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There are several methods that fall into two overall categories: Hot smoked [cooked] methods include barbecued, kippered, smoked-canned and small whole fish and Cold Smoked [below 85 deg F] include Scotch/ Irish/Norwegian/Nova Scotian style, Lox, Indian or hard smoked, pickled-smoked, Seelachs and smoked roes & livers. Cold smoked products are still raw, deeply colored, with a texture like cured ham and can be thinly sliced without crumbling. Hot smoked products are colored on the outside only and will flake like other styles of cooked fish. Barbecued: or smoke-cooked fish is made in a pre-heated covered barbecue or a box-and-hotplate smoker. The fish is cooked in a smoky atmosphere without preliminary cold smoking or prior conditioning. Kippered: fish are conditioned before hot smoking by first drying the fish in barely warm air, then bringing it up to cooking temperature gradually to improve its appearance and quality. Canning: fish is first lightly smoked by putting it into a pre- heated smoker. High temperatures are used to draw the oil out to the surface. The smoking is light as the flavor will intensify during the pressure cooking stage. The fish should also be further dried before canning. Cold smoked: is known variously as Scotch, Irish, Norwegian or nova Scotian smoked and is appreciated by gourmets more than any other method. The fish are salted before smoking and is still raw although it is cured when finished. Lox: or Lachs [German] can mean many things- traditionally fresh fish lightly salted and mildly smoke cured [therefore still needing refrigeration and is perishable], recently frozen fish thawed, salt-sugar cured and lightly smoked [Nova Lax] and even salt-sugar cured and unsmoked. Hard smoked: jerky like and so dehydrated that it does not need refrigeration; based on traditional Native Indian preparations of cutting fillets into thin strips. These strips are partially dried by wind on sunny days or by fan in a dehydrator or a force draft smoker and smoked for only a portion of the drying time. Pickle-smoked: fish are pickled before smoking. This is a good way to enhance the taste of lean fish that do not otherwise smoke well. Seelachs: or ersatz salmon are salted, sliced thin, then dyed and smoked white fish. The Smoking Process: When fish is smoked it is also dried which improves the keeping qualities and improves the texture. Hot smoking also cooks the fish. The steps are filleting, cutting, salting, curing, smoking and final preservation. Filleting exposes more flesh to salt and smoke and allows faster drying. Whole fish unless small take a long unpredictable time to do. Small whole fish benefit from having the skin slit to allow penetration. Large sides of fish salt and smoke easier if the fillet is chunked into pieces according to thickness. Individual pieces can then be salted, smoked and dried for varying times according to the thickness of each piece. Thick pieces can be used for lox and Scotch smoked that are later thinly sliced crosswise for presentation and thin pieces hot or hard smoked, kippered, canned for serving whole. Salt: is necessary for flavor, releasing moisture from the fish thereby drying ut and for modifying [firming up] the flesh so that it can be thin sliced when serving. N.B. Use only PURE pickling salt not rock salt of unknown purity or table salt that contains additives. Curing: is the process of draining off the brine and partially drying the fish. The flavor develops fully during this waiting time [ of up to 24 hours] before actually smoking. Smoking: is generally done today in forced draft units to get a uniform amount of smoke onto all the fish. Natural draft smokers are unpredictable, variable and have no natural updraft in hot weather unless the smoker is set over 85 deg which results in poor quality and cooked fish. Final preservation is important because smoked fish, except for hard smoked, is still perishable. We salt and smoke lightly for [mild] flavor and not for preservation. Therefore refrigerate [up to three weeks max], freeze or can promptly. Extracted from: Smoking Salmon & Trout by Jack Whelan. Published by: Airie Publishing, Deep Bay, B.C. ISBN: 0-919807-00-3 Posted by: Jim Weller Posted to MM-Recipes Digest by "Rfm"
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