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Smoking Salmon and Trout - Scotch Smoking Prep

Wet brining pieces for Scotch smoking: You can use a plain brine
or a sugar-spice-salt brine.

Plain brine: prepare in the same ratio as injection brine above.
Cool brine to below 50 F and keep the fish and brine cool throughout
the process.


PLAIN SALT BRINING TIMES

:Piece thickness Fat fish Lean fish

: 3/4" 2 hrs 1 1/3 hrs
: 1" 3 hrs 2 hrs
: 1 1/4" 4 hrs 2 2/3 hrs
: 1 1/2" 5 hrs 3 1/3 hrs
: 1 3/4" 6 hrs 4 hrs
: 2" 8 hrs 5 1/3 hrs
: 2 1/2" * 10 hrs 6 2/3 hrs
: 3" * 12 hrs 8 hrs

* These thicker pieces will benefit from brine injection with a
needle.


Salt-sugar-spice brine: ratio 4 1/2 c pickling salt and 1 1/2 c
white or brown sugar to 4 qt water. Add, adjusting to taste, 50
bay leaves or 2 tb mace or 8 tsp peeper or 5 tb juniper berries.
simmer the spices in brine 45 min. Strain brine through a cloth,
discard spices and cool the brine.


SUGAR-SPICE-SALT BRINING TIMES

:Piece thickness Fat fish Lean fish

: 3/4" 2 1/2 hrs 1 1/2 hrs
: 1" 3 1/2 hrs 2 1/2 hrs
: 1 1/4" 4 3/4 hrs 3 1/4 hrs
: 1 1/2" 6 hrs 4 hrs
: 1 3/4" 7 1/4 hrs 4 3/4 hrs
: 2" 9 1/2 hrs 6 1/2 hrs
: 2 1/2" 12 hrs 8 hrs
: 3" 14 1/4 hrs 9 1/2 hrs

These times are just a guide; each fish is different. When done
the flesh will be firm enough for slicing and feel like the lean
part of a slab of bacon when pressed between the thumb and forefinger.

After brining, place the fish pieces skin side down so they can
drain. Tilt the drain trays so that the brine runs off the fish to
prevent salt deposit build up on the fish. cure 12 hrs at a temp
below 70 F.



Smoking Salmon and Trout - Scotch Smoking

How to Scotch smoke: the properly salted and cured salmon now needs
Smoke color and flavor and sufficient drying for good taste and
texture. Often the fish needs more drying time than smoking time
to avoid an overly smoky flavor. In smokers with supplementary heat
drying can continue after smoking at the same temp -85 deg F. In
smokers without supplementary heat use a small clear fire with as
little smoke as possible. The amount of color depends not on the
amount of smoke deposited but the temp.

Smoking Sequence: -Smoke for sufficient color. -Dry further without
smoke to firm up if necessary. -Give the fish a polished look.
~Sweat the fish to firm up. -Refrigerate for further firming.

Smoking:- In a forced draft smoker, smoke temp at 85 F, time 10-12
hrs, smoke density medium. in a natural draft smoker, 85 deg, up
to 24 hrs depending on the weather [you get stronger updrafts at
85 deg on cool days- if the ambient temp is 85 or more the smoker
will have NO updraft!], smoke density light to medium.

Drying: Forced- 1-3 hrs at 85 without smoke. Natural-up to 24 hours
at 85 with as clear a flame as possible so as not to oversmoke.

Polish: Give the fish a moderate burst of heat [100 deg f] for 15
min to bring the oil to the surface.

Weight Loss: From salting and smoking/drying should run around 18%
for fatty fish up to 25% for lean.

Sweating: For fish that are still not firm enough, sweat the fish
by leaving in a cool place 24 hrs. Moisture will come to the surface.
Then continue drying in the smoker.

Refrigerate: Difficult fish improve by letting the fish condition
a few days in the refrigerator unwrapped before slicing.

Storage: Cool the fish before wrapping. Even at 85 the fish will
sweat if wrapped before cooling and spoil quickly. Freeze any
surplus as Scotch smoked fish is still perishable.

Serving: Slice very thinly. Serve with rye or pumpernickel bread
and unsalted butter or cream cheese. Pass around lemon wedges and
the pepper grinder. Garnish with sliced or grated hard cooked egg,
paper thin onion slices and capers, country ham slices and home
made flavored mayonnaises.

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