Smoked Wild Salmon

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Since overfishing and habitat destruction have driven Atlantic Salmon populations low enough to make it unprofitable to fish for them, the bulk of wild salmon caught nowadays are from the Pacific. Having learned a lesson from the Atlantic, regulations have been placed on the Pacific Salmon fishing industry to ensure the same does not happen. Wild salmon contain lower levels of dioxin than farmed fish, and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids--making the wild fish a healthier choice than the farmed, although any salmon is better for you than beef or pork.

Types of Smoked Salmon

Of the many ways to prepare salmon, one of the most specialized is smoked salmon. There are many ways to make smoked salmon, but all of them require some sort of smoker. Makeshift smokers can be built relatively easily, but most smoking is done in commercial smokehouses. These are businesses that specialize in smoked salmon products, and make a variety of flavors.

All smoked salmon requires curing (or kippering) a salmon fillet in a brine solution. This brine is salt water, with brown sugar and select spiced added to it. The ratios of salt and sugar, as well as the choice of spices in the brine, largely determine the flavor of the smoked salmon. In addition, the type of wood chosen for smoking will influence the flavor of the end product.

The most popular type of smoked salmon is cold smoked salmon, also called lox, which is not cooked by the smoking process. This keeps the salmon smooth, and it is used as a spread in this form. If the meat is smoked at a higher temperature, it cooks into a dish known as hot smoked salmon. If the salmon is left in the smoker for a much longer period, it dries out into a jerky-like texture.

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