How to Properly Cook Salmon through Smoking
Salmon, common name for a fish in the family Salmonidae, is one of the several species of fish found in the sea. They are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean and go back to fresh water again to reproduce.
Classified as an oily fish, it has a lot of health benefits including Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, protein and amino acid. Aside from these, salmon also contains bioactive peptides that supports joint cartilage and controls the inflammation in the digestive tract.
There are many ways to cook for salmon – fried, broiled, baked as well as roasted. It can even be eaten raw, thus the birth of sashimi. But thanks to experimentation in cooking, salmon can also be smoked. In fact, there are many smoked salmon recipes available today that people are starting to cook this kind of fish through their smokers. And since salmon is good for the body, a 3 oz. serving of smoked salmon contains 99 calories with 67 from protein and 33 coming from fat. Hence, the smoked salmon calories can supply 5% of the needed calorie intake for the average adult.
How to make a smoked salmon?
Although there are numerous recipes related to smoked salmon, the first question one has to ask is how to make one. Smoking salmon is relatively easy compared to meats. First, prepare the fish for curing by removing the water and putting salt and sugar mixture to add flavor to preserve and prevent spoilage and at the same time, eliminating some of the moisture from the inside of the fish.
This process is called “London Cure” and is still being practiced today. Curing should be done at least 8 hours before smoking but not more than 3 days or else, you’ll end up eating a salty fish. After curing and rinsing the salmon with cold water, you may season the salmon and rub the marinade liberally depending on your taste.
After which, let it air dried for about 2 hours until it forms a pellicle or a thin, lacquer-like layer on top of the fish that produces a sticky surface for the smoke to adhere to. Air drying the salmon is a crucial stage especially when you opt for hot smoking since properly smoking the fish depends highly on the drying.
Once the salmon is dry, it is now ready for smoking. In cooking a hot smoked salmon, the smoker’s temperature should be between 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature and minutes of smoking, which is usually 1-3 hours, will always depend on the weight and thickness of the salmon. Further, alder, hickory, apple and oak are some of the woods most appropriate for smoking salmons.
The problem with hot smoking is that there is a tendency for the salmon to get less moist and less delicate taste and can even make the fish firm. On the other hand, cold smoked salmon is typically smoked at 99 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes in packages and requires special smoking equipment before actually smoking it. Even though cold smoking will result in a delicate texture, it does not cook the fish.
What to make out of Smoked Salmon?
Now that you know how to properly make a smoked salmon, it’s time to explore the many ways on incorporating it to the kitchen. There are a lot of recipes that can be made out of smoked salmon. You can make smoked salmon pasta or create a pizza out of it. Smoked salmon can also be combined with bread or bagels or even cook a smoked salmon omelette as a perfect choice for breakfast. And if you are on the healthy side, salmon can be mixed with salad and vinaigrette.