Whether you are in a restaurant or in a grocery store, salmon is a popular fish that many enjoy eating year-round. However, like all fish, salmon has a particular season, and many consider it best to eat it fresh during that period.
Fresh wild salmon is best when eaten from late spring through early autumn. About 90% of that wild caught smoked salmon hails from Alaska. Although most Americans eat farmed smoked salmon due to its availability and sustainability, knowing the differences between the two types of salmon is important.
How Does Wild Smoked Salmon Taste?
Naturally wild smoked salmon was previously caught swimming wild in oceans and seas rather than their counterpart, which gets harvested in lakes and pools. Although it is only available to consumers fresh for a brief period, seafood aficionados will say that it is well worth the seasonal wait.
The fat on the salmon is directly linked to the salmon’s ultimate taste. Given that wild salmon freely roams its waters, it is leaner than farmed salmon and possesses less fat. However, not every wild salmon will taste the same. The wild smoked salmon taste and texture can diverge and vary on a fish-by-fish basis.
The location in which the fish is caught also determines how the salmon tastes. While farmed salmon typically has a higher fat content and the content is often identical to other farmed salmon, a wild fish caught upriver will not be as desired due to it losing its fatty flavor while traveling upstream. As a result, farmed smoked salmon is described as having a buttery and smooth flavor, as well as an oilier one, which some people prefer to the wild caught alternative.
Does Smoking Salmon Affect Its Taste?
There are different methods to cooking wild smoked salmon. You can cold smoke it, which is when you cook the salmon at less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When you prepare salmon by that method, it is not so much cooking it as it is giving the salmon added flavor with the smoke over an extended period.
Prior to cold smoking, dry cure the fish in salt. Doing so removes the moisture and its texture becomes silky smooth once the cold smoking process is finished. Alternatively, hot smoking salmon is smoked over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead of dry curing it, you brine it in salted water. From that, the natural flavor is more noticeable, and you can infuse other flavors into it.
Tips for Buying Wild Smoked Salmon Online
When purchasing wild smoked salmon, make sure that you don’t buy mislabeled fish. If it is out of season and labeled “wild”, it is likely that the fish was mismarked or frozen last summer and then prepared later. Make sure you also know which type of salmon you want to buy and its oil content. The amount of oil varies between types and can offer lower levels of flavor, like pink salmon, or richer levels, like sockeye salmon.
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