Smoking Seafood at Browne Trading
For centuries, fishermen across the world utilized curing to preserve the excess catch that could not be consumed fresh. While this was done under different conditions, the fundamental steps and formulas remain the same.
Over the years Browne has refined our process to ensure the finest possible smoked fish available. In fact, many say our Scotch Smoked Salmon is their favorite food of all time.
Our smoked seafood, cold or hot, is completely natural and free of any artificial preservatives.
The Difference Between Cold & Hot Smoking
There are a couple of significant differences between cold and hot smoking.
For cold smoking, the product stays below 90 F for 6 hours to achieve a delicate and lightly cured smoke taste. With a hot smoke, the product is smoked for 30 min at a higher temperature, giving a stronger smoke flavor .
When our seafood is hot smoked the product is held in the same chamber as the burning wood. During a cold smoke, the product is placed in an unheated chamber, which is then filled with smoke.
Curing the Seafood
The most commonly used methods are a dry cure or brining (liquid). At Browne, we apply our cure by hand as a dry rub:
Curing is used to draw out the moisture and primarily consists of salt. Other cure ingredients include:
- maple syrup
The salt draws out the moisture, firming the texture and adding flavor.
Fattier fish draw out less moisture, which prevents drying out – alluding to salmon’s great popularity.
Once the cure is applied, the fillets are placed on racks to cure for a minimum of 21 hours in refrigeration. Before going into the smoker, the salt/sugar cure is rinsed off and the product is left to air dry.
“Cold smoking” occurs when the ambient temperature is LOWER than 90 degrees F.
We keep ours at an optimal 78 degrees F. While smoking periods vary, generally smoke 6 hours per batch.
The key to the process is the type of wood chips used.
Hardwoods are favored, and fruitwoods are preferred. Hickory Applewood in particular creates a mild “cool smoke” that naturally enhances the flavor of the cured fish.
At Browne, our smoker produces only about 120 fillets per batch, making it a true artisanal production.
Slicing & Packaging
Once the fillets have gone through the smoking processes, they are cooled on racks for over 40 hours.
When ready for slicing, the skin is removed, and each fillet is hand-fed through our custom slicer.
From there, the slices are portioned, individually cryovaced, labeled, and ready to ship.
Salmon remains the most popular smoked fish in modern cuisine. The appeal stems from its high fat content, which gives it a rich flavor along with its flesh structure that contributes to a natural luscious texture.
Our Atlantic Farm Raised Salmon is perfect for smoking because they are fed a stable, nutritious diet & harvested at an ideal maturity.
Because of the consistent quality of our salmon, they always have a perfect fat structure for our smoking process.
Cold smoking salmon, fundamentally, is a simple – albeit time-consuming – process. At Browne, from the preparation to the final packaging, our smoked salmon varieties take 4-5 days to make.