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Cold Smoked and Hot Smoked – the difference

Smoked Salmon

I have recently been asked on several occasions what is the difference between cold smoked salmon and hot smoked salmon and also if hot smoked salmon is spicy? I thought I would take the time to explain these differences in a fairly simple and straightforward way. So here goes!

Cold Smoked Salmon

To start with I would fillet a fresh salmon. The next step would be to cure each side, this is where the fillets are covered in a layer of salt for up to six hours. The reason for this part of the process is so that the salt can draw out the moisture. This can also help to prevent any growth in bacteria and assists in adding flavour to the fish. The Salmon is then dried for several hours before cold smoking. Cold smoking is a relatively slow process at a low temperature normally between 70°F to 90°F for between 10 hours up to several days. The sides of Salmon are kept away from any heat sauce as the smoked is passed by the food. As the Salmon is not cooked the texture remains smooth and virtually similar to its raw state. Normally this would be served as a full side or sliced and packed. Cold smoked Salmon can be kept for up two weeks if it is kept refrigerated.


Hot Smoked Salmon

Again the Salmon would be filleted. The next step would then be to brine the fillets in salted water solution for approx 30 minutes. This salted water is then washed off and fillets left to stand for approx 1 hour. This process does the opposite of curing and helps to impart moisture into the fish. The Salmon is then added to the smoking kiln where it will lie for approx 6-12 hours. The difference being that in the final hour of the smoking process the temperature is increased within the kiln up to around 180°F. This raising of the temperate cooks the fish slightly and also kills any microbes within the fish. As the Salmon is slightly cooked then the flakes of the fish become more apparent with a firmer texture. The flavour of the Hot smoked salmon has more depth. Hot smoked salmon can also be kept for up to two weeks it is refrigerated. The process of Hot smoking refers to the increase in temperature during the smoking process and does not mean the Salmon is ‘Spicy Hot’ in any way.

At The Fish House we regulary smoke our own salmon using both the hot smoke and cold smoke methods. We also smoke our own cheese, bacon, garlic and game!

Why not pop in and try some when your next in Port St Mary or make a point of coming to see us!



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The Fish House

1 Station Road, The Promenade, Port St Mary, Isle of Man, IM9 5BF

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