In my opinion I have been buying smoked salmon for way to long. At least that is something I have realized after I have smoked my own for the first time. Ok, this may not be something I do every single time I crave for smoked salmon, but it could be something I did, every time I felt like doing something a little extra for the family. And Ok, the fact that I cannot have a charcoal grill at home in the apartment, may also limit it a little.
In the recipe we’ve used salmon, but in fact, you can use whatever fish you have. I prefer smoking fattier species, but that is just my personal preference. Trout, mackerel, or eel would all work very well smoked.
For the best result, you need to start up the process the day before you want the smoked salmon. You need to lightly cure the salmon. In this phase you can also add spices and herbs. But be gentle, so it doesn’t overpower the smoke and the salmon. Else there isn’t really any reason to smoke it. Cures salmon tastes lovely as well. But if you are only curing it, remember to freeze it a day in advance, so you get rid of all of the possible extra protein in the fish. That goes for all fish that you do not apply any heat to. Just to be on the safe side.
When smoking on the grill, you of course need a grill with a lid. Everything else seems to be a wasted effort. But I try to add as little heat as possible and smoking over indirect heat. So I just fired up 3-4 charcoals. When they were almost white hot, I added a bit of drenched smoke wood and some fresh herbs for extra flavour. Wild thyme and heather.
The day before. Sprinkle the salmon with equal parts salt and sugar. You need approximately 2 tablespoons of each for 1kg of salmon. I added a bit of crushed pepper aswell. Clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge over night or atleast a couple of hours.
Now it is time for the magic to happen.
Start up the grill. And let the coal get ready before adding any smoking wood and herbs. And when you have added the herbs, wait for the smoke to fill the chamber before adding the salmon.
In the meanwhile, rinse of all the extra salt on the salmon and dry it a little with a towel. Place the fish on a tin foil tray, if you haven’t got on of the those, try to fold it yourself, like I did. Smoke the fish for roughly half an hour – both depending on the size of the fish and how much smoke flavour you want. I think I did hit a medium. The salmon is ready if it splits into flakes, when you press it lightly.
If you think it have had plenty of smoke, but isn’t done yet, you can finish it off in the oven.
Enjoy straight away or cold. It is up to you.