Smoked Salmon

Anyone make cold smoked salmon at home? Seeing as how its gotten so expensive at Costco I want to give it a go myself. What recipes do you use?

I routinely do it for my wife.

Equal parts by volume of Costco Sea Salt and Evaporated Cane Juice as the cure base
To the cure, you can add black or white peppercorns, fresh dill, coriander, etc. as you see fit
Use 2 TBS of cure per pound of salmon (I use skinless antibiotic free farmed from Costco)
Using cling wrap, get a piece that will be large enough the cover the top and bottom completely
Put half of the cure on the cling wrap and then lay the salmon filet directly on the cure
Add the remaining cure on the exposed top of the filet
Wrap tightly with the excess cling wrap and then wrap two or three more time with cling wrap overlapping length and width
Place in fridge for 48 hours in a large baking dish or sheet pan in case of purge leakage
Remove from fridge and cling wrap and then was off the cure and dry thoroughly with paper towels
Back into the fridge for 8 hours on a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan

Now the hard part, keeping a cold smoke going. I have a Weber Kettle and Ranch Kettle. I can have a fire to get my smoke wood smoldering in the little one and then transfer to the Ranch Kettle to with only a log going. In the Ranch Kettle I will also put a disposable aluminum pan filled with ice. By manipulating the vent holes, I can usually get a solid hour out a big chunk of smoke wood. Three to four hours is what I usually target.

Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. What wood are you smoking with?

Apple or Alder

Have tried Cherry and Maple and not impressed.

Oak, Hickory, Pecan and Mesquite are too strong for fish IMO.

Would love some photos of your cold smoke set up next time you make it. Also, are you putting the salmon on a wire rack directly over the ice pan or just putting the ice nearby to keep the general temp cooler?

I put the salmon on a wire cooling rack that goes directly on the cooking grate of the Ranch Kettle. Underneath the salmon is where the ice goes. It does keep the relative temp down quite a bit as long as it is not 100+ ambient.

Thanks for the info, Bill. I’m going to try this once the fall comes. I’ve got an electric smoke maker (uses small pellets) that I’m going to use.

Late to this discussion. I’ve been using an electric wood smoker to make cold-smoked salmon for 13+ years now.

I used to love the salmon from a German couple in Maine near where I go. They retired and I called them for tips. They said the cure: 1/2 salt; 1/2 brown sugar. 2 days total. They used maple and I’ve used that ever since with very satisfying results.

My electric smoker (smokin’ tex) has a thermal plate to put between the woodbox and the rack with the salmon. I load it up with icepacks to cool the smoke. It works great.

Then I cryovac it, and wait a day or so.

One of my proudest culinary fetes. Who would have guessed.

No off taste from the ice packs?

None, Bill. I used to use a bowl of ice cubes…with that concern. But, the pack cool the air and sit on the thermal plate…and the smoke gets cooled above the packs. No effect I’ve ever detected, and I’ve looked for it.

The other question is do you guys only do this in the winter when the ambient outdoor temps are cool enough or are you able to do this at night time in the summer if there’s enough ice in the smoker?

Not when it is 100 here in TX.

All year with my smoker. You do have to watch that the heat that burns the wood is not too high…just enough to create smoke. But…with the thermal plate that I bought and the icepacks on top of the plate, but below the racks of salmon…the smoke stays too cool to cook anything. (Years ago, I did have an issue with the smoke getting too hot…and slightly cooking it; people said to me that they preferred the “other” method more; then, I told them that this was unintended.)

My salmon is curing now. I think I’m going to pipe my Smoke Chief into an old cooler full of ice with the salmon on top.

Are you just cutting a input hole or a vent hole as well?

It has a drain that is about 1/2 inch which happens to be the same size as the Smoke Chief. I was going to get a length of hose to go from one to the other. That should dissipate the heat too. I’m not sure if I need to install a chimney or just leave the top cracked open a bit. I just don’t want anything getting it. I’m going to put a block of ice at the bottom and a rack above it.

I settled on half inch electrical conduit. Decided to not go through the drain since I don’t want water going back into the smoke maker.

I’m making a chunk of ice in a restaurant pan while the salmon is curing.

I started smoking this morning. Didn’t need to add a chimney as the handle part leaks like crazy.

Tim F awesome set up.

Looks like it came out pretty well. I tasted some and it hit me as being extremely smokey but right now my palate is shot from handling all the smoking equipment. Even water tastes smokey to me now. [wow.gif]

The real test will be tomorrow morning when my wife tries it.