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Mick

Xmas smoked salmon

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Hi, is it too early to smoke some salmon for Xmas and new year? What would be the shelf life after smoking?

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I would leave it until the end of the week then you are good to go. The official shelf life (vac packed at <4 C) is 10 days but it is fine for up to 2 weeks.

If you already have the salmon, fillet it and pop it in the freezer until the day before you will cure it. The freezing and thawing actually helps initiate the initial water reduction in the fish.

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Yes Maldon is OK, although it is an expensive option. The type of salt used in the cure makes little difference to the end result as it is there to remove water from the fish and most is lost in the brine produced. I took advice in the early days from Forman & Field and they use, standard fine grain cooking salt - the same as you buy in 1 Kg packs in most supermarkets for ~50p per Kg. 

Whichever brand you use, it is best if it is fine grain - as this mixes more evenly with the sugar to give a more homogenous cure. If you do use the Maldon and it is in flakes, pulse it in the coffee grinder for a second or two to break them down. You are looking for fine grains and not a fine powder.

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Thanks, do I just mix salt and sugar 50 50? And sprinkle over, I am worried about ruining it by making it too salty which is what happened with my bacon when I used Maldon salt

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Mix the salt and sugar 50:50 in a large bowl - I have a big plastic sweetshop candy jar that I put it in and give it a good shake.

  1. place the salmon fillet skin side up in a roasting tray and liberally cover the surface with the cure mix.
  2. Turn it over and do the same for the flesh side.
  3. Pick up the fillet by one end and give it a gentle shake. Much of the cure will drop off - but what remains is sufficient.
  4. Lay the fillet skin side down ** on top of a cake cooling rack inside a roasting tray. If you can rest the rack at an angle it will help the water extracted from the fish to drain off into the tray. You do not want the fish to stand in the extracted water/brine or it will become very salty.

** you can rest it flesh side down but it can form ridges in the flesh as it firms up. Salmon fillets I cure skin side down and salmon steaks skin side up.

If you have a large enough tray (and fridge) then rest the cooling rack over one end of the tray to make the slant. Here I have used 2 racks - one flat in the bottom and another at an angle. This keeps the fish above any brine produced.

455049234_Salmonsalted.thumb.jpg.b87599eb2cf4147260d6c563397b71fa.jpg

If you dont have one big enough then you can simply rest the rack over the top of a smaller tray

68330929_Alternativetray.thumb.jpg.4687bca048820fdaa6cf1f023558f8ca.jpg

You will be surprised just how much water/brine will come out of the salmon in 18-24 hours

2127433474_Brineaftercure.thumb.jpg.0ea229a4062e00addc22c87882c56c6e.jpg

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Ok just got my salmon, fresh from billingsgate, a 2kg side going to follow Wade's instructions and hopefully will have it for xmas

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Good luck with yours, started curing my 2 sides today, hopefully get a 12 hour dry window before the 22nd to smoke and settle, so I can make it on xmas eve  . Promised to make this for starters at the family gathering using the smoked salmon.. Started to smoke 2 bacon loins yesterday, managed 5 hours before the heavens opened and haven't stopped since. Fingers crossed their is an 18 hour window to get them both done Fri eve/Sat morning.

British weather 😠

Edited by sotv
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19 hours ago, sotv said:

Good luck with yours, started curing my 2 sides today, hopefully get a 12 hour dry window before the 22nd to smoke and settle, so I can make it on xmas eve  . Promised to make this for starters at the family gathering using the smoked salmon.. Started to smoke 2 bacon loins yesterday, managed 5 hours before the heavens opened and haven't stopped since. Fingers crossed their is an 18 hour window to get them both done Fri eve/Sat morning.

British weather 😠

That looks a great starter, good luck

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Can anyone help I am not sure if it is cured properly, it was 2kg and got about 100ml of liquid, over 24 hours, it is sticky to the touch but not very firm

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3 hours ago, Mick said:

Can anyone help I am not sure if it is cured properly, it was 2kg and got about 100ml of liquid, over 24 hours, it is sticky to the touch but not very firm

Not sure if any help to you, as I use a different recipe to yours, but took these 2 sides out at midday today, they came out quite rigid (normal for this recipe), but after running under the cold tap for 10 minutes and patting dry and so far being in the fridge for 4 hours , they are already spongy but dry to the touch, and a pellicule has formed . I will baste them with a little gin in the morning, before smoking them (weather permitting).

I have already done a taste test and the meat tastes fine and has a good texture, have you done that?. Do you think if you ran a knife along it would slice or tear? The first one I ever did was almost like sushi and tore nothing like what I manage to do now. Have you tried a small piece off the tail end to see how it tastes and feels in the mouth?

 

IMG_0124.thumb.JPG.1cde9502f4d3f864b6785095dfcc1a11.JPG

 

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I am unable to taste it as I don't like salmon in any form let alone raw lol, to me it looks the same as it started, I was unsure when adding the salt and maybe didn't add enough, it's on the smoker now so hopefully it will dry there, probably leave it smoking 24 hours

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Probably not a lot you can do about it now, but maybe post the quantities of salt and sugar you used, with the weight of the fish and maybe Wade or someone else who uses the same recipe you used, can advise you if you have used the correct amounts, for peace of mind?

When you come to slice it after smoking will give you an idea on how successful it has been, hopefully. Fingers crossed all turns out well for you, I am sure it will.

Never knew so many people had an aversion to salmon, until recently but have come across quite a few people, who do now. i can sit and eat a whole packet of smoked salmon in one go to myself (I did last night), love the stuff :hungry-2:

 

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I just mixed sugar and salt and threw some on then gave it a shake lol, as you say it is what it is now, it did lose a bit of moisture so fingers crossed, 

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The amount of moisture lost with the salt/sugar will depend on several factors.

Had the salmon been previously frozen? If so it will lose 2-3% of its water during the thawing process.

Was the salt and sugar fine grained? You are looking for a grain size of fine table salt and either caster or granulated sugar. Larger grain sizes tend not to stick so well to the surface of the fish

It did lose a reasonable amount of water so it will be fine. Yes, leave it in the smoker for 24 hours. Make sure though that the smoke generator stays alight so that the heat it generates keeps the air inside moving through convection. A good temperature in the smoker for smoking salmon is ~20 C

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3 hours ago, Wade said:

The amount of moisture lost with the salt/sugar will depend on several factors.

Had the salmon been previously frozen? If so it will lose 2-3% of its water during the thawing process.

Was the salt and sugar fine grained? You are looking for a grain size of fine table salt and either caster or granulated sugar. Larger grain sizes tend not to stick so well to the surface of the fish

It did lose a reasonable amount of water so it will be fine. Yes, leave it in the smoker for 24 hours. Make sure though that the smoke generator stays alight so that the heat it generates keeps the air inside moving through convection. A good temperature in the smoker for smoking salmon is ~20 C

Thanks Wade, it was fresh and I used fine grained salt and sugar, the smoke generator will be going constantly, will I know when I come to slice whether it was cured enough?  If it wasn't will it just taste different? 

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So the smoke generator went out last night, I have re lit it and going to have to baby sit it for next 12 hours, was cold last night so no problems just a right pain, this is for a friend so pretty stressful

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