Citizens, there is nothing finer than a properly-smoked piece of cold-smoked salmon, with its gentle smoky flavor and translucent orange meat lavishly streaked with fat!
Yes you can buy the real deal from Scotland – but as a member of the undimmed glory that is TFD Nation, you are now capable of the ultimate: making your own, without compromise!
The most prized variety is the Atlantic salmon, of the genus salmo salar. All European versions of this fish are salmo salar, as are all eastern U.S. salmon. So, if your smoked fish is made from fish that was caught or raised in Scotland, Norway, Ireland or Maine, it’s salmo salar. It is highly prized because it is very oily and makes for a lush smoked salmon.
The other main type is the Pacific salmon, of the genus oncorhynchus, which means “hook-nose.” Generally speaking, the Pacific type has less fat than the Atlantic type—which means that smoked salmon made from the western swimmers is usually less velvety and transcendent than the eastern-based smoked salmon.
However, there are five different species within this hook-nosed genus, and some species are more desirable than others. Leading the quality list is Chinook (also known as King, or Tyee), which has the most fat of all Pacific varieties of the fish, and makes the most luscious western smoked salmon.
It is VERY important that you tell your fishmonger that you are planning to make cold-smoked salmon when you purchase your fish. You aren’t heating this fish, which means if it has parasites they will not be killed by the heat of normal cooking.
The FDA says you can kill parasites by freezing to -4°F for seven days, but no home freezer can reach that temperature. Sashimi-grade salmon has gone through this process already and is the ONLY choice for making cold-smoked salmon!
You can customize this recipe to your personal taste by choosing the type(s) of wood you smoke over – excellent details may be found here.
You can also add mixed ground spices of your choice to the smoking wood, if you’re so inclined. Experiment and find your ideal blend!
I add a more than a wee bit of Drambuie to my recipe, as I find its combination of Scotch whisky, honey and herbs eminently suited to this recipe! You can choose your own favorite whisky for yourself, or go with TFD‘s selection.
Citizens, fire up your low-temp smoker (I’ll show you how to do this, it’s easy!) and follow me, your Shining North Star pointing you to the true path of smoky piscine glory! You should use this fantastic cold smoker, placed on a baking sheet inside a standard BBQ grill. You’ll also need a top-quality temperature probe – I like this one: Maverick M Remote Smoker Thermometer [ET-73] – White. Lastly, you’ll need your choice of wood smoking pellets – buy them from here.
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