The ‘smoky taste’ is a flavor profile that has been popular worldwide for hundreds of thousands of years, that’s right, since man started cooking with fire. The process of imparting the smoky hues of wood and fire to food is something that has been cherished in countless cuisines that span all the continents of the planet, essentially anywhere man-kind can be found. Almost anything can be smoked from the more popular fish and meats, to cheeses and vegetables. That’s right, even vegetarian foods can be smoky! Here in the Great Northwest our most favorite food to smoke by far is wild Alaskan Salmon.
History of smoked food:
The idea of smoking food is one that dates back millennia and is a process that was born out of necessity. Initially, it is believed that people who dwelled in caves or chimneyless huts would string up their meats in the safety of the homestead, and soon discovered the effect of smoke on the meats and eventually began curing them in salt or salty brines beforehand to help aid in preserving the proteins. In a time with limited access to nutritional food and no access to or knowledge of the preservation abilities of ice, this was a monumental discovery.
What does smoking food do?
It is quite simple really. When smoke from burning plant materials (most commonly aromatic woods) comes in contact with the food, it leaves behind a number of pyrolysis products such as the phenols syringol, guaiacol and catechol. These compounds help to dehydrate and preserve the food.
What methods of smoking are there?
There are many different ways to go about smoking your food, too many to list. People from different parts of the world have traditionally burned anything from corn cobs to peat or dung to add flavor and preserve. Methods of pre curing such as the spicing, salting and use of salty brines also determine the outcome of taste, not to mention the temperature at which it is smoked. Here in the Great Northwest we have two popular methods of preparing our Wild Alaskan Salmon. They are cold smoking and hot smoking.
Usually cold smoked salmon is cured in a salty brine and then hung up over some smoking aromatic woods such as oak, cherry or plum and smoked at 99’F for hours or up to days. Master smokers are excellent at achieving optimal conditions. The result is a rich, smooth and buttery meat that is tender, moist and flavorful. This type of smoked fish is often eaten on a bagel or cracker with cream cheese, tomato and onion.
Just like with cold smoking, the salmon is initially cured in a salty brine, then strung up over local aromatic woods and smoked at around 160-200’F. Again, this process can last hours or days depending on desired results. The result is a firm textured, delicious fish with a strong smoky essence.
Health Benefits of Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon:
- Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon is rich in dietary protein which breaks down into essential amino acids and helps promote healthy tissues and muscles.
- Smoked salmon is an excellent source of essential minerals such as iron. Iron promotes healthy blood cells which in turn support the metabolism and may help control symptoms of fatigue and elevated heart rate.
- An excellent source of fatty acids which promote brain function and in turn may help stave of depression, heart disease, macular degeneration, memory loss or even dementia.
- Smoked salmon contains healthy B vitamins and vitamin D which help convert food into energy required to get through the day and also promote healthy bones and over all good health.
Don’t have the time to perfectly season and smoke your own fish???
Have no fear! You can buy Wild Smoked Salmon that are sustainably trolled and line caught in the pure, glacial waters of Alaska right here at:
Just a click away!