cure for salmon/fish

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bmeyer50
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cure for salmon/fish

Post by bmeyer50 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 20:46

I'm curious why people don't use the instacure more for fish?
Also, there seems to be so much variation on recipes and amounts of ingredients.
Since I'm new to doing this, I'm looking for a simple cure/brine and want to use the instacure since I'd rather not poison someone accidentally!
I'll be cold smoking, so any suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks in advance!
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Post by ssorllih » Thu Oct 02, 2014 03:31

I always use some, same rate as for smoked sausage.
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Thu Oct 02, 2014 06:13

Hello bmeyer50 and welcome to the WD forum! And when it comes to curing and smoking fish you've come to the right place. Stanley Marianski who has recently released a book on the subject http://www.amazon.com/Curing-Smoking-Fi ... 983697396/, has posted valuable excerpts on this site. Check out these pages:
http://www.amazon.com/Curing-Smoking-Fi ... 983697396/
and all of the recipes here:
http://www.meatsandsausages.com/fish/recipes

There are so many fish smoking recipes out there that it's mind boggling. In fact the best are the ones that are simple and celebrate the taste of the fish rather than trying to mask it with strange concoctions, syrups and rubs.

I cold and hot smoke about 20 salmon a year and use a similar brine as Marianski's "typical brine", but I use less salt. I use 400g salt and 200g sugar per 4 litres. I also add garlic, lemon and sometimes fresh herbs from the garden. And about three years ago I started using Cure #1, as per Marianski, 2tbs to 4 litres. I give away a lot of my salmon and cold smoked salmon canapes are a standard appetizer at our house. I feel much better in increasing the safety factor by adding the nitrite. Remember that the brine works through the fish very quickly and is very different from meat.

Make sure you post pics and tell us a bit about your smoking adventures.

Chris
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Post by NorthFork » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:58

bmyer50-
redzed nailed it with his keep it simple advise. I have smoked a lot of fish and the best basic recipe I have found is much the same as redzeds'-

I use 1 gallon of water, 34 grams of cure #1 and 412 grams kosher salt, dissolve all ingredients and chill well. Clean the fillets and for fillets from 1 to 2 inches thick I brine (refrigerated) for two hours (for thicker or thinner filets adjust time accordingly), rinse well and then I soak in clear water for about 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the surface salt a little. I dry them until the surface is tacky and smoke with a thin alder smoke at 75° to 80°F for about 3 hours. Gradually raise the smoker temp to around 165°F and hold until the fish reaches 145°F and remove and cool. During the last phase you can use smoke or not, depending on how smoky you want the product to be.

You can sweeten this some by adding some dextrose or sugar (I use 136 grams dextrose if smoking for someone who wants it sweetened a bit). You can also add any other ingredients that you like but the best ingredient to add is high quality, fresh fish. If you have good, properly handled, fresh fillets you can't go wrong. If the fillets are of poor quality all of the smoking and ingredients in the world can't turn it into a high quality product.

I find alder to be the best for fish but any mild smoking wood will work.

Good luck and welcome to the site
Pat
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bmeyer50
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Post by bmeyer50 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 14:08

Thanks for the welcome! I'm glad I found this site, it looks like a lot of fun, and some really good folks! I'll for sure post pics of my adventures and my smoker setup since I built it myself...right now its just a trash can, BUT I pimped it out! STC-1000 temperature controlled, cool air fan/hot plate and a DIY venturi cold smoke generator. If I really enjoy the hobby I can pull all the components and put them on something more permanent, but I thought I'd start small! LOL
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Post by redzed » Fri Oct 03, 2014 07:29

NorthFork wrote:bmyer50-
redzed nailed it with his keep it simple advise. I have smoked a lot of fish and the best basic recipe I have found is much the same as redzeds'-

I use 1 gallon of water, 34 grams of cure #1 and 412 grams kosher salt, dissolve all ingredients and chill well. Clean the fillets and for fillets from 1 to 2 inches thick I brine (refrigerated) for two hours (for thicker or thinner filets adjust time accordingly), rinse well and then I soak in clear water for about 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the surface salt a little. I dry them until the surface is tacky and smoke with a thin alder smoke at 75° to 80°F for about 3 hours. Gradually raise the smoker temp to around 165°F and hold until the fish reaches 145°F and remove and cool. During the last phase you can use smoke or not, depending on how smoky you want the product to be.

You can sweeten this some by adding some dextrose or sugar (I use 136 grams dextrose if smoking for someone who wants it sweetened a bit). You can also add any other ingredients that you like but the best ingredient to add is high quality, fresh fish. If you have good, properly handled, fresh fillets you can't go wrong. If the fillets are of poor quality all of the smoking and ingredients in the world can't turn it into a high quality product.

I find alder to be the best for fish but any mild smoking wood will work.

Good luck and welcome to the site
Pat
Hi Pat,

So when you smoke for yourself you don't add any sugar to the brine? Is it not too salty? I have only smoked salmon and always add the sugar. Maybe will have to experiment and go sans sucré :shock: And I agree, alder seems to br the best choice for salmon.
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Post by NorthFork » Fri Oct 03, 2014 13:11

Hi Chris,

That is correct, I usw nothing but the salt and cure#1 in our own smoked fish. The trick, I guess is to get the timing right for the brine soak and then the rinse soak-you can't really do any taste tests so have to play it by ear. The fish does have a bit of an upfront salt taste but not what I would call strong.

