Food & Drink

Smoked Salmon - is there a difference in taste / flavour depending on which PART of the salmon you are eating?

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Smoked Salmon - is there a difference in taste / flavour depending on which PART of the salmon you are eating?

I am wondering in the world of smoked salmon, when I see places smoke it, they smoke the whole salmon filet...both halves of the fish - deboned. A pretty big slab.

I understand that different salmon would produce different end products...this I get.

BUT, after smoking it, is there a difference in flavour between having slices closer to the tail as compared to slices closer to the head or from the middle?

I ask this because when I look at the Kristapson's site (HERE), they specifically say which part of the salmon the specific slices come from. And it looks like the tail slices are the most expensive.

Price profile is:

$12 for 150g of tail slices
$24 for 250g of gill area slices
$46 for 500g of mid section slices

So...I was wondering if there is anyone who knows why there is a price difference like this...and if there is actually a taste difference between the "cuts" of the fish?
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Never done a taste test but tail is smaller so not so nice visually and maybe it could be tougher??due to more work.
The mid would be most consistent visually obviously.
Gill area is fattier which is why you see Salmon "collar" on some resto menus.

If you're going to eat it not for entertain, maybe buy the tail which is cheapest.

If you're going there, ask them the same question and then ask them for a tasting sample from each section!!!
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Those are not different prices because of quality. They are different based on the amount of meat. Smaller amounts always cost more per ounce....
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Cough wrote: Those are not different prices because of quality. They are different based on the amount of meat. Smaller amounts always cost more per ounce....
Normally I'd argue that point, but the 50g size I'm thinking of currently (sold cheap at Giant Tiger) is sold frozen, not fresh, so my point ends up being moot.
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Those little packages that are frozen onto foil cardstock are typically all the same as long as it is the same type of salmon. I'd just go with what is least expensive.
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I've always got the impression that the tail end of a salmon filet was more fatty. IMO, the best part is the middle where you get the best taste, texture, and aesthetics.

Shameless and annoying "I-can-do-it cheaper-myself" plug. $8/lb on sale salmon fillet is $16 for a 2 lb fillet = ~$1.75/100g. Easier than you might think.
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toram23901 wrote: I ask this because when I look at the Kristapson's site (HERE), they specifically say which part of the salmon the specific slices come from. And it looks like the tail slices are the most expensive.
Price profile is:
$12 for 150g of tail slices
$24 for 250g of gill area slices
$46 for 500g of mid section slices
So...I was wondering if there is anyone who knows why there is a price difference like this...and if there is actually a taste difference between the "cuts" of the fish?
On a $/100g ratio the smaller size costs more per 100g. In this case there's also less saleable meat from the tail hence the smaller portion size.
The larger size costs less because you're buying more. In this case there's also more saleable meat from the mid section hence the larger portion size. The $/100g of the mid section and gill area are almost the same.

The similar principle would apply if you were buying say cheese in small portion (costs more) or a large portion (costs less) with both options. Or say shopping at any supermarket (single quantity) compared to Costco (large quantities).
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DiceMan wrote: I've always got the impression that the tail end of a salmon filet was more fatty. IMO, the best part is the middle where you get the best taste, texture, and aesthetics.

Shameless and annoying "I-can-do-it cheaper-myself" plug. $8/lb on sale salmon fillet is $16 for a 2 lb fillet = ~$1.75/100g. Easier than you might think.
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Nice cold smoke.

I usually do Gravlax, which is cured salmon.
Last edited by gr8dlr on Jan 8th, 2021 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DiceMan wrote: I've always got the impression that the tail end of a salmon filet was more fatty. IMO, the best part is the middle where you get the best taste, texture, and aesthetics.

Shameless and annoying "I-can-do-it cheaper-myself" plug. $8/lb on sale salmon fillet is $16 for a 2 lb fillet = ~$1.75/100g. Easier than you might think.
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Looks good.
I use the same pellet tray in my Kamado. I got a cured Salmon in the fridge now, so ill try to take some pics for the BBQ thread if i can remember.
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DiceMan wrote: I've always got the impression that the tail end of a salmon filet was more fatty. IMO, the best part is the middle where you get the best taste, texture, and aesthetics.

