I regularly smoke my own fish, it’s a real treat that is easier than you would think, and I just wanted to try and encourage a few people to give it a go themselves, unless you’ve tasted true smoked fish you haven’t tasted anything. The smoked salmon you most often buy in the supermarkets is sprayed with a smoke taste additive, and very often not even properly cured, as the curing process removes water and hence weight, so the supermarkets get more for their money which makes the salmon cheaper. The salmon in the first place is most likely farmed and fatty, so you get a washed out tasting oily fish.
You can cold smoke salmon or trout and both are delicious and easy to do at home.
The technique for curing the fish I use is a dry cure, basically a handful of coarse salt, a handful of dark brown soft sugar, a few grinds of black pepper, rub this into the fish fillets generously and then wrap in cling film. Leave for 4-6 hours, and you will see the fluid that has leached out (to supermarkets this is profit down the drain).
Wash the fillets and then allow to dry in the fridge for 12 hours, this forms a skin on the outside of the fish that allows the smoke to adhere to.
Then pop in a cold smoker, these can be easily made, I use a Pro-Q cold smoke generator which costs around £35, and enable you to cold smoke in almost any vessel, even a cardboard box, but there are also lots of DIY smoker plans out there.
I usually use beech wood dust to smoke as it is nice and sweet and not too strong, but you can add a sprinkle of other woods to give more character, I often use apple too for my fish, but the traditional wood is oak.
You then smoke for 10-12 hours, and you have yourself a product that couldn’t be further away from slimy supermarket smoked salmon.
Give it a try!