08-12-2014, 12:28 PM
#1
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There is a recipe I posted somewhere around here. I used that recipe less the vodka, it's just not important to use.

Farmed salmon from the Maine coast ( < 100 miles away probably) was sale priced this week so I bought part of a filet; 2 3/4# worth. I should have bought another one. We'll get another on Friday when we go back into town. Then I'll smoke both after the 2nd has had time to cure.

Here it is with the cure in place and vac packed ready to go back into the refrigerator to cure. One doesn't require a vacuum sealer to make this. It can be done in a pan and a weight put on top of it. It can also be done in a ziplok bag. The vacuum sealer makes it easy since air pressure does the pressing for me.

The cure is seen here as light and dark areas. The dark areas is where the cure has already begun to suck out the water from the filet. FWIW, it's only been a few minutes. The light area is where the cure hasn't had enough time to moisten from salmon juice. The cure works by sucking out the water and adding additional salt and sugar to the filet. That's important because the salt and sugar acts as a preservative. Doubly so for me because I'll smoke mine for 6 hours in apple/cherry wood. The cure also substantially changes the texture of the fish. It doesn't require smoking, it can be eaten after curing alone.

[Image: DSC04135_zpsec264784.jpg]

In the supplied recipe dill is called for but I don't care for dill, so I omit it. It also calls for pepper and I double that. I also fresh grind it.

In 2 days the fish will be cured, but that filet will sit in the cure for over a week before I start the smoker. Sitting in cure for that long won't hurt it. When both filets are removed from the plastic they will have shrunk and the amount of liquid will be surprising.

I'll keep the pictures coming in this thread through the entire process.

OK, why go to this trouble?

#1, salmon is grown locally so I can get it relatively inexpensively . Gravlox bought pre made costs substantially more. ($6 per 3-4 ounces? That would be $24/lb. I didn't pay $24 for that 2 3/4# filet.)

#2, It's not hard to make my own and I can make it the way I like it.

#3, I love the stuff, and making my own means I can pile it on and really enjoy it.

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 08-12-2014, 01:25 PM
#2
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My mouth is watering for some reason. I'll keep watching. Now let me see, where did I put that popcorn.

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 08-12-2014, 03:18 PM
#3
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(08-12-2014, 01:25 PM)DoctorShaveGood Wrote: My mouth is watering for some reason. I'll keep watching. Now let me see, where did I put that popcorn.

Just for you, Aaron: Icon_popcorn

Brian, I love lox! I, too, shall be watching this thread with interest. Smile

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 08-12-2014, 04:16 PM
#4
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I do miss my east coast lox bagels Sad maybe I can find one in Chicago when I get back.

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 08-12-2014, 10:31 PM
#5
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mhmm.. cured fish Smile

It's a shame my Better Half can barely stand the smell of it, cause cured fish is one of my favourite things... be it smoked, gravet, fermented or pickled - even if I draw the line at surstömming and hákarl.

Brian; if you like gravlax, you might want to give rakfisk a try.

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 08-12-2014, 11:02 PM
#6
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Hans, tell me more about rakfisk. Any links you might suggest?

I love pickled herring BTW. I never had fermented fish, but unless I'm not understanding I think the folks in Minnesota thereabouts might make something like it. I seem to remember seeing something about fermented fish.

EDIT: :-) OK Hans, you wrote that without smilies but I bet you're ROTFLYAO :-). I looked up rakfisk. I'm going to bet it's an acquired taste. That's all I'll write about it. I wouldn't mind trying it, but I doubt that I'd want to make a barrel of it to try one piece. :-)

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 08-13-2014, 02:12 AM
#7
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I'm actually quite serious - it is an acquired taste, but if you like gravlax as much as you say it's a good chance you'll like rakfisk.

But yeah, try a sample first - it's one of those foods one either love or can't stand the sight of.

A decent looking description of how to make it on this site - google translate at least makes a decent stab at it. A different recipe in english on this site. As you can see the basic idea of a cure + pressure is similar to gravlax.

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 08-13-2014, 05:05 AM
#8
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I wrote that fooling around. The descriptions and youtube videos are hysterical. I wonder what those folks would do with a piece of smelly cheese? One description of the smell reminded me of the way some folks describe ARKO or The Veg.

I'd like to try a piece, but I have no idea where I would find any of it; certainly not locally.

Interesting process.

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 08-13-2014, 07:22 AM
#9
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Well Brian, if you're ever in Norway I know a very nice "fish and game" store near my parents that has it in the season Smile

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 08-13-2014, 02:22 PM
#10
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24 hours in the cure. Compare to the photo above.

