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Topic: Finnish style cold smoked salmon . . . . From: Nancy,
Subject: Re: Smoking Salmon
Another Nancy from California with a smoked salmon question. In Finland they make a wonderful smoked salmon, whole fish (bones still in it) . I think part of the curing stuff prior to smoking has vodka in it....do you know the recipe?
Many thanks and Merry Christmas....got my smoker this morning....very excited
It was the curing stAff (not stuff) that had the vodka in it.
What you probably ate was cold smoked salmon, cured with dry salt and smoked 2-3 weeks. Actually, some vodka & optional seasonings may be rubbed on to the fish prior to smoking and after the salt has been removed.
The process (recipe) is quite simple - but time consuming and requiring attention to detail and a good smoker.
For 5-10 lb salmon, clean and split. Make slash cuts 1/4-1/2" deep on the bias in the skin sides. Weigh out pickling salt (non-iodized) equal to 15% of the fish weight and divide it into two proportionate piles. Rub the salt well into the upper 2/3s of each side but none on the lower 1/3 tail section.
Run a stout cord or dowel through the shoulders of each side and hang in a well ventilated, cool, dry place for 2-3 hours. Rinse well under running water to remove all salt.
At this point, seasonings may be added in a powder form or in a flavored alcohol mixture. Some seasonings used are garlic, onion, mustard seed, bay leaf, coriander, cardamon, cloves, mace, alspice, fennel, dill, etc.
The fish is hung again in the well ventilated, cool, dry place, until a shiny surface is formed.
Next the fish is exposed to a rather dense smoke of oak, hickory, apple, (some europeans even use use a little juniper) at temperatures not exceeding 90 degrees. The smoking should continue for at least 36 hours and may, in Finland where it may kept for several months) be smoked up to 3 weeks.
Smoking need not be continuous during the whole period, but a 70-90 temperature should be maintained. Fish prepared this way should have a firm yet flexible flesh that can be cut on the bias in sections thin enough to read through. It will keep in the 'fridge for months, but it never lasts that long.
I seal mine in plastic bags from which I have evacuated all the air. But that is a waste of time. It all gets eaten very quickly.
Now, having said all this, I have to burst your bubble. What you got for Christmas was a grill - not a smoke house. No way can you cold smoke salmon in your "smoker." (see "According to Smoky") and in the FAQs there's a good recipe for grilling salmon.
I converted a 30 cu. foot, upright freezer into my smoker. The racks are stainless steel. I supply the smoke through 3" conduit from a brick smoke pit 20 ft. away. I mounted a thermometer through the front door. It works great.