hanging salmon

hanging salmon

Postby realcoolchris » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:53 pm

I tried four sides of salmon hung from hooks in my smoker: the hooks eventually tore through the flesh of the fish and I ended up with all four sides in the waterbath below (it's a West Country cold smoker) where they gently poached.javascript:emoticon(':cry:')

So how do you hang the fish to stop this happening? I thought the skin would be strong enough to support the fish but obviously not. Can you somehow tie the fish to the hooks or should I abandon the idea of hanging them vertically? What do the professionals do?

I compounded the problem by using some Alder wood: not dust but not quite chips either. I think it burned too hot, due to the particle size, because the waterbath got fairly warm.

Even the cats were none too keen on my partly smoked, partly poached salmon.

Still, my bacon came out a treat.
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Postby wheels » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:54 pm

I assume that this is for cold smoking?

Erlandson advise to leave the shoulder bone in when filliting. Then make a hole at each end under the bone and hang with two pieces of string (one in each hole) or thread a dowel through th two holes and hang from that.

AS such you are then pulling on the bone and not the string.

HTH

Phil
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Yup, That should do it

Postby realcoolchris » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:36 pm

Yes this is cold smoking.

Being lazy, I let the fishmonger fillet them for me.

Next time, I'll do it myself.

That sounds like a sensible way to solve the problem

Thanks Wheels
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Postby saucisson » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:33 pm

That sounds like the time I cold smoked a whole salmon and put it in the oven in the kitchen to rest, and then later on asked my son to put the oven on for the pizzas...

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Postby Kuma » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:28 pm

I have a WCCS and I usually fillet from the head leaving the tail intact (cut the backbone close to the tail). You can then suspend them over the rod, insert a spacer near the tail (clip the tail short so it doesn't touch the lid) so the sides hang freely. You can get a dozen medium fish in this way.
My new method is some large bulldog clips - the rods slip through the holes and you can stack them in tight as they hang at right angles to the rods. Haven't found the perfect clip yet, I'd like serrated teeth.
Some people tie the fillets back to back and hang over the rails inserting a spacer to keep them straight and apart.
I too have lost fish and eels to the muck at the bottom of the chamber, I usually trim them and cook.
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Postby Batman » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:58 pm

I've had the same trouble myself and often resort to laying them flat which doesn't seem to detrimentally affect the process or flavour, but it takes up more space. I like the idea of bulldog clips and will look out for some large ones.

Out of interest, and I'm not sure which forum I read this on but the skin on wild salmon is a lot tougher and I have not had a problem when using wild salmon only when I smoke farmed salmon. Also the skin strength on farmed salmon does not seem to increase with fish size, therefore generally get more problems with larger salmon sides.
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Bulldogs verses alligators

Postby realcoolchris » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:49 pm

I can see the benefit of the Bulldog clip, especially the ability to thread the suspension rods through the holes.

I had been thinking about alligator clips which have serrated jaws and are cheap. You could attach a wire loop through the terminal screw.

I'm not sure of the strength of the closing spring on these things; they only seem to come in quite small sizes. Whilst they should resist a reasonable pull-out force, I reckon there's a chance that the rest of the fish could well break away from the clamped part.

A bulldog clip has much larger clamping area but curiously no teeth.

What good is a toothless bulldog?

Have you generally had good experience with the bulldog clip? And is the desire for serration simply a counsel of perfection?
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Postby saucisson » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:33 am

I have only hung whole fish, and still had a head come adrift...

Fillets I lay flat for self defence purposes, but I never do more than a few at a time...
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Postby Kuma » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:29 pm

The clips I have are quite strong and have worked well so far, but I haven't hung large farmed salmon sides yet. That's where I would prefer to have the extra grip of a ferocious, sharp toothed dog.

I have only experienced the skin tearing on large fish when I haven't made the best job of filleting, putting a nick or tear in the skin has caused the fillet to plummet into the smoky sludge. WCCS sell a rack that I put in the bottom to catch anything falling, although it's quite dear and it decreases the hanging length in the chamber.

Trout is quicker to cure and is really good.
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Postby Fatmat » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:07 pm

In my very limited experience - one cod and one salmon to be precise - I've threaded butchers string through, starting flesh side, through to skin side, accross an inch and back through again. This has given plenty of purchase - even hanging in the breeze.

It could still go wrong, but no problem so far.
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Postby Iamarealbigdog » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:31 pm

Been there done that, went from cold smoke to slightly cooked, they all fell off the hooks and to the botton of the smoker. Turned the four sides into canned salmon...

I will not hang it no matter what from here on.

Hurt me once shame one you hurt me twice, shame on me....

Lesson learn' and lying them flat is no difference in the cold smoke
Last edited by Iamarealbigdog on Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Fatmat » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:20 pm

Genius idea... maybe... Trouser hangers... :D
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trial & error

Postby realcoolchris » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:54 pm

I've now made several batches of smoked fish and I think I've now got the hang of hanging them.

Smoked cod fillets weighing around 300-400g were hung with foldback clips and smoked for around 6 hours, as suggested by Kumar.

<a href="http://s957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/?action=view&current=PB111045copy.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/PB111045copy.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

I used foldback clips because they seemed to have more spring force than the Bulldog sort...and they were half the price

For the first batch of salmon, I filleted them myself and left the collarbone in as Wheels suggested.

I then made a hole under the bone and poked the string through but the hole ended up finger sized: it's not easy to pole string through wet fish!

<a href="http://s957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/?action=view&current=PA311021copy.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/PA311021copy.jpg" border="0" alt="hanging salmon"></a>

As you can see from the next pic, 3 out of 4 held for around 16 hours.

<a href="http://s957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/?action=view&current=PA301016copy.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/PA301016copy.jpg" border="0" alt="smoking salmon"></a>

These fillets ranged from 650g to 950g. I think the holes I made were too large and weakend the fish too much.

So this time, I dug out my old trussing needle and sewed the string through. 575g fillets hung for 15 hours without any problem. I suspect this will work for larger fillets too.

<a href="http://s957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/?action=view&current=IMG_0139.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i957.photobucket.com/albums/ae52/realcoolchris/IMG_0139.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
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hanging salmon

Postby realcoolchris » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:30 pm

Footnote to above post

I've now successfully hung 1.5Kg sides of salmon for 24 hours using this method.
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Re: hanging salmon

Postby wheretime » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:02 pm

I hung a filleted side of salmon weighing 1.2kg for air drying (14 hours) and a further 3 hours during smoking by folding the thin tail end over and weaving a thin skewer through. The S-hook then went though the flesh and skin which when doubled up and reinforced with a skewer is sufficient to take the weight.

I was concerned that this would ruin the look of the finished product or collect smoke making the end over smokey in flavour. In fact the end was drier but I think this is normal and despite being slightly drier the end returned to shape after smoking and lying out to slice.
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