16 April 2011

Hot Smoking...

Another month of charcutepalooza and this month we were all up for a little bit of hot smoking.  I was travelling back to the mother country so Charcuterie came packed in the suitcase with me for this month's challenge.

No smoker so I thought of the stove stop wok method or even Jamie's biscuit tin come smoker method.  What was closer to hand, and outside, was Dad's BBQ so that option won out in the end.  We even had a sunny day with temps in double digits so a good excuse to give the BBQ its first run of the season.  My chosen method, the 'intuitive' technique for hot smoking.  Roughly translated give it a go and see what happens.

Outside was just as well as a little more fire rather than smoke with one batch of wood chips.  I got a little impatient for smoke and piled half wet and half dry chips straight on the the BBQ frying pan to get things going.  Well, get going they did and a we had a wee fire and one slightly burnt thumb.  So a little patience is required and good things do indeed come to those who wait.

I was spoilt for choice for wood chips...hickory, apple wood, cherry wood.  I picked mesquite as it recommended them for fish.   The method I used is so simple and worked an absolute treat.  One sheet of tinfoil and a pile of wood chips, half soaked and half dry.  Wrap up your little parcel and spike it with a a good few holes to allow the smoke to do its thing.  Place on the BBQ over direct heat and just wait, 10 minutes or so and you will have fragrant smoke.  
I was using a quite small BBQ with a little rack built in so I just popped the salmon fillets on a tray and on the rack.  Alternatively place them on the opposite side to the wood chips over very little or no direct heat.  After only 10 - 15 minutes I had the most beautiful looking bronze burnished hot smoked salmon.

Let the salmon cool, as I found this allowed the flavours to develop a little more.  I of course couldn't resist trying it straight away.  So wonderfully moist, buttery and a subtle smokey flavour that develops with letting it cool.

See, it is that simple and now that I am back in NZ I think I will be heading out to find some wood chips to hot smoke a little more salmon and make the most of the these warm Autumnal days by firing up the BBQ for a little smoking before it is relegated to hibernation over winter.  Like the with the bacon making the flavours of hot smoking your own are revelationary.  The flavours more subtle than any bought hot smoked salmon.  But the texture....unbelievably moist and a melt in the mouth texture that is just wonderful.  I don't think we will be buying hot smoked for quite some time.

First up we had a few canapes, simply served on a few mini oatcakes or these cute little spoon type canapes that Mum had lurking with intent in the pantry.  Just topped with a little lemon, dill and horseradish creme fraiche.

Lemon and Horseradish Creme Fraiche

2 tbsp creme fraiche
1/2 tsp horseradish, you just want a little so as not to overpower the salmon
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp chopped dill
1-2 tsp lemon juice, just to get to consistency of cream
Salt and pepper to taste

And the following night the hot smoked salmon fillets with a little Spring asparagus (finally found some British asparagus among all the imports from Peru and Mexico!) and Jersey Royals, topped with a little hollondaise...the perfect Spring supper.



  1. Clever! We do making smoked chicken (hot) sometimes, but they take so long to 'cook'. But the taste is just worth the effort! Enjoy the rest of your trip :)

  2. Lovely post and I think your salmon looks terrific. The stovetop smoker worked great, though, so yes...you might want to get one :)
    Cheers and happy weekend ;)


  3. This was very good.I am going to miss all the cooking and trying out new recipes

  4. welcome back!! I am in love with hot smoked salmon (specifically the one at my favourite cafe). I imagine it'd be so satisfying to make your own :)

    Plus that lemon and horseradish creme fraiche makes me want to swoon, so perfect for this salmon.

  5. I'm so jealous of your mad smoking skills. Hot smoked salmon is to die for. Arfi, I've never even thought about smoking chicken at home. The stuff you buy at the supermarket always seems so chemical and fake. I wonder if I'd even be able to recognise real smoked chicken?


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