking.

How to prepare the salmon

First, decide whether you want to smoke the whole fish or just the fillet. It is best to get this fresh from the fishmonger. Plan enough time for the refinement of the salmon. The process takes up to a week. They start with the curing, which is followed by the actual smoking.

  1. Clean the fillets or halves of fish from bones and dab them again briefly with kitchen paper.
  2. Rub the salmon well on each side with a salt and sugar mixture. For this, you use about 100 grams of coarse-grained salt and brown sugar per kilogram of fish. Simply apply more to the slightly thicker areas.
  3. You can refine the curing salt with pepper or spices such as dill, coriander, bay leaves, and juniper berries. You can also use abrasion from an untreated orange or lemon peel.
  4. Place the pieces of fish in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for a day or two.
  5. After the rest period, the salmon has lost a lot of liquid. Pour this off. The fish flesh is noticeably firmer but still translucent. Clean the fillets under running water and then pat dry with kitchen paper.
  6. You can now either let the fish air-dry directly for a day or carry out a preparatory, germicidal alcohol treatment on the fish. Take gin, for example, and brush the surface of the salmon fillets.
  7. Leave it in the fridge for another day – or let it air dry – then you can start smoking. The surface of the fish now shows a slightly shiny patina.

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