[Image: DSC04137_zpsbc6ba53d.jpg]

There is quite a bit of liquid drawn out of the salmon already. Until the day I smoke the gravlax, at least a few days from now, this will be for updates.

One of the reasons 'lox is so expensive is because one isn't buying "salmon" but salmon minus a large amount of the water; concentrated salmon.

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 08-13-2014, 03:42 PM
#11
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Looking good Brian.

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 08-20-2014, 01:41 PM
#12
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Today is salmon smoking day!

The salmon is out of the shop refrigerator, but still in the cure. I won't open the bags until immediately upon going over the smoke. We're looking at about 7# of salmon. The extracted salmon juice is clearly seen.
[Image: DSC04141_zpsa9309c86.jpg]

I washed the grates as best I could. They're really too big for the sink. The only part of the salmon that will touch the grates are the scales and skin which is wasted, but I prefer to have things as clean as possible for cold smoking.

The a-maze-n smoker has been lit. It's as full as I can get it with applewood pellets. I don't fully empty the Primo of charcoal and it would be a disaster for the charcoal to light, so I have the smoke generator on a piece of 1/4" aluminum plate to spread out any heat that wants to sneak below. The generator is elevated above the plate somewhat.
[Image: DSC04138_zps4befc6db.jpg]

The generator blown out and making smoke.
[Image: DSC04139_zps9be6dc27.jpg]

Assembling the Primo into a smoker. Above the a-maze'n smoke generator goes a layer of firebricks as a heat shield; I do want cold smoke and the smoldering fire does produce heat. Then the cooking grates above the firebricks. Smoke can be seen to be coming up to the cooking grate level.
[Image: DSC04140_zpsaef1b753.jpg]

This is what all of the above is about. The salmon is out of the cure and on the grates to smoke. I lit the smoke generator at both ends, so that will reduce the duration of smoke, but make the smoke in the Primo more intense. It should smoke for about 5-6 hours. When the smoke stops I'll wrap the filets and refrigerate them again. Thenm tomorrow I'll slice it, vac pack the 'lox and enjoy it during the winter. The cook will probably get some in the next few days as a treat. The pepper can clearly be seen remaining on the fillets, the salt is gone, it's in the salmon juice and in the fillets. BTW, the apple smoke smells fantastic.
[Image: DSC04142_zps32c73bef.jpg]

I'll update this thread with the finished product.

-----------------

It's been almost 5 hours and the salmon is still smoking. Today we have very little air movement and we were sitting out under the walnut trees and the air had the aroma of apple wood smoke. Just a delicious scent.

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 08-20-2014, 08:05 PM
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The smoke stopped near 2000, and in a few minutes after that they were wrapped and in the shop refrigerator. They've changed a bit in appearance and they no longer weigh 7# after smoking for 7 hours. I'll slice them tomorrow.
[Image: DSC04145_zps6edfc349.jpg]

I also made a loaf of the no knead crusty artisan loaf today.
[Image: DSC04143_zps863c9b67.jpg]

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 08-21-2014, 06:19 AM
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 08-21-2014, 06:33 AM
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That looks pretty yummy Brian, both the gravlaks and the bread Smile

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 08-21-2014, 02:05 PM
#16
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(08-21-2014, 06:33 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote: That looks pretty yummy Brian, both the gravlaks and the bread Smile

Signs011

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 08-21-2014, 05:00 PM
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Hey Brian, I don't think you know what you're doing....to me.Biggrin

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 08-21-2014, 09:13 PM
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(08-21-2014, 05:00 PM)DoctorShaveGood Wrote: Hey Brian, I don't think you know what you're doing....to me.Biggrin

Well, I'm hoping I'm creating the desire for you (and other folks) to make your own. Biggrin

I haven't sliced it yet. Hopefully tomorrow. I was just too busy today. I'm chomping at the bit, but too, it's not my first cruise. I'll probably pick up some whipped chive cream cheese, and the bread I made, toasted, would make a great base for some of the 'lox.

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 08-22-2014, 03:15 AM
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If I move to Maine would you be my best friend Brian.Biggrin

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 08-23-2014, 07:40 AM
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:-)

OK, as it turns out the subject line for the thread should be how not to make 'lox.

I got around to trying to slice the 'lox today. It wouldn't slice. It flaked instead and that's not 'lox.

I think it's the first time I ever made 'lox in the summer and I suspect the smoker got too warm. It got to 107°F and I suspect for 7 hours at that temp was simply too much for the delicate flesh. It will make delicious sandwiches, but it's definitely not 'lox. Winter is coming and I'll make some more then.

The bagged salmon is cooling down again, then I'll vacpak it.

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