Smoked Salmon is a delicious and healthy option for any occasion. It is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and it can be easily prepared in your smoker. While it may seem like a daunting task to make smoked salmon at home, it is actually quite easy to do with a few simple ingredients and some patience.
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Smoked Salmon is a nutritious and delicious food that can be enjoyed in many different ways. While it is often thought of as a luxurious ingredient, smoked salmon is actually quite versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Whether you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner or a show-stopping appetizer, smoked salmon is the perfect ingredient to help you create a memorable meal. In addition to being delicious, smoked salmon is also packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and provides a good source of protein. So whether you are looking for a healthy meal option or simply want to enjoy a delicious food, smoked salmon is the perfect choice.
How To Make Smoked Salmon
Step 1 – Brine
Mix together the sugar, salt, and water in a glass or plastic container to create your brine. Place the salmon in the brine, ensuring that the entire fillet is submerged, then place in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours, depending on the thickness.
This curing process eliminates some of the moisture from the inside of the fish while at the same time infusing it with salt, which will help preserve the salmon.
Step 2 – Pellicle
Take your fish out of the brine, rinse it briefly under cold running water, and pat it dry. Set the fillets on your cooling rack, skin side down. Ideally you’d do this right under a ceiling fan set on high, or outside in a cool, breezy place. By “cool” I mean 60°F or cooler. Let the fish dry for 2 to 4 hours (or up to overnight in the fridge). You want the surface of the fish to develop a shiny skin called a pellicle which seals moisture and creates a sticky surface for the smoke to stick to.
Step 3 – Preheat Smoker
With this recipe, we’ll be starting at a low temperature, then gradually increasing the temperature every few hours. It is important to bring the temperature up gradually or you will get that white albumin “bleed” on the meat. I recommend starting the process at 100°F.
Step 4 – Smoke Salmon
Start by brushing the skin of your fish with some oil, so it won’t stick to the smoker rack.
Start by smoking the salmon at 100°F for 2 hours on a grill with soaked chips. After two hours, increase the temperature to 140°F and continue smoking another 2 hours. Then, increase the final temperature to 175°F for one hour, or until the thickest part of salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F.
Every time you increase the temperature of the smoker, it’s recommended to baste the salmon with maple syrup or honey. This is a good way to brush away any albumin that might form.
Step 5 – Remove, Rest, and Serve
When the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F at the thickest part, it’s time to remove it! Let your smoked salmon rest on a cooling rack for an hour before putting it in the fridge or serving. Enjoy!
Tips For Making The Best Smoked Salmon
- Don’t Over Brine. It is possible to brine your salmon for too long, resulting in an unbearably salty piece of fish. As a general rule, you should not leave the salmon in the brine for longer than 8 hours.
- Too Much Albumin. If you notice too much albumin forming on your salmon (white substance “bleeding” out), it’s possible you’re smoking at too high of a temperature. Try lowering the temperature to avoid this.
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Smoked Salmon FAQs
Can I brine my salmon the day before?
Yes, you can brine your salmon the day before, however, it should not be soaked in the brine for more than 8 hours. After 8 hours of soaking your salmon in brine, you can remove and refrigerate for up to two days.
How long does smoked salmon last in the fridge?
Once refrigerated and wrapped in plastic, smoked fish will keep for 10 days. If you vacuum-seal it, the fish will keep for up to 3 weeks. Or freeze your fish for up to one year.
What type of salmon should I used for smoked salmon?
The best type of smoked salmon is Sockeye salmon. It has a high Omega-3 content and a rich flavour.
How long does it take to smoke salmon?
It takes about 5 hours to smoke salmon if you start at a low temperature and gradually increase.
What can I make with smoked salmon?
Some of our favourite dishes to make with smoked salmon are smoked salmon dip, smoked salmon pasta, and smoked salmon chowder.
- 5 pounds salmon
- Birch or maple syrup for basting
- 1 quart cool water
- 1/3 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Create the brine by mixing together the sugar, salt, and water in a non-reactive container (plastic or glass). Place salmon in the brine and ensure it is completely submerged. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours depending on the thickness of your fillets.
- Remove the salmon from the brine, rinse it briefly under cold water, and pat it dry. Set the fillets on your cooling rack, skin side down, near a fan or in a cool, breezy place. Let the fish dry for 2 to 4 hours. You want the surface of the fish to develop a shiny skin called a pellicle.
- Preheat smoker to 100°F.
- Brush the skin with oil or brush the entire grilling rack to prevent sticking.
- Start by smoking the salmon at 100°F for 2 hours on a grill with soaked chips. After two hours, increase the temperature to 140°F and continue smoking another 2 hours. Then, increase the final temperature to 175°F for one hour, or until the thickest part of salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F. Every time you increase the temperature of the smoker, it's recommended to baste the salmon with maple syrup or honey.
- When the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 145°F at the thickest part, it's time to remove it! Let your smoked salmon rest on a cooling rack for an hour before putting it in the fridge or serving. Enjoy!