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Any ideas?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:38 pm
by welsh wizard

I have been smoking salmon for well over 20 years following this method:

Salt the tray - lay the salmon skin side down on the salt - salt well the flesh side of the salmon - leave in fridge for 8 hours - wash salt off well - put back in fridge on racks to dry over night / day - place salmon in the smoker and smoke - take out of the smoker and place in the fridge for 5 or so hours before vac packing.

this has always worked well with no problems. However the last two lots of salmon have come out pappy and not firm at all, almost as if they haven't been salted. Taste is fine but the texture isn't..any ideas????????????????????????????????????????????

Cheers WW

Re: Any ideas?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:16 am
by wheels

I feel for you, when something you've always done goes belly-up it's a bitch.

I was hoping that someone would answer this before me, but in the absence of that person, here goes:

I've had Salmon from Makro that's cheap, but like butter? I'm assuming that you buy from a quality source and that your salmon is a lot better than that.

That said, even if the fish is 'not the best' it shouldn't come out as you describe. For the next batch, I'd monitor weight loss on salting, and then the same on smoking. If the total weight loss is less than 13% I'd be getting worried. Ideally you want at least 15% so a bit of 'post smoke drying' may be needed.

I'm sorry: I don't think that I've added anything to what you already know.


Re: Any ideas?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:06 am
by ped
I've just smoked a sainsbury's fish and it was very soft in comparison to previous years, I don't know if that is due to freshness or fat content, I tend to judge freshness (other than eye and gills) by how hard it is to remove the pin bones, with this one I just used salt and I smoked with my usual amount of dust over the usual period, it doesn't look like it has taken up as much of the smoke and is also more flaccid than I expected, I think I will hit it with a little more smoke.
The 2nd one which is in the smoker at the moment I have cured with a salt/sugar spice combo certainly came out of the cure much firmer, we will see if has taken more of the smoke when I pull it out later.
This extract might be of interests: ... on&f=false

Re: Any ideas?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:14 pm
by welsh wizard
Thanks both.

I purchase my salmon from a Scottish supplier and it is smoking grade so hopefully it wont be there the problem lies.

I have since posting this looked at the salt I am using and have now found if I increase the salt coverage and leave for 9 hours as opposed to 8 hours the end result is considerably better. I also think your fish can be too cold to allow the salt to act so when I salt it I keep it out of the fridge for 3 hours and then return it. Weather this makes a difference I don't know but I don't seem to have any pappy fish anymore (just smoked 47 sides for Christmas orders)

With regard to weight loss I get no where near 15%, nearer 7 - 8%..........hey ho

Cheers WW

Re: Any ideas?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 4:11 pm
by RichardAllen
An old thread but very useful. My Xmas smoke (only 6-8 sides) was just like you described "pappy", and I think the fish quality was down. I noticed that part-sliced smoked sides wept oil in the fridge last year, so I think the article you quoted would lead to a higher fat content fish.

Today I looked at every supermarket near me and picked out the 3 best looking fish (eyes, gills) I could find. They seem a little firmer than last year, and I am letting them dry for a couple of hours before salting, and will see how that goes.

Did you get any further in solving "pappiness" from 7 years ago ?
Merry Christmas

Re: Any ideas?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:23 pm
by wheels
The £4.99 whole fish from Morrisons is really good this year - at least the stuff I got from my local shop (Hinckley) was. Firm flesh and a good size with some fish around 4kg - far better than the usual 2 (ish) kg. An added bonus was that the fishmonger had it already filleted.