Although it is often considered a delicacy due to its somewhat higher price, smoked salmon is very popular food because of both its taste and nutritional benefits. It is usually made from cured salmon fillets.
This article will not only answer the question how long it takes to smoke salmon but will also offer some advice on smoking process, briefly discuss health benefits of smoked salmon and offer some interesting recipe ideas involving this particular food. The smoking process can take various times, depending on whether you will use a smoker or not and also are you going to hot or cold smoking. If you are using a smoker and are preparing a cold smoked salmon, the process should usually take about 24 hours, with the smoker temperature set to 70 – 80 degrees. For hot smoking, the process usually lasts 3 – 4 hours, with the temperature set between 200 and 220 degrees. The best indicator that your hot smoked salmon is ready is the oil becoming dark.
How Long To Smoke Salmon?
There are some important differences between hot and cold smoked salmon. Cold smoked salmon basically only adds smoky flavor to your fish, while hot smoking both adds the flavor and at the same time cooks the fish. Therefore, the differences between the final product of the smoking process are quite significant.
The cold smoking process is usually more complicated and harder to do at home, as it basically requires a cold room into which the smoke is pumped. Hence, if you are preparing smoked salmon at home, hot smoking is the better option. A few hours that it takes will definitely be worth it as you will end up with a great tasting, flavorful food.
How To Smoke Salmon Without A Smoker
Not everyone owns a smoker, but fortunately, there is also a way to smoke salmon without a smoker. The method involves improvising a smoker using a gas stove, aluminum foil, wood chips, a wok and a cake rack.
Cover the wok with aluminum foil, leaving 10 – 15 cm extra on the outside, then add wood chips to the bottom. Place the cake rack on top of the wood chips and place the dried salmon pieces on the rack. Bring the extra foil from the edges and cover the salmon, creating a tent-like shape.
Place the lid tightly on the wok and place all of it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-high for about four minutes, then reduce to medium for another 12 for a fillet about one inch thick. For a two-inch thick fillet, do four minutes medium high and 20 minutes medium. This should do the trick just fine.
One extra tip: make sure to close the foil as tight as possible for the best results.
How Long Does Smoked Salmon Last?
Although the opinions differ somewhat on this topic, it seems that properly stored smoked salmon can last about one week if kept in the refrigerator. This one week limit is good to follow if you are scared of food poisoning as it seems to be verified by several pages and a number of consumers.
However, many people report that it can last several weeks as long as you keep it vacuumed and refrigerated, provided the food was properly processed in a first place. Smoked salmon kept in a freezer can last up to two or three months.
Is Smoked Salmon Healthy?
Like most other types of fish, smoked salmon brings a lot of nutritional value to the table. It is a great source of protein, which is important for keeping your tissues healthy. One three-ounce serving (approximately 85 g) of salmon should provide about 25% of recommended daily intake of protein.
Salmon is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which, as you may already know, is very important for your heart health as well as prevention of Alzheimer and dementia onsets. One 85 serving of smoked salmon contains 0.45 g of omega-3, which represents about 28% of recommended daily value.
Smoked salmon is very rich in minerals as well. One of the most important ones to mention is certainly iron, as one three-ounce serving contains 0.72 mg, which represents about 9% of recommended daily value. Iron is essential in ensuring a good blood flow and making sure that your tissues get enough oxygen to function properly. Low iron levels usually cause fatigue and elevated heart rate.
On the flip side, smoked salmon can also have some harmful effects if not consumed in moderation. One of the biggest drawbacks of smoked salmon is extremely high sodium level. One serving of 85g contains more than a third of recommended daily value, which is very high for this particular mineral.
Another very important risk that needs to be mentioned, especially pertaining to cold smoked salmon, is that the temperature at which the fish is processed is not high enough to kill bacteria. One particular bacteria, called Listeria, which is often found in salmon, can cause a rare type of food poisoning. People with weakened immune system, like pregnant women and elderly persons, are particularly sensitive to Listeria.
There is also some evidence, although not very conclusive, that smoked food, in general, can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Byproducts of smoking process, nitrates and nitrites, have been indicated as causes of stomach cancer.
Smoked Salmon Recipe Ideas
Now that you know how long it takes to smoke salmon and what processes you can use to smoke it, even if you don’t have a smoker, here is a great and simple recipe idea to try out.
Smoked salmon and lemon scrambled eggs
Although it is a fairly simple dish to prepare, as it only involves some eggs, lemon and black pepper, this is a very tasty and nutritious breakfast idea. Place a slice of smoked salmon on two halves of a buttered bagel and cover with scrambled egg. Grind some black pepper over it and serve it with a wedge of lemon on a side. It is simple enough to prepare and yet it tastes great and it will be a great start to your day.
If you are looking for more tasty recipes, look for smoked salmon, dill and lemon pate or smoked salmon roto lilos. Now that you know how to make your very own smoked salmon, all you need to do is explore and experiment as there are numerous tasty dishes out there just waiting to be made.
Images shared via usage of the creative commons version 2.0 license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image One by Naotake – https://www.flickr.com/photos/naotakem/4168008727/
Image Two by Maggie Hoffman – https://www.flickr.com/photos/maggiejane/3359690325/
Image Three by Toshihiro – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dakiny/4598323328/