Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cold Smoked Salmon Vs. Hot Smoked Salmon!

Yeah, this age old battle. It looks similar to what I imagine Gulliver saw as the little folk lined up to square off over which side of the toast the butter is applied. Under or over?

I, of course, eat salmon most ways. But for the time being I need to race off and get to the bank before it shuts. So, when I return we can follow this interesting idea a little further.

Right, made it to the bank so on with the show.

Firstly, the difference. Cold Smoked is salmon which has been left raw and preferably cured for about 24 hours and smoked without heat, hence cold smoked. Hot Smoked salmon needs about 2 hours of cure and is cooked in the smoking process. This leads to marked differences in taste and texture.

My particular preference is for Hot Smoked Salmon. Done right, as with almost all fish, it is delicate with a creamy, almost mousse/pate consistency. I particularly like the fact its incredibly versatile and simple to use making a simple pasta to scrambled eggs or salad restaurant like. Okay, you can get that sort of experience with Cold Smoked Salmon but not the smooth consistency which I think makes the Hot Smoking method so desirable.

I've heard a lot of people talk about the virtues of Cold Smoked Salmon but typically a number have not even tried anything but Cold Smoked Salmon and for others it seems that it is what they have been first introduced to and most familiar with. Usually the comment is that Hot Smoked Salmon is to dry and certainly I have had that experience and I wouldn't recommend that to anyone but when you experience Hot Smoked Salmon done properly, it is an unmissable experience. Don't get me wrong, I happily eat Cold Smoked Salmon but if I had a choice between the two methods, I will 9 out of 10 times choose Hot Smoked Salmon.

Conversely, I have heard others  say they find Cold Smoked Salmon "Slimy". If you find any fish slimy, unless its designed to be eaten that way, its probably worth avoiding. A good Cold Smoked Salmon typically has a firm texture which is due to it having lost water through the osmotic process brought about by curing. Depending on the amount of water lost, you may find Cold Smoked Salmon has a more intense flavour. The smoke as well as helping to preserve the salmon will also enhance the flavour.

However you choose to eat salmon, either Raw, Hot Smoked, Cold Smoked, Cooked or Gravlax, you want to look for similar things; Fresh from a reputable supplier, that its well packaged and that you transport & keep it in the best possible condition and in the quickest amount of time. This should help to ensure that when it comes time to eat your Salmon, either Hot Smoked, Cold Smoked or otherwise, that it will be an extraordinarily good experience. Definitely not slimy.

In the next post, we'll looking at buying and storing of salmon a little closer.

Finally, here's a recipe that has been incredibly successful for numerous customers:

Fettucine with smoked salmon, vodka and dill


  1. Thanks for the insight on this. I think I'll stay with hot smoked…

  2. It feels awe-inspiring to read such informative and distinctive articles on your websites.freakshow rda

  3. If you are ever in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I suggest you try Kristapsons cold smoked salmon. Pronounced the best way in the city for years on end. Never slimy and hand made in the heart of the city.

  4. Hi please clarify for me - personally I would never serve cold smoked salmon cold in a hot dish like eggs bene - or warm/heat it in anyway....
    I.e serve cold smoke in cold food and hot smoked can be either?