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Smoked Salmon for Christmas - Much Too Salty

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:41 pm
by RichardAllen
I smoked two sides of salmon over the weekend. Dry cure in salt for about 8 hours - probably a rather too long, then rinsed, dried overnight and a good 12 hour cold smoke.

The texture is spot on, and the smoky flavour is great but it is too salty.

Is there anything I can do better than slice thinly, and experiment with time for soaking in water until I find the best of a bad job ?

All help gratefully received


PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:38 pm
by wheels
The only thing I can think of is to make pâté with it or use it in something like a quiche.

I salt pieces of just over 1kg for about 10 hours in around 200gm of salt a they're fine. Commercial curers H Forman salt for 24 hours; you can see them applying the salt in this video: ... orman-son/

More info on their methods are here:

Did you use a lot of salt?


PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:14 pm
by RichardAllen
I got a good tip from a chap on RiverCottage.

An hour's soak for a whole side and a couple of hours drying in a fan oven on defrost and it has come out very well. A day or two in the fridge to let it set and let the salt even out and it will be perfect. This has saved me two sides of salmon.

The video from Formans is very interesting. I use very coarse sea salt I bring back from France in 10kg bags. I usually pack the salmon in it for a couple of hours. But I did some very wet trout a month ago and it failed to dry out and ruined. I probably need to be more careful with the amount of salt and % weight loss.

The coarse salt is probably better suited to bacon than salmon, as Forman's seem to use much finer salt and a good deal less of it.

Part of my difficulty is finding a good sources for good bulk salt in England. I have heard pure dried vacuum salt is good but have not had a lot of success finding it.

Good salt source - any suggestions ?


PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:05 am
by wheels
Pure dried vacuum salt would be my last choice for curing! :cry:

The sea salt from France sounds great. If it's not the texture you want, just grind it down in a food processor or coffee grinder (or similar).

From a UK point of view, Maldon Sea salt would be my choice.

I'm using some French sea salt at the moment for the majority of things. However, I bought 'Black salt' from the Asian shop for a Tamarind Chutney. I'm tempted to experiment with it as a flavouring.


too salty

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:49 pm
by larry
I haven't tried curing salmon yet, but I've been poking around here and elsewhere for guidance. I've seen some recipes that state they add sugar to the salt for the cure, in part, to cut the saltiness. I've also seen some recipes that call for a wet brine, followed by a freshening, which is apparently a rinse and/or soak in fresh water without salt, to get the saltiness of the finished product down. I don't know if this would apply to a dry cure. My reading led me to the discovery that lox, at least in the US, is supposed to be cured, not smoked, and is considerably saltier than other popular smoked salmon products that are often known incorrectly as lox.

Most of the recipes I'v been seeing call for long curing time in the salt, and I have yet to run across one that was only a few hours. It's all quite confusing, but the one thing I read that may help is the combining of salt and sugar in the cure.

good luck.

Saving Too Salty Salmon

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:37 pm
by RichardAllen
As posted above, a couple of hours in fresh water and the too-saltiness of my salmon was reduced to just as salty as I would like and the smokey taste and texture pretty much unaffected.

We also finished the last of the salmon after it had been in the fridge about a month, and it was still fine.

Great result.

All best to all

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:46 pm
by wheels
I'm glad that it worked OK. It's a handy tip to know.

Phil :D :D

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:48 pm
by Dogfish
This may not be quite legit but when I was a kid we'd do a couple hundred pounds of chum salmon in a smoker we'd build up like a tent for a couple days. We'd always use coarse salt in a wet brine -- for some reason it seemed to be more gentle in its flavour -- then we'd boil the fish before we ate it.

Now I try to balance the salt with the sugar and a little soya sauce. Not quite as hardcore but it's not as shocking to the palate as pure salt.