If you’ve never tried making your own cold smoked salmon (plus all the other food you can smoke) then now is the time to start. It is a lot easier than you think and immensely satisfying.
First step to cold smoked salmon is curing – have a read of this blog for my recipe.
What kit do you need for cold smoking?
Like everything, it all depends on your budget. If you want to become a serious smoker and have a serious budget, then try a Bradley Smoker – you will need to plug it in but it is automated and very well insulated and large enough to do some serious smoking.
But there are many choices out there, if you have a BBQ with a lid then all you need is a cold smoke generator (CSG) and very fine dust.
If you want a dedicated cold smoke then go shopping online – the one I use is from Thuros.
I know a lot of people who make their own – if this is your thing just have a google, there are tons of templates out there.
What are the main rules of cold smoking?
Have a gentle air flow from the bottom to the top of your kit, allowing the smoke to gentle flow past the salmon.
Don’t pack your salmon too close together, the smoke needs to circulate around your salmon.
Ideal temperature is between 20-28C or 68-82F so the inside of your kit should not go above or below that. This is why using some metal BBQs for cold smoking through summer can’t be done because the air temperature is too high.
That really is it!
Which wood should I use?
Choosing a wood to smoke with is part of the fun, there really isn’t a right or wrong wood – it is all a matter of personal taste and don’t let anyone tell you there is a right or wrong wood flavour. Bit like wine, it all depends on you. The fun is making your own mind up about which wood you prefer, experimenting is what it is all about.
How long do I cold smoke for?
Depends on how smoky you like your salmon. Remember your salmon is already cured, so it is already edible. Smoking is adding the smoky flavour and how long you smoke is really up to you.
Start with 4 hours, give it a taste and see how you like it. I don’t really like over smoked salmon, much better a subtle smoky flavour.
When you are happy with the smokiness, take it out and you can eat straight away but ideally the best result is to leave overnight in the fridge and allow your salmon to ‘settle’. Your salmon can last awhile in the fridge but it never really lasts even that long in my house.
Slicing salmon is probably the hardest part – you will need a very sharp slicing knife and don’t expect it to look like the salmon you get in the shops. They have specialised equipment! Keep practicing…
If I’m preparing my Christmas smoked salmon, I vac pac it and hide it way so no one can get at it until Christmas breakfast morning!