smoked salmon image

This month for Charcutepalooza, Cathy and Kim challenged us to make either hot smoked salmon or hot smoked pork loin/pork shoulder. I chose the former because smoked salmon is one of my very favorite foods (and because making hot smoked salmon meant being able to take the month off from discussing pink salt).

I tried to make hot smoked salmon a few months ago, using my wok set up like this. I loved the DIY-feel of making it that way, but really wasn’t thrilled with the results. So I took Cathy’s advice and purchased the Camerons Stovetop Smoker. I am very glad that I did as it wasn’t very expensive and I think I am going to use it a lot.

To make my smoked salmon, I started with a fillet of wild salmon and a dry cure based on salt and sugar (the recipe is at the end of this post). When you rub salmon and allow it to cure like this, you’re basically making the Scandinavian delicacy gravlax (although gravlax is generally made with dill, which I didn’t use). You could eat it without smoking it when it’s finished, and it’s quite delicious that way, just so you know.

While the salmon is curing, you want to have it wrapped very well and weighed down. I used a couple of big jars of tomatoes to accomplish this task, but you could use whatever you have around: even some rocks.

After 2 days in the cure, I rinsed the salmon thoroughly and allowed it to sit on a rack in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 24 hours. The purpose of doing this is so your salmon will form something called a “pellicle”, a shiny tackiness to the exterior of the fish. According to Rulman’s Charcuterie, allowing the salmon to form a pellicle means the smoky flavor will better adhere to the fish and there will be less chance it will dry out in the smoker.

The concern about moisture loss is a real one when you’re hot smoking with a stovetop smoker because there isn’t really a way to control the temperature. I was very worried my salmon would overcook, so I kept the salmon in the smoker for only about 16 minutes. This is less time than is recommended in the smoker’s manual, but I figured that since I’m perfectly happy eating raw gravlax, I’d prefer the salmon to be underdone rather than the other way around. Despite having no idea what the temperature was inside the the smoker, the results were really fantastic.

smoked salmon photo

I pretty much devoured the smoked salmon over a couple of days. I ate it on it’s own, in scrambled eggs, and on open-faced sandwiches, like this one with goat cheese and watercress (on Rudi’s gluten free bread).

smoked salmon on toast image

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I will be making this recipe again, for sure. And I can’t wait to try other foods in my smoker!


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  1. 1

    kate — April 15, 2011 @ 6:30 am

    Winnie-This looks amazing!

  2. 2

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Thanks Kate :)

  3. 3

    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — April 15, 2011 @ 6:58 am

    Gorgeous, as usual Winnie :-) I love the colour of the smoked salmon against the watercress. I want to be as good a photographer as you when I grow up!

  4. 4

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Aw, shucks Mardi. Thanks.

  5. 5

    Mosaica — April 15, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    Oh, delicious looking salmon, Winnie. I can’t wait for trout season to start here in VT so I can try your Pernod idea. Yum!

  6. 6

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Yum…smoked trout sounds great.

  7. 7

    Oui, Chef — April 15, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    Smoked is about the only way I’ll eat salmon (I know, words of a heretic), and I am SO giving this recipe a try! – S

  8. 8

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    Ok you try the salmon and I’ll try your winning horseradish recipe…congrats :)

  9. 9

    Yaelian — April 15, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    I LOVE hot smoked salmon! That looks sooo good! Here in Israel we only have cold smoked salmon,and I have to wait for the summer to get hot smoked salmon again,in Finland.

  10. 10

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    I’ve always thought cold smoked was better, but this changed my mind!

  11. 11

    RavieNomNoms — April 15, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    That looks phenomenal!!

  12. 12

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    Thanks so much!

  13. 13

    Fresh and Foodie — April 15, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    WOW! This is fantastic! I don’t know if I could wait that long for something this beautiful and delicious! Love the addition of pernod, too. Very nice recipe. Looks really good.

  14. 14

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    Good things do come to those who wait :)

  15. 15

    Rosa — April 15, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Wow, beautful! Your salmon looks delicious. I’d love to have a smoker…



  16. 16

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    You should get one…so easy to use and makes lots of things so tasty!

  17. 17

    Cecilia — April 15, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    Once again thank you for all your tips! Your smoked salmon looks lovely. I will definitely be making more of it too. And gorgeous photos!

  18. 18

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    You are so welcome and thanks for the photo compliments!

  19. 19

    Kathy - Panini Happy — April 15, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I can just imagine how wonderful this was. What a fun project!

  20. 20

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    Thanks Kathy…it was quite easy and yes, very wonderful!

  21. 21

    Kimmy @ Lighter and Local — April 15, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    Oh wow. I ended up smoking pork, but I really want to try salmon next. That open-faced sandwich looks divine. I also ended up buying the Cameron stove top smoker, and I’m so happy I did. It was so easy to use, I’ll definitely be getting it out quite often!

  22. 22

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    Thanks- I love your pork recipe and can’t wait to try it Kimmy!

  23. 23

    Mairi@Toast — April 15, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    Think I may have to invest in one of those smokers. Your salmon looks beautiful.

  24. 24

    Winnie — April 15, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    Go for it! Make this challenge very easy…

  25. 25

    Nutmeg Nanny — April 15, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of fish BUT can I just say this is beautiful. I love the color and the pictures.

  26. 26

    Julia — April 16, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    Love the smoked salmon! Wouldn’t last long in my house either!

  27. 27

    Lynda - TasteFood — April 16, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    I love that you made the gravlax first – I would have a hard time not gobbling it up at that point.

  28. 28

    Liz — April 17, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Oh, wow, that looks incredible! I love all things salmon…and I’d love to make this!

  29. 29

    Sha — April 28, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    What a treat! Beautiful hot smocked salmon…

  30. 30

    Delishhh — May 3, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    Nice work. I make my own gravlax all the time – but as you said with lots of dill and then make Swedish sweet mustard sauce. I marinate it for 3 days though. And then eat it just as is. Soooo good.