The type and quality of salmon directly affects smoked salmon’s flavor. Fresh salmon is the absolute best option, but frozen salmon works as well. In the end, quality trumps all. For example, choosing between smelly fresh salmon or frozen salmon in great condition means that the best choice would be the frozen salmon. Odd smells and textures are only exacerbated during the smoking process and can turn into an “off” or bad final product.
Smoking intensifies flavor, so the original flavor of the salmon will carry through to the very end. Companies should make sure to prioritize fresh flavors at the start of the process, so that the smoked salmon will have the appropriate flavor.
In fact, some fish-smokers say salmon that was frozen while fresh makes a great option for smoking because it can be saturated with more flavor. Other fish-smokers maintain that fresh smoked salmon, not frozen, is the best.
Compare Wild Smoked Salmon Prices
Smoked Salmon Step-by-Step
If the salmon is imported from far away, then some of the catch will inevitably lose quality en route to its place of processing. Using local catch cuts down on travel time and better ensures the smoked salmon will have fresh taste and quality.
Once the salmon arrives at its place of processing, it will undergo curing and drying processes before being smoked.
- First, the salmon must be cured.
- A dry cure is when the fish-smoker will cover the fish in a salted dry rub, and rinse the rub off a couple of hours later.
- A wet cure is a brine the fish-smoker makes using salt and sugar. The salmon is kept in the brine for around 6 to 10 hours.
- The salmon must be dried out after curing and before smoking. This can usually be achieved by keeping the salmon at room temperature for about 1 to 3 hours.
- Drying out the salmon is an important part of the process because it helps the fish to develop a layer that both traps moisture and creates a nice gleam on the finished salmon.
- Fresh smoked salmon is either hot smoked or cold smoked.
- Hot smoking is when the salmon is exposed to intense heat temperatures for a few hours.
- Cold smoking is when the salmon is exposed to less intense heat for many hours.
- There are many different types of wood (hyperlink to alder/apple/cherry smoked salmon article?) to use for the actual smoking process.
- Alder, apple, and cherry are among the most popular woods for fresh smoked salmon because of their subtle sweetness, and the way that they complement the salmon’s natural flavor.
The fresh smoked salmon is then vacuum sealed in a plastic pouch, and shipped out to customers. Smoked salmon is a great shelf-stable seafood option. It can be enjoyed straightaway or kept sealed and unrefrigerated for several months. If the pouch is opened, the smoked salmon can be refrigerated for a few weeks.
Interested in smoking salmon at home? There is a wealth of online resources to look over before trying it out. Make sure to have the freshest salmon possible, and the resulting smoked salmon will be delicious!
Take note of our Affiliate Relationships that may exist with this page and companies listed on it.