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Making gravlax


Joni
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Darn...I wished I'd planned far enough in advance to make Gravlax for New Year's...next year!

I'ts on my menu for tomorrow. I picked up the salmon yesterday. It only needs 24-48 hrs depending. Mine will go 48 hrs but that's my limit. I have done it in 24 and it has a nice soft texture. It's cured enough for me.

It's picking up the salmon that requires planning -- not the curing! We live out a bit in the hinterlands...

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I know this is a Food 101 question: How is gravlax different than lox ?

I would sure like to make my own Nova type which is less salty than belly lox.

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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David is correct. I make both. I like to make Nova lox most often. It's just so darn easy to brine fish. I do a 15-18% brine with dark brown sugar tossed in the brine. This darkens the color of the flesh without really adding much sweetness. Dry it off and let it sit in the fridge to form a pellicle and cold smoke it. Wonderful results every time.

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Is there a way to smoke in a oven ?

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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I did another one for Christmas, using two different types of salmon -- farm-raised v wild. I really couldn't discern a difference, as I suspected.

Once you have done it a few times, it's quite simple. I had to leave it in brine for an extra 36 hours as I could tell it wasn't the firmness I wanted.

I kept it simple, just using salt/sugar and black pepper/coriander. No smoker for me, unfortunately. Went well with the homemade cream cheese :)

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Is there a way to smoke in a oven ?

A simple low tech way to cold smoke is to use a tin can with a hole punched into side near the bottom and insert a clean soldering iron. Fill the can with wood chips or pellets and plug in the iron. You will get good smoke with little heat production. Your oven is not the place to be making smoke. I've used my grill (not turned on) as a smoke box or a card board box would work. Just do it outside. Wood smoke does pose a carbon monoxide risk so it should be done in a well ventilated area.

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I've read that the minimum time for wet brining is 1 hour per 1/2 inch of fish.

Since I'm often getting 3-4 lb sides the thickest part can be just over two inches. I brine longer than the minimum recommended and brine for 12 hours on average. The fish is not too salty at all and in fact often can go longer. I do refresh in cold water after brining for 15-20 min.

I cold smoke for 1-2 hours which is enough to give it a nice subtle smoke flavor.

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Does anyone have any suggestions for weight of the sides of fish? i'm looking to try this out for a dinner party that i'll be hosting in the next bit and wanted to see how thick and heavy each fillet should be ie how large a fish I should get.

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How many people psiweaver? I made some for a swedish dinner party or 15 people. I purchased a 3.5 # side of salmon and used 2/3 or the side for the gravlax. Each couple brought a Swedish dish so I was told to bring a pound of gravlax. I brought about 2.5 lbs and it barely made it around the table and I cut it paper thin. I actually prefer a thicker cut myself.

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
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From last Easter. Smoked mustard-crusted sockeye salmon and eggs Mireille. Fresh sockeye salmon cured with 6%/3% sea salt/honey and mustard seeds for 48 hours, dried 24 hours with stone ground mustard seeds and lightly smoked in a file cabinet turned smoker. Salmon scraps (rather than tuna and anchovies) were blended into a cooked yolk filling with capers, pickles, mustard, sour cream and such, stuffed back into the whites and topped with a coin of the salmon.

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  • 5 months later...

Go for it! I have a side of Atlantic farmed salmon resting in brine at this very moment. I used a good dose of salt, dark brown sugar, ground coriander and dill seed to make the brine. I'll cold smoke it tomorrow or Saterday after it's had a chance to dry in the fridge.

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Scubadoo, that's my plan..to cold smoke it. I just got a ProQ cold smoke generator. Unfortunately i have to wait until night time, since day time temps here are in the 90s, which is too high for a cold smoke. Night temps are in the 70s, so that should be OK.

I remember you said you only cold smoke for a couple of hours. That seems really short for cold smokign where 12-48 hours is more the norm. Do you also track weight loss of the product to make sure it reaches a certain amount? How long does your salmon keep in the fridge?

How are you cold smoking in florida in summer? What's your rig?

Edited by jmolinari (log)
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I'm not smoking to preserve but just to impart a mild smoke flavor to the fish. My fish was wet brined and I'm not looking to dry it out. I like the silky texture of the fish done this way

I smoke in my electric smoker but use a homemade smoke generator so my smoker is turned off. To allow me to smoke in your balmy temperatures I set my fish on ice packs. Actually they are the jell/foam type pack that I place in a zip bag and then place the fish on top of the ice packs. This has kept the fish quite cool during the smoking process.

We usually eat the lox throughout the week but it could go a bit longer

Here is a picture of my cold smoke generator set into the side of my smoker. It has an air supply to keep the wood chips burning and pump the smoke into the smoker. An in line check valve will help to increase or decrease smoke output.

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salmon in brine.jpg

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Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
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The ProQ is pretty nice. Very similar to another, the A Maze N smoker. The gel packs work really well. I smoked my salmon 2-3 hours yesterday in the smoker which is on my Lani facing due west. It was cloudy but the ambient temp in the smoker with out the ice packs was around 90* With the ice packs it was 65* and the fish was ice cold when I removed it from the smoker. I have used a tray of ice set on the shelf below the fish but even though it brings the temp in the smoker down I've had some superficial cooking of the exterior flesh. Laying the fish down on the ice foam packs has worked like a charm. Oh and breakfast of smoked salmon was thoroughly enjoyed this morning. So easy to make and great way to start the day

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...

I just got a proq cold smoke generator. Take a look at it. It's pretty neat

The ProQ is pretty nice. Very similar to another, the A Maze N smoker. ...

Ummm.

Doesn't smoking take salmon out of the gravadlax category?

Nevertheless, I'd love to hear much more about these passive 'controlled smoulder' cold smoke devices.

Particularly about how usable they might be with non-proprietary sawdust ...

Maybe a thread under the 'Consumer' heading?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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...

I just got a proq cold smoke generator. Take a look at it. It's pretty neat

The ProQ is pretty nice. Very similar to another, the A Maze N smoker. ...

... I'd love to hear much more about these passive 'controlled smoulder' cold smoke devices.

Particularly about how usable they might be with non-proprietary sawdust ...

any saw dust that's made from untreated hardwood will work. Butcher-packer has large bags, pretty cheap.

Thanks Jason, but my question was about the requirements for these specific devices, rather than smoking in general. (And Transatlantic shipping of sawdust is too bizarre for me to contemplate!)

Research elsewhere shows that the ProQ requires very fine and very dry sawdust - emphasis on dust.

Seemingly an electric spice mill can be used to grind sawdust finer, (it doesn't need a large quantity), and a low oven (110C/250F approx) and shallow tray will do the drying.

Of course the raw material should be 'food grade', uncontaminated by, for example, chainsaw oil.

It seems as though with fine enough and dry enough dust the ProQ works really well - just needing the mesh to be lightly brushed occasionally to keep the holes open.

I'm going to have to get one!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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