Cold-Smoked Silvers

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As I may have mentioned in the previous post, our one-day Grays Harbor marathon was motivated by food. Smarty’s amazing cold-smoked salmon, to be exact. The batch we tasted (and loved) last week was his first shot at a 100-year-old family recipe from the East Coast. But there were still some tweaks to be made and experimental ideas to check out in a quest to make something awesome even better. Only time will tell if we were successful.

The shot above shows the fillets laid out on rock salt after a quick treatment with brandy, of all things. Not sure what the brandy’s function is, but my guess is that alcohol does something to the texture or perhaps it’s purely to kill bacteria. In any event, we stuck to that part of the recipe. Later, we covered the fillets in a mix of salt and brown sugar, and left them to dry for several days.

Cold-smoked salmon, or lox, is tough to do well. Since the fish isn’t cooked, you’re relying on salt, sugar, air drying and cool smoke to cure the meat and create that silky texture and rich flavor. Timing for each step is everything. And since I haven’t ever done it before, this is a full-on learning experience. Smarty has the smoke going now in a new wood box he built just for this process, and I’m stoked to check in on it. Patience is key; we started the process on Sunday and I think it’s going to be done Saturday. I can hardly wait.

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