COLD SMOKED SALMON
1. Prepare your salmon. Run your fingers along the filet and use pliers or tweezers to remove any remaining pin bones.
2. Cure your salmon. The salt and sugar act as both a cure to prevent bacteria growth and a seasoning for your salmon. I include dill and coriander for additional flavor, but it is optional.
3. Rinse your salmon. You need to soak your salmon for a short period to remove any excess cure from the exterior and draw out some of the salinity from the fish.
4. Dry your salmon. Leave your fish in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 4-8 hours. This step dries the moisture off of the salmon and creates a tacky exterior called a pellicle. This attracts the smoke particles and encourages them to adhere to the salmon in the next step.
5. Smoke your salmon. Cold smoking is exactly that, COLD. You are shooting for temperatures of less than 80 degrees F. I achieve this by using the chamber of my smoker (with no fire in the firebox) and a 12-inch smoke tube filled with wood pellets. Which type of wood to use is a personal preference, but I recommend mild wood like alder or maple. Your salmon will need at least 18 hours in the smoker, or up to 24 hours depending on how thick your salmon is.
6. Chill your salmon. Move your salmon to the refrigerator and chill completely before slicing it very thin and serving it with your favorite accouterments like cream cheese, lemon wedges, capers, thin sliced red onions, and bagels. Your salmon will last 3 days in the fridge. If you can’t eat a whole side of salmon in 3 days, you can separate it into smaller portions and vacuum seal it. This will extend the life of the salmon to 3-4 weeks in your refrigerator, 3-4 months in your freezer, or almost indefinitely in a deep freezer.