Cured, smoked and vaccum sealed, now what?

Cured, smoked and vaccum sealed, now what?

Postby JuniorBalloon » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:52 pm

I just finished my first salmon smoke. I used the cure recipe from the Ruhlman/Polcyn Charcuterie book. It came out very salty. I think I put too much on bottom and on top. In some places it was over a 1/4 inch thick. Is that too much? It was certainly too salty for my taste. Still it will work well in soups and chowders. I am concerned about using less as that would mean less of the pink salt will get into the fish as well, no?

It cured in the fridge for about 26 hours, then rinsed and back in the fridge for another 8-9 hours to form a pellicle.

I ended up hot smoking this fish. At first I didn't realize the difference between hot and cold, other than temp, and I was looking to make what I usually buy at the store. Which after a bit more reading I realized was a hot smoked product. It worked out well. I smoked it in a WSM at 150-200 until internal temp was 135. At that point it was getting a bit hard in the thinner areas. The tail is bit more jerky like than I would have liked, but still ok and very tasty despite the saltiness.

Now that it's all done and vaccum sealed would it be best or even ok to go in the freezer? Or will it stay good for months just being refridgerated? I have 7 6 oz pieces and it could take several months before I use it all.

Thanks,
jb
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Postby wheels » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:12 pm

Hot smoked salmon isn't my thing, but I think if I were doing it I'd keep the temperature well below 170°F for the majority of the cooking time. It seems to me that it's likely to 'cook' it rather than heat it up to a safe temperature if you do otherwise. The difference will be noticeable in the appearance.

As to the salt? You don't say the size of the fish? To be honest, I tend to wet brine for hot smoking. The problem is, that if you ask me why, I'm not sure that I know!

By no means a full answer I'm afraid, but hopefully, I've started the ball rolling and you'll get some more replies.

Phil
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Postby JuniorBalloon » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:39 pm

Thanks wheels. I have read further on the web and freezing vaccum sealed smoked salmon lokks like a fine thing to do and wil not affect the texture when thawed.

The fish was a total of 1772g, two halves. the thickest part being about 3/4 of an inch. Either I can reduce the amount of cure or the amount of time in the cure. My concern would be that either of those will also reduce the amount of pink salt (nitrite) which would be a safety issue...I think.

I checked it after 24 hours and it was fairly firm. Though when I took it out at 26 and rinsed it it was not as stiff as some of the videos I'd watched. In those it appeared the salmon would stick straight out when held by one end. Mine were drooping a bit. So I'm just not sure if it was in too long or about right.

jb
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Postby Wunderdave » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:42 pm

Why would you need nitrite in a salmon cure for safety? Usually the fish will remain outside of bacterial danger temperatures except for a brief period while it comes to temperature during hot-smoking. If making gravlax or similar the fish can remain under refrigeration during the entire process.

I suppose if you were cold-smoking for prolonged periods of time at above 40F there could be some concern but it's not anything I would worry about particularly.

You'll probably have more success and consistency limiting the amount of salt rather than trying to time it perfectly when using more salt.
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Postby JuniorBalloon » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:09 pm

You may be right about the nitrite. The recipe I was working with was orignally going to be for a cold smoke. It is probably overkill for a hot smoke, though this salmon smoked for 2 hours and only got to 136. Until I feel more confident about what I'm doing I'll err on the side of safety.

Next time I'll go with less salt.

Thanks,
jb
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Postby wheels » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:35 pm

FWIW for a 1160gm (approx 2½lb) fillet I use 200gm of salt for about 10 hours - but that's for cold smoke - http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/?e=681.

We don't use nitrite/nitrate in cold smoked fish over here. Protection is given to the fish by reducing the water activity (Aw).

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Postby onewheeler » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:36 pm

I'm not sure the amount of salt, provided that there's enough, makes a lot of difference. My standard cure is two parts salt to one part dark muscovado sugar by volume (judged by eyeball), and I make about half a mug full. I usually do 0.5 to 1 kg of fillet each time and as there's always an excess of salt it seems to me that the quantity of excess will make no difference. The usual cure time is about 12 hours followed by fifteen minutes rinse. The degree of cure / saltiness is defined by the time rather than the quantity (although I now prefer to buy a piece off the thick end of the fillet, or keep the tail end for cooking fresh - mainly because it's a fiddle to slice the tail end).

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Postby wheels » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:57 pm

When I saw them doing it at H Formans in London on a TV programme, I was surprised by how little they actually used - and virtually none on the tail.

You can also see the salting in this video (from an Irish smokehouse) at around 1:52 onwards.

I am sure that Martin is right - if the salt isn't touching the fish it's fairly irrelevant!

HTH

Phil
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Postby SumpRat » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:51 pm

I have done several cure and cold smokes of salmon (and trout and haddock). I used a 75%/25% mix of salt and sugar (plus a few herbs). Not sure where I read this but I read that you only need about an hour curing.

All my results so far have been good. A slight salty taste afterwards but hardy noticeable. A friend says the smoked haddock was the best he and his wife have tasted.

It certainly kept well, one vac packed trout fillet I did I ate two weeks later and it was still very good.
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Postby Dogfish » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:43 pm

One the west coast where I am there seems to be a recipe for every man woman and child for smoked salmon; the farther north or more remote you get, the more salmon is eaten. I've done hot smoked through half smoked, smoked until it could be powdered, done into jerky, whatever.

One thing I've never seen though is nitrate in a mix. Usually a fair amount of brown sugar, often soya sauce, almost always salt, and done in a wet brine.

I think the most important thing is keeping the temperature from getting much past 70 C. Everything else in a hot smoke is peripheral to preserving a good salmon taste. You don't want the fat to rise out, and you don't want the fish splitting along it's lateral lines.
Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
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Postby wheels » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:24 pm

SumpRat wrote:I have done several cure and cold smokes of salmon (and trout and haddock). I used a 75%/25% mix of salt and sugar (plus a few herbs). Not sure where I read this but I read that you only need about an hour curing.

All my results so far have been good. A slight salty taste afterwards but hardy noticeable. A friend says the smoked haddock was the best he and his wife have tasted.

It certainly kept well, one vac packed trout fillet I did I ate two weeks later and it was still very good.


Haddock is different from a safety point of view as it's subsequently cooked.

The only safety cold smoked salmon has is from a reduction in water activity. You need a 15 - 17% weight loss overall to get a safe product - according to the UK gov't research station - see:

http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/tan/x5886e/ ... tm#Smoking

HTH

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