What is cold smoked salmon?
There are two ways to smoke salmon: cold-smoking and hot-smoking. Each method imparts a unique flavor and texture to the salmon. Silky, translucent cold-smoked salmon (top left) is cured in salt for up to 24 hours before smoking at 75°F to 85°F, usually for 6 to 12 hours.
Most smoked salmon is cold smoked, meaning it's smoked at a temperature that's not hot enough to cook the fish, nor hot enough to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Smoked fish is safe to eat, however, if it's fully cooked to an internal temperature of 74 C (165 F), such as in a pasta dish or casserole.
- The answer is yes! As long as you can confirm your salmon was frozen according to the FDA's freezing guidelines, you can eat salmon raw, and it's fantastic. This means that you can thaw your fresh frozen wild Alaska salmon to enjoy raw.
- The canning process doesn't degrade the nutrients in fish, so you'll get protein, heart healthy omega-3 fats and other nutrients from fresh and canned sources of salmon. However, it's easy and convenient to add canned salmon to on-the-go meals and it can be a part of a healthy diet.
- You'll need the freshest salmon fillet you can buy, then the method is to cure (so strictly speaking it's not smoked) over two days in a brine. Don't be scared of the fact you don't cook the fish over heat - the salt water infuses the raw flesh and makes it edible.
If it is commercially purchased smoked salmon, no you don't need to cook it. The smoking process used already cooked it. For home-smoked salmon, you'll need to ask the person who smoked it. Some use the cold-smoking method, which should be cooked.
- Salmon has a particularly great texture after it has been cooked and cooled, and you can use it in a whole swath of great summer salads. And since it has a strong taste to begin with, eating it cold doesn't dull its flavor and it can stand up to crunchy vegetable counterparts and acid-tinged dressings.
- Smoked salmon is a blanket term for any salmon: wild, farmed, fillet, steak, cured with hot or cold smoke. Lox refers to salmon cured in a salt-sugar rub or brine (like gravlax). Nova is cured and then cold-smoked (unlike lox or gravlax).
- Cold smoking. Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically done between 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F). In this temperature range, foods take on a smoked flavor, but remains relatively moist. Cold smoking does not cook foods and as such, meats should be fully cured before cold smoking.
Lox was traditionally only made from the belly of salmon, although other parts of the fish are now also used. The salmon is salt-cured or brined but never cooked or smoked, so it has a very silky, rich texture and translucency.
- Smoked foods, including smoked salmon also contain nitrates and nitrites which are by-products of the smoking process. Nitrites and nitrates can be converted into nitrosamines, some of which are carcinogenic. However, smoked salmon is not a major source of nitrosamine exposure to humans.
- Lox was traditionally only made from the belly of salmon, although other parts of the fish are now also used. The salmon is salt-cured or brined but never cooked or smoked, so it has a very silky, rich texture and translucency.
- This is a cured, un-smoked salmon, that is very similar to lox, with one huge difference: spices. The three basic ingredients are salt, sugar and dill (lots and lots of dill). Every gravlax is a little different, but they usually include one or all of the following: juniper berry, horseradish, pepper and aquavit.
Updated: 3rd December 2019