My first project is to smoke some salmon. On our way home we found some exceptionally fresh whole Copper River sockeye for $5.99/#. Crazy- it was cheaper than the regular sockeye...and I figured with the higher fat content, I simply couldn't go wrong. Below you will find the standard CIA salmon cure with basic instructions on how to get started with smoking fish. This cure is a little sweeter than I usually care for, but it is a great starting point.
Smoked Salmon Cure- for 3# salmon fillet, skin on
8 oz salt
4 oz sugar
4 g onion powder
1.5 g ground cloves
1.5 g crushed bay leaves
1.5 g ground mace
1.5 g ground allspice
- Remove the pin bones and place the salmon skin side down in a pan with high sides. Pack the cure ingredients onto the flesh of the salmon, putting a bit less as the fillet gets thin near the tail end. Wrap loosely and cure the salmon under refrigeration for 12-24 hours. Rinse off the cure with cool water and blot dry with paper towels.
- Lay flat on a rack and allow to air dry overnight in the refrigerator (I cheat by placing the fillet in a cool place and running a fan onto it). This is an incredibly important step as it forms the pellicle- a tacky dry skin that develops on top of the cured item that not only protects as the item is being smoked, but helps to capture the smokey flavor.
- After you have a sufficient pellicle formed (the fish should feel almost dry), for a tender lox-like texture, cold smoke the fish for 4-6 hours at 100F or less. Smoked salmon, wrapped well, will keep for one week in the refrigerator.