UK BBQ Mag Winter 2016/2017 - Page 32

Cold Smoked Salmon


Working with fillets of Salmon which have been pin boned, the first stage to making your own smoked salmon is to cure the fish with salt.

Weigh the fillet and then calculate 7.5% of the weight. This is the amount of dry salt you will need to cure the surface of the salmon.

Using a non-reactive dish or tray, lay the salmon on a thin layer of salt and gently sprinkle the pre-weighed salt on the surface of the salmon proportionately to the thickness of the fish.

Place in the fridge and cure for 8 hours. Remove from the fridge and rinse under cold running water.

Pat dry and place on a wire rack back in the fridge to dry for 24 hours.

Don’t cover so the fish can breathe and lose more of its moisture. This is an important time as the fish will form a pellicle. This will help the smoke stick to the fish when in the smoker.

After 24 hours drying the salmon in the fridge it should lose another 2 to 3% of its pre-drying weight and will be ready to cold smoke.

Time now to cold smoke. I think there are few exceptions to oak when cold smoking Salmon. Two such candidates are apple and cherry. Both impart a delicate sweet smoke and if you are using them you won’t be disappointed. For the traditionalists amongst you, Oak has it!

I place my Salmon flat on a wire rack when I smoke it. Why? Well, because its easier to handle and you can get more filets in the smoker at a time. Remember, you don’t need much of a gap between racks.

Cold smoke the salmon for 12 hours. Maintain a low temperature in the smoker and absolutely make sure the temperature inside the smoker does not go above 30C. During our winter time this is not a real challenge but if you’re doing this in summer wait for a cool day or smoke at night.

As the Salmon smokes it will continue to lose moisture as it takes on flavour from the smoke. When it’s smoked, take the fish out of the smoker and refrigerate it again for 24 hours. It helps if you have a spare fridge at times like this because you’ll end up making everything smell of smoke. (Not a huge problem for me if I’m honest).

Slicing your salmon can be tricky if you over think it. Keep it simple by making your first slice about three inches up from the tail making you slice at a shallow angle towards the tail and then working up the fillet as you go. This style of slicing is known as D slicing and will become evident by their shape as you make the slices. Keep the slices about 2mm thick.

Vac packed on gold boards ( and you can keep your salmon in the freezer for about 6 to 9 months. Personally mine never lasts long enough to see a freezer but if you’re looking to make some foodie presents this year then there’s no better way. Remember with this new found skill you’ll never be short of an invitation at Christmas. Have fun with this one folks..


Turan runs Coldsmoking cookery school in Milton Keynes. His unique establishment focusses on artisan food techniques like food smoking, sausage making, cheese making and meat curing. Coldsmokng cookery school have a range of courses which can be purchased as a gift certificate and they run their classes throughout the year.