I can’t express the satisfaction of curing and cold smoking your own smoked salmon. It is a lot simpler and cheaper than you think and gives you a huge sense of pride. Please give it a try – the bare minimum bit of kit you need is a cold smoke generator, some dust and a BBQ with a lid.
First is curing and here is my curing recipe:
1 cup coarse sea salt + 1 cup brown sugar
De-bone your piece of salmon, make sure all those little fine bones have been removed. If you rub your hand up and down the salmon you can feel them. You can make smoked salmon out of any pieces of salmon but try not to get too small as it doesn’t become worth it and try to buy even thickness so it is cold smoked evenly.
Mix the salt and sugar and layer the bottom of a container with a third of it. Place your salmon skin down onto the cure, cover completely with the remaining cure mixture and cover with a lid.
Put it flat into your fridge for 8-12 hours, you will see liquid appearing in the container – don’t worry this is the moisture leaving the salmon.
Next step is to rinse the salmon really really well – about three times. I also then immerse the salmon in another container filled with cold water for 15-20 minutes, this ensures the salmon isn’t too salty and helps rehydrate the salmon flesh slightly. The idea is to remove as much salt as possible.
Blot your salmon with a paper towel until completely dry.
Place on a wire rack and back into the fridge for 24 hours, this is a really important step so allow your salmon to form a pellicule – which basically means it becomes tacky to the touch.
You are now ready to go and start your cold smoking…have fun!
*** After a couple of tries and successes you can start playing around with adding different flavours to the curing mix. One of my favourites is adding shredded fresh beetroot – produces a spectacular colour.