Top 50 Gastropubs

‘Back Door’ Smoked Salmon

400g salt (this could be substituted for smoked salt (available online) – if so, skin the salmon beforehand)

120g soft dark brown sugar, or use white sugar for a less rich and complex finish

1⁄2 side of salmon, skin on (approx. 600g)

Salmon method

Access to a cold smoker or Bradley Smoker 

Mix the salt and sugar well – you could even use an electric mixer – and scatter half on a non-reactive tray large enough to accommodate the salmon fillet snugly.

Lay the salmon fillet on the salt mix, skin side up, then scatter the rest of the salt mix over the salmon, making sure it is well covered. If putting fillets side by side, please make sure the two fillets don’t touch and that there is marinade between them.

Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

The dry marinade will become soupy and wet; this is the extraction of moisture from the fish by the salt, so don’t worry about it. If you are feeling frugal, you can re-use the marinade for a second time. The salmon should be firm to the touch, a little leathery even, and noticeably ‘cured’.

Wash the fillet thoroughly in cold water, then pat dry with kitchen towel and lay it on the smoking rack.

If you have access to a cold smoker or a Bradley Smoker, make sure it is set up for cold smoking and follow the individual machine’s instructions for setting up and smoking.

Leave the salmon in the smoking chamber, either hanging or skin side down, for 4 hours, then remove and wrap in cling film and store in the fridge. Though not essential, all fish smoked in this way is best made a couple of days in advance for the flavours to settle and mellow, and will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.