I was introduced to smoked salmon, in particular cold-smoked salmon, when I was stationed in Scotland in the early 70s. I'm quite fond of it but don't purchase it often because it is so expensive. I've always wanted to try to make my own, and bought an inexpensive smoker with that at least partly in mind. I do like hot-smoked salmon, but it just isn't the same stuff.
It works well for low and slow BBQ and also for smoking, but it is far too warm for cold smoking anything. The blistering cold weather we've been having inspired me to have another look at cold smoking. I bought half a salmon, Atlantic and farm raised, perhaps the worst possible choice but as I am unfamiliar with what is available near my new home I got what I knew was available.
I brined it in a fairly simple brine, salt/sugar/maple syrup/garlic/black pepper for about 10 hours, dried it in the refrigerator for about 12 hours, then slapped it on the grill.
At 8:00 a.m. when I started the ambient temperature was +4F. I smoked it for about 12 hours. The high ambient during the day was +16F, and the smoker high was maybe 76-77F and smoker low maybe 72F. I paid close attention. This is the result. It tastes pretty good. Not Scottish smoked salmon, of course, but it's not too salty, not too sweet, not too fishy, heavily smoked with a mix of apple and white oak and with a mild and pleasant flavor. Worth doing again, if the weather cooperates.
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