I started doing fish this way several years ago for a client from France (as I have mentioned before I was a fishing Outfitter for many years). This gentleman spent a couple of weeks each year on my boat and is quite the connoisseur. My wife spent many hours each day preparing his lunches, but he was a great client and it was well worth the effort. Several years ago he asked if I could find someone to smoke some steelhead for him to take home to France. I had my wife check out the local smoke shops and she could find none that she felt were worth taking a fish to-let alone eat anything from there smokers. To make a long story short, I had him keep one of his fish the next day and I brought it home that evening and prepared it for smoking. I used several traditional and popular recipes (including our favorite at the time-a dry rub with only Johnny's seasoning salt and brown sugar), on a whim I made up a medium salt brine and added some cure just for kicks and brined the fish a couple of hours. The reason I did this was that this man was very basic in his tastes-sandwhiches for instance were bread (homemade), salted butter and various meats that were home cooked. At any rate, after a very long evening and night, I had all of the fish done by the time I headed out at 5:00 the next morning. We did a taste yest on all four samples and were very taken with the plain salt product-the others were very good also but that one was very good. That day when we stopped for lunch I had him taste each one, the first two were a typical seasoned up recipe that is very popular with many folks(he actually spit them out) the third was our rather plain recipe and he shrugged and said it was OK (with a lack of sincerity in his voice), when he tasted the salt cured fish he lit up like a kid at Xmas and after that I would smoke two or three fish for him each year to take home along with his fresh fish and we have been hooked on it ever since as well.

Sorry to ramble, I might add that my wife really doesn't care much for smoked product of any kind but this fish doesn't even get cooled off before she is at it- with a fork no less! I have 4 nice chunks of Spring Chinook in the brine as I write this-that is what she wanted for dinner this evening--one more thing, I do feel that the cold smoking phase is the key to this, along with good fish. Mine is from frozen fish now but it still makes a very good product.

Pat
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Post by redzed » Fri Oct 03, 2014 15:18

That is an interesting story. Europeans love our salmon! Two years ago we had visitors from Italy and that is all they wanted to eat.

One other question regarding the salt only cure. I always thought that the sugar also helps with forming that nice pellicle that is necessary for a proper smoking. What's it like with salt only?
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Post by NorthFork » Fri Oct 03, 2014 20:00

Chris,

I don't have a problem with the pellicle, when I remove the fish from the rinse I dry it well (paper towels) and place it on the small smoking trays that I have (1/4 in. wire grid) and run a small fan on it for a half hour or so. I let it get pretty tacky to touch and then go to the smoker with it. I get a nice dry surface on the fish as it smokes-almost a glaze. I have done some fish with an actual glaze (honey, or brown sugar solution brushed on in the final smoking phase), but it is a bit to sweet for our taste-but it sure is pretty! I have left the fish a bit too long under the fan and ended up with an almost leathery coating after smoking.

Pat
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Post by ssorllih » Sat Oct 04, 2014 05:22

The pellicle will develop with or without salt and/or sugar. I am sure millions of pounds are dried and smoked on primitive frames every year.
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Post by beconizer » Sat Jan 24, 2015 23:57

I do a cured salmon in salt, brown sugar, coriander seeds, Spanish smoked paprika and dill.

I use 3 parts of salt and one part of sugar - coriander and Spanish smoked paprika to your taste.

I have covered salmon filet with fresh dill first and with above curing solution - about 5 millimetres thick. I have wrapt it in a cling film, put under weight and stored in the fridge for 3 days.

After just removed cure - no rinsing. 3 more days to dry and we got a fantastic cured salmon.

Will post some pictures tomorrow.

Derek
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Post by StefanS » Sun Jun 07, 2015 16:07

It is relatively old topic but I found it and decide give a try - so here are my results:
Ihave used North Fork recipe and process.
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Got some Salmon Fillets - Norway/Atlantic Salmon (farm raised)
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Submerged in "Pat's brine"
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Drying time and process like Pat suggested
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Smoking
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Final - hot smoked salmon....... and never more I will be doing it with salmon from superstores. "Pat's brine" and recipe and process very good but fish? - during a brining I have found that it will be not so good final product. -- very small print on overwrap -" minimally processed" then another small print - artificial color added.
Fillets were soft and very, very moisture almost like sponge. :sad: :cry:
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Post by redzed » Mon Jun 08, 2015 01:52

Hmm, "minimally processed" can mean a many different processes, including freezing. But obviously you bought farmed salmon and the texture and flavour of it depend a lot on what it was fed. And fish spoils very fast, so it might have been a few days from the time that the fish was filetted, packed and sold to you. What really bugs me about buying fish at the supermarkets are notices liked "Thawed for your convenience" or "previously frozen". If you are going to buy frozen fish then wouldn't it be better to buy them frozen and thaw at home for when you need it?
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