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Thread: Cold smoking salmon with or without skin?

  1. #1
    Member Hans-Linus's Avatar
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    Default Cold smoking salmon with or without skin?

    Hi
    I will (hopefully) catch some Cohos in Kodiaks streams in September. I will ship some fish to Anchorage for smoking (and packing and paperwork). In recent years I made nice fillets still with the skin on. This way, they smoked the fish - no problem.

    Now, I am thinking of removing the skin before smoking. What are your telling me? Better smoke salmon with or without skin? Any disadvantage without skin?
    Thank your for your advice.

    Hans, very happy to come to AK again for some flyfishing

    http://hansmetzler.me/

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    Member AK-Bandit's Avatar
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    I've never done a true "cold smoke", so I'm not sure my opinion will help you or not. But I like to leave the skin on during smoking because it helps keep those good fatty oils and juices trapped in the meat. I like my smoked salmon somewhere in the middle between jerky and juicy. You can easily peel the skin off in one piece after smoking.
    Are you just wanting more smokey flavor in the meat?

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Simply a matter of preference. I always remove the skin and all fat prior to smoking as I don't care for all the extra oil/juice in my fish, plus I feel I get better penetration of the cure without the skin. Hot smoking is as much of a drying process as it is a smoking process, and I like the end product a bit on the dry side.

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    Member Hans-Linus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Bandit View Post
    Are you just wanting more smokey flavor in the meat?
    No, when I fly home, I will carry a lot of stuff (from kayaking, fishing, etc.). So, I think, a little less weight would be OK. So, maybe I bring home one fillet more...and, when cutting nice slices of smoked salmon, it's maybe a little easier without skin.

    No big deal, I know. But, maybe a little more flavour, could be. When cold smoking, the fish should not be too dry, if the skin is removed.

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    Default skin on and down

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans-Linus View Post
    Now, I am thinking of removing the skin before smoking. What are your telling me? Better smoke salmon with or without skin? Any disadvantage without skin?
    Thank your for your advice.
    The skin-on does help to hold it together. That might be a deal breaker for you if a lot of your fillets ended up in the bottom of your smoker because they wouldn't hold together at the point that they're done and ready to pull.

    Smoking with skin-on, I've never had any trouble getting good smoke to all parts of the fish, so I don't worry about exposure.

    Also, the skin seems to work well in contact with the grates of my smoker; I wonder how well meat would fare if in direct contact like that....

    But, I do it my way (skin on, and down) and don't know much about other ways.

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    Member Hans-Linus's Avatar
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    I guess, you're right, thanks.

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