People often use “smoked salmon” as a blanket category for all types of smoked and cured salmon. In reality, there are different types of smoked salmon, each with their own flavor and preparation style. We want to set the record straight and give you a guide to the types of smoked salmon out there. What follows is a listing of the main varieties of smoked salmon you would most typically find for sale. For each type, we will explain its preparation, taste, and price. You can then use this guide to navigate your way through all the options available to you both online and in grocery stores.
Compare Wild Smoked Salmon Prices
Smoked salmon is the product of curing and then smoking salmon. There are two smoking methods: cold- or hot-smoked. Epicurious explains that cold smoking takes place within the temperature range of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 hours. Hot smoking is a shorter and hotter process. The salmon smokes at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours. Before smoking, the salmon soaks in a salty brine.
The notable flavor of smoked salmon is smokiness, naturally. The salmon has a flaky and meaty texture. Alaskan salmon is the most common salmon for smoking. Typically, makers of smoked salmon use the whole side portion of the salmon for one large piece. The price of smoked salmon is not necessarily higher than other types of cured salmon. Wild salmon varieties do tend to be a bit more expensive than farmed varieties.
One of the types of smoked salmon is Nova. Nova is a cold-smoked salmon. The name originates from the salmon of the Nova Scotia region, but now it refers to the preparation style. According to Gourmet Food Store, Nova uses a wet brine before a cold smoke. It has a mild flavor that is not as salty as other cured salmons. You can find Nova for a reasonable price in many grocery stores or delis. Nova is what you probably would get if you ordered a bagel with smoked salmon.
Compared to the types of smoked salmon above, lox cures in salt, but not smoke. The traditional preparation of lox uses salmon belly. The fatty belly portion absorbs the salty flavor from the brine, making it the saltiest of the group. Since no smoke is involved in curing the salmon, lox does not have any smokiness. Many people confuse lox for smoked salmon and do not realize the difference in preparation. Curing typically lasts at least a couple of months to preserve the fish – remember lox is not cooked fish.
Gravlax is a type of cured salmon. Bon Appétit explains that Gravlax cures with salt in addition to added herbs, aromatics, and sugar. This preparation style has Scandinavian origins and was traditionally buried for curing. The added ingredients in the salt brine give the salmon a more complex and stronger flavor. You will often see gravlax with a rim of the spices on the slices. Some international, farmed salmon varieties could cost more than domestic ones.
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