My first attempt at cold smoked salmon; so simple and easy with wonderful results – after you’ve done it once you will never even think about buying store bought smoked salmon again!
For the last few years, I’ve wanted to smoke my own salmon for Christmas but between rugby, children and getting everything else sorted I just haven’t found the time. This year, though, I was determined!
I picked up the Thuros tabletop smoker and a CSG a few weeks early and then headed down to the local fishmonger to grab a side of salmon. As it was only us this year I only went for half a side but all I would do is double the salt/sugar quantities and increase the curing time slightly for a full side.
I thought about using an oak/maple mix for the smoke and potentially adding a few extra flavours into the cure. Lots of people seem to add dill, but neither myself nor my wife particularly like the flavour, and since it was our first attempt we decided to go simple. A friend in the US then recommended alder as the preferred smoke of North American fisherman so we thought we’d give that a go.
If you have a chance to do this yourself, please forget about ever buying store bought salmon again. It was so simple and easy to do and the result was spectacular. Thinly sliced on granary bread with a squeeze of lemon and a little pepper, it was a little mouthful of smokey heaven. And even better topping a luxurious scrambled eggs the following breakfast!
Unfortunately, with it being Christmas, we managed to gobble the whole thing up before getting any photos but I’m looking forward to smoking salmon again and will remedy that!
what you’ll need
cold smoked salmon
- side of salmon – deboned with skin on, makes it easier to slice
- sea salt
I was only looking to cure a half side of salmon. If you had a whole side of salmon I would suggest doubling the amounts of salt and sugar and increase the curing time by a couple of hours.
Mix together 120g sea salt with 120g sugar. Pour half your mixture into a container large enough to hold the salmon. Lay the salmon skin side down on top and then pour the rest of your mix on top, making sure the salmon is covered entirely.
Seal and place in the fridge for 6 hours.
Remove from the fridge and rinse off the cure. Lay the salmon back in the container and soak in cold water for 10-15 minutes.
Drain and pat dry the salmon before placing uncovered on a cooling rack back in the fridge for 24 hours to develop the pellicle.
Remove the salmon from the fridge and place on a shelf in your smoker. Pour your wood dust into your CSG and smooth flat. Make sure the dust is below the top of the maze dividers. Light it up and place at the bottom of your smoker. Close the door and smoke for 6-8 hours.
Remove from the smoker and seal in a bag with a vac packer. If you don’t have one wrap with clingfilm and then place in a ziplock bag, pushing out as much air as you can.
Place back in the fridge for 24 hours before you taste – you need to let the smoke settle.
Thinly slice and serve on granary bread with lemon and pepper. Or add to scrambled eggs on toast for a super luxurious breakfast.