Three neighbours on our street are participating in a progressive dinner party. It’s where we each have a course at our home for the dinner. The idea came to me after seeing Episode 23 of Season 7 (clip), full episode for US readers only of Desperate Housewives, the Come on Over for Dinner episode. I can only hope that no one will burn their food, that there will not be a murder and that none of the husbands plan to leave any of the wives at our event. JT and I are doing the main course and after careful consideration, we decided that a cold dinner on such a hot night 88°F or 31C, would be perfect. And it’s pretty easy too, not leaving any chance for timing issues because everything is prepared in advance and kept in the fridge. Clever, eh? That also saves me from burning the dinner, oh, my, my.
Let me start off that I am no expert smoker like Greg at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide but I dare say that I do make a great hot and cold smoked salmon! The texture is more like baked salmon, but it parlays that gorgeous smoky flavour that cold smoking brings to the table. I would also like to add that we do not have the professional smoker that Greg has, but we do have an 8″ Smoke Daddy cold smoker. Now these folks at Smoke Daddy have taken the guess work out of the equation for us amateur smokers and made it very easy to adapt our Weber to be able to add the sophisticated flavour of smoke to any BBQ’d dish.
We prefer to get the Wild Pacific Salmon which has the deep pink colour because it’s beautiful and very flavourful (incidentally, the pinker the salmon the more shrimp it ate in the wild) but this recipe will work with any salmon.
Hot and Cold Smoked Wild Pacific Salmon
Recipe is from a multitude of sources perfected over the years
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup table salt
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 kg wild Pacific Salmon, skin on or off (it’s easier to move about if you leave the skin on, it practically falls off on its own when it’s done)
- Mix the brown sugar, salt and water until dissolved. Lay salmon in a long container with a good lid (one that fits into the fridge).
- Pour brine over the salmon and refrigerate with the lid on over night or up to two days.
- About 1 hour before you are ready to smoke, remove the salmon from the brine and dry off completely. Place the fish on a wire rack above the now empty container it was in and refrigerate without any cover for 1-2 hours. It needs to dry out (much like me, after a long weekend with Paul and T!)
- Prepare your cold smoker according to directions (we used mesquite wood). Place salmon skin side down in the smoker and cold smoke for 45 minutes (I placed my fish close to the front because eventually I will turn the back burner on).
- After about 45 minutes, turn the back burner on to a very low heat of 121°C or 250°F continuing to cold smoke (with the 8″ Smoke Daddy, I had to refuel once during the entire cooking process). Bake and smoke the fish for an additional 30-90 minutes, depending on how thick it is. You can tell it’s done by pressing down on the thick flesh, it should bounce right back.
- Serve cold, warm or hot with a lemon aioli.