Smoked and Cured Salmon: Things that Make You Say 'Mmmmm'

| 10/27/2015 10:12:00 AM

Tags: smoked salmon, cured salmon, smoked fish, smoker, Texas, Ed Hudson,

One of my all-time favorite foods to prepare is a smoked and cured salmon. Every time I pull this from the cure, rinse it, dry it and slice it for that first taste, I just smile, make a slightly audible, “Mmmm” and mutter, “Man, that’s good.” Every. Single. Time.

The recipe and preparation is pretty straightforward. I smoke the salmon first using a stove top smoker, then cure it using a gravlax-styled cure for 3 days. We usually prepare extra and freeze it for consumption at a later date with almost no loss in flavor or texture. This is a great crowd pleaser as an appetizer for any dinner party or served with fresh bagels and cream cheese for a special breakfast especially around the holidays. Believe me, this will blow them away.

The Salmon

Start with a good cut of salmon. We have tried wild and farm-raised, and both work well - with the texture of the wild being slightly firmer. You might as well start with a full “side” (half) of a salmon since it is a long process and the extra freezes well.

Salmon Filet

Leave the skin on and remove all bones. I cut the half of salmon crosswise in half again (to make two pieces that are almost square) for ease of handling and so it fits in the smoker. Notice the head end of the filet is thicker than the tail end. If everything is done the same, the tail will be smokier and saltier because it is thinner. Always keep this in mind. Rinse and dry the filets with a paper towel.

The Cure

The cure is simple – mix 2.5 parts Kosher salt to 2 parts light brown sugar. I usually use 2.5 cups Kosher salt with 2 parts light brown sugar. Keep any extra cure to use as a rub for a pork roast or ham. Since this is a gravlax cure, I also use some vodka, about 0.25 parts (or ¼ cup in this case), but DO NOT mix it in with the salt and sugar. Use dill, fresh or dried, but fresh works better, or any herb you prefer. No need to mix it in with the dry cure. 

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