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Wild salmon - cold smoke


John Michael
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I just had 8 lbs. of wild caught salmon sent to me. I would like to do a cold smoke on some of it, unfortunately I live in Texas where it is really HOT in May. I have a Weber kettle and a monster custom made smoker (5 ft long, cast iron with a smoke box on the side). I'm looking at a couple of skin on fillets that are about 8 in. long by about 4 in. wide. I'm thinking about setting a couple pieces on a pan filled with ice and smoking them with some peach wood for about 15 min. and then curing them with a brown sugar, alderwood smoked salt and maybe some bay leaves and a splash of vodka reposado tequila. Any ideas?

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I think I would reverse the process.Do the cure for 24 hours, and then cold smoke. Leave the monster smokerfor other jobs--this one requires some delicacy. Using the Weber kettle, ignite about six or seven Kingsford briquets (no, not eight, ten, more than ten, just six or max seven. WHen covered with gray ash, put fillets on grill, indirect heat please, for seven minutes. Do not smoke longer than seven minutes for this particular recipe. Remove from the grill. Sort of a lox/smoked salmon combo.

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Hot smoke them after curing.

I don't have the proper equipment to cold smoke and unlike Alton Brown, I don't work with Rube Goldberg equipment so I don't cold smoke and i live in Wisconsin. I suspect you will end up with a half baked product with your method.(pun intended)-Dick

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I cold smoke salmon in the summer in Florida so the ambient temperature in my smoker can be around 90+ degrees.

I use a home made cold smoke generator similar to this on only tricked out a little more.

http://www.smoker-cooking.com/build-a-cold-smoker.html

I had problems with the surface of my fish getting lightly cooked even with a big tray of ice in my smoker. What has worked for me is using a couple of foam frozen ice packs that I slip in a zip top bag and then put the fish directly on top of the ice packs. I've done smokes for 2+ hours without any noticeable firming of the flesh.

ice pack.jpg

CIMG6170.JPG

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Out of curiosity - does everyone take precautions or at least be aware of parasites/worms when they cold smoke wild salmon? Do you inspect the fish, or do you assume that the cold smoking will kill any parasites?

Monterey Bay area

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Inspection is always assumed for parasites. If truly concerned then freezing will kill them also but it is the curing process that actually kills the parasites before smoking unless you just cold smoke a fillet. Had this once in a Sushi bar and it was unnerving because your mind says smoke and salt but your palate just says smoke!-Dick

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Hi,

Cold smoking salmon produces a completely different product than hot smoking. Smoking at ambient temperature or lower requires some planning and is very much worth the effort. I use the techniques outlined by Jacques Pepin in "Techniques or

"Method" and "Celebrates".

The procedure is to use an insulated smoking chamber. Pepin uses an old refrigerator but a cardboard box, plastic tub or garbage can works very nicely. Ice or a cold water blanket is also effective in lowering the smoke chamber temp to below 75 degrees. In my experience, smoking at 90 degrees does not create the proper texture.

The source of the smoke must be external and not create much heat. Their are a few solutions involving outside heat sources. Pepins solution is a small flower pot (I use a cast iron pot) with an electric charcoal lighter covered with wood chips. The electric lighter is turned on for 10 minutes to create smoke that flows through an aluminum heat vent (a dryer vent is perfect) into the chamber. (There may be two or threes sessions over 30 minutes) This allows smoke to enter the chamber without raising the temperature.

This works very nicely and is worth the effort. It is easier on a cool day but ice and cold wet towels may be utilized on a warm day to cool the smoke chamber.

Tim

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