Simple Home Smoked Salmon
This is as simple as smoked salmon gets. Here I used our Professional Meat and Fish Smoker with the non-electric firebox. I packed the firebox 3/4 full of sawdust. I used about 1.5kg of plain beech sawdust and 500g of our beech sawdust with juniper berries. I lit the firebox, with vents fully open, using a standard blowtorch. After placing the firebox in the smoker for approximately 5 minutes the fish was ready to be offered up to the smoker.
Preparing the Salmon (Trout or Loch Trout are equally suitable)
Fresh clean Salmon fillet before salting.
First clean the fillet. Place a good cm of table salt in a dish and place the salmon skin side down on the salt. Sprinkle table salt on top of the fish making sure to cover all parts. Put less salt on the thinner tail end. Store in a cool cupboard for 3 hours. Remove the fish from the salt and wash it. The fish will have shrunk a little and the flesh will have firmed up. You will notice the salt is now full of extracted moisture and should be discarded.
Salmon fillet after salting for 3 hours. It has shrunk and firmed up.
At this point, it is preferable to leave the fish to air dry for several hours - I was in a rush and used a hairdryer (cold setting) for 10 minutes.
I like to smoke salmon fillets flat on a rack instead of running the risk of it falling off the hooks. To this end I suspended a small oven rack from four meat hooks in the Outdoorcook Professional Meat and Fish Smoker and placed the fillet on the rack. This was at 5pm. A thin trickle of smoke was visible at the smoker chimney until darkness fell. I left the firebox vent fully open as well as the chimney vent.
Outdoorcook Professional smoker with oven rack suspended from hooks
At 8am the following morning the trickle of smoke had stopped. Waiting for me in the gloom of the smoker was the glossiest most mouthwatering piece of salmon I could have hoped for. As the smoker I used was fully insulated, the temperature inside would have risen gently over a period of about 4 hours then slowly fallen again as the sawdust was slowly used up. Initially the temperature was about 20 degrees with a likely brief peak of approximately 60 degrees after several hours. As the vents were left fully open, most of the heat was allowed to escape and the smoker was outside air temperature by morning. Although the smoking process took over 12 hours and mostly at a low temperature, this is still technically a hot-smoking process as the salmon ends up cooked through.
Drizzled with a little lemon juice the salmon was utterly delicious. A slice of pure home-made luxury!
NB: Always use the freshest ingredients, take great care with food hygiene and of course check your food is cooked through before consuming.