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Old 11-08-2001, 11:10 AM
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Son of EZ Smoker

Since the EZ Smoker discussion thread has degenerated into an arcane discussion of flies for bottom feeders, I thought I'd get things back on track with a few thiings I've learned about smoking salmon and steelhead.

First of all, if you really want to pursue this in the right way, buy the book _Smoking Salmon and Trout_ by Jack Whelan (Aerie Publishing, RR 1, Site 156, C27, Bowser, B.C., V0R 1G0 ISBN 0-919807-00-3). This 230 page volume contains the distilled wisom of a fish-smoking fanatic, who went to great trouble and expense collecting recipes, methods and processes for producing the highest quality smoked fish. Before I found this book, I thought I knew something about the techniques, having processed hundreds of pounds of salmon over the course of many years, but after reading the Whelan book I found I'd didn't know jack salmon about any of this stuff. I got my copy from a local sports shop; the book's probably available from on-line bookstores.

Whelan gives extensive directions for the Scotch, or cold-smoke process, which is just about impossible to bring off with a Little Chief smoker, since its internal temperature gets too high (cold smoking requires you run below 85 degrees for the duration of the smoking). Since I really wanted to produce cold-smoked salmon,
I tried various schemes and eventually evolved a contraption smoke-box that sits like a big hat on top of the Little Chief smoker. By playing around with the lid of the box, and monitoring internal temperature with a car outside-temperature thermometer, I'm able to keep the smoking temperture in the proper range and have been really successful at producing whole fillets of a very nice texture and appearance (I give these things as Christmas presents -- so the cosmetic appeal is a big deal for me).

If anyone wants the exact dimensions of the contraption, just email me off line and I'd be glad to send a more complete description.

My main point is, though, if you really want to get into this, buy the book.

Cheers,
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Old 11-08-2001, 11:17 AM
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Eric -

Are you getting a quality lox style result? (drool)

I assume you are using oak?
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Old 11-08-2001, 11:31 AM
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No, this isn't lox. Whelan gives directions for making several kinds of lox --Nova Scotia, Old-Fashioned, and Lox Salmon-- but I've never tried them (mainly since I don't eat fish). Suffice it to say, the Scotch method is a salt/brown sugar/rum process that results in a fillet that can be sliced very thin and has a texture like ham. I use alder, primarily, just to maintain the northwest tradition.

Cheers,
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Old 11-08-2001, 01:45 PM
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Juro,
I have done this and gotten a pretty good lox imitation:

Take the fillet and lay skin side down. Take other fillet and do the same. Take a mixture of 1part kosher salt, 1part sugar, 1/2 part crushed pepper and cover both fillets. Cover them really well. Then layer lots of dill on one side. Place the other fillet on top of the first flesh sides together. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap. Place in dish, and put some weight on top, about 5 lbs. Put it in the fridge and let it stand for about a week (5-7days). Rotate the fish daily. I slice it thin at the end of the week and use it just like lox from the store. Not quite a smoky flavor, but a damn good texture as well as a wonderfully fresh dill hue.

Nick
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Old 11-08-2001, 05:38 PM
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This sounds wonderful; I think it is a recipe for Scandanavian Gravlax, which is prepared in the way you describe.

Cheers,
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Old 11-09-2001, 04:07 AM
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My wife is Danish.Sounds like Gravlax.
Domenic
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Old 11-09-2001, 07:07 AM
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Yup, that's what the recipe was called now that I remember it. While on this topic, what are the differences between the two then? I thought that Lox was pretty similar to this concoction.

Nick
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Old 11-09-2001, 02:47 PM
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As I understand it, "Lox" can cover a wide range of prepared salmon and may or may not include smoking. Apparently the common denominator is that brine-cured fish is freshened (ie, rinsed in fresh water) and then dried until firm enough for slicing. The amount of sugar in the brine varies with whoever is making it. Gravlax refers to the weighted/dill-sandwich process you describe.
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Old 11-09-2001, 05:19 PM
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I'm starving!

Eric and Nick, thanks for the info. I will definitely pick up the book and Nick why don't you prep some gravlax for the Spring clave? }>
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