Shameless and annoying "I-can-do-it cheaper-myself" plug. $8/lb on sale salmon fillet is $16 for a 2 lb fillet = ~$1.75/100g. Easier than you might think.
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20190517_234758.jpg20190518_114006.jpg
So hang on, are the pellets the only "heat" in there?

Pretty sure I have that same pellet box...... Might need to give this a try.
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nataliya64605 wrote:

Looks good.
I use the same pellet tray in my Kamado. I got a cured Salmon in the fridge now, so ill try to take some pics for the BBQ thread if i can remember.
Please do. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one here who does cold smoked salmon so I'd love to see your results and compare notes.
Gutty96 wrote: So hang on, are the pellets the only "heat" in there?

Pretty sure I have that same pellet box...... Might need to give this a try.
Yes, the smoke tray is the only heat in that picture. It's the A-MAZE-N Pellet Tray. That's why I only do cold smoked salmon in winter - can't get temperatures safely low enough in summer. BTW, the salmon is already edible before smoking by the wet or dry curing (I do dry by packing it in salt).
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DiceMan wrote: Please do. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one here who does cold smoked salmon so I'd love to see your results and compare notes.


Yes, the smoke tray is the only heat in that picture. It's the A-MAZE-N Pellet Tray. That's why I only do cold smoked salmon in winter - can't get temperatures safely low enough in summer. BTW, the salmon is already edible before smoking by the wet or dry curing (I do dry by packing it in salt).
Found the smoker in the old gas grill.... Lol.

Need more details on the process, and will keep an eye for a sale.
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DiceMan wrote: Please do. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one here who does cold smoked salmon so I'd love to see your results and compare notes.


Yes, the smoke tray is the only heat in that picture. It's the A-MAZE-N Pellet Tray. That's why I only do cold smoked salmon in winter - can't get temperatures safely low enough in summer. BTW, the salmon is already edible before smoking by the wet or dry curing (I do dry by packing it in salt).
I do cold smoked on my Traeger. As you, I just do it when weather is cool. Even at low setting I turn the smoker off frequently to keep cool and smokey.
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gr8dlr wrote: Nice cold smoke.

I usually do graves lox which is cured salmon.
I have found cold water wild salmon that spend some time in the cold northern Pacific ocean have the highest fat content and the the belly is the best. But once smoked or cured, I find it more difficult to discern.

Not to sound like a jerk, but do you mean Gravlax, like swedish style, I'd pronounce it in swedish too, but it is a specific type of curing, namely, salt-dill-sugar cure.

What kind of cure do you do?

I like any type of salmon but I'm now more mindful of sustainable and farming methods and location but find it even more difficult to buy with full knowledge.

Just my 2 cents.
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my wife refuses to eat the dark bits - says it tastes different.
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XmasTreelights wrote: I have found cold water wild salmon that spend some time in the cold northern Pacific ocean have the highest fat content and the the belly is the best. But once smoked or cured, I find it more difficult to discern.

Not to sound like a jerk, but do you mean Gravlax, like swedish style, I'd pronounce it in swedish too, but it is a specific type of curing, namely, salt-dill-sugar cure.

What kind of cure do you do?

I like any type of salmon but I'm now more mindful of sustainable and farming methods and location but find it even more difficult to buy with full knowledge.

Just my 2 cents.
Bad spelling on my part....Gravlax is what I do. You can vary the other stuff besides salt/sugar. Other stuff: beets, allspice, gin etc.

Ppl need to experiment how long and how much you cure it for because I've found online recipes quoting 3 days which I find way way too long.
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gr8dlr wrote: Bad spelling on my part....Gravlax is what I do. You can vary the other stuff besides salt/sugar. Other stuff: beets, allspice, gin etc.

Ppl need to experiment how long and how much you cure it for because I've found online recipes quoting 3 days which I find way way too long.
My swedish friends are impatient. They do it in morning day one eat dinner etc next day. But really cover the think almost entirely.
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XmasTreelights wrote: My swedish friends are impatient. They do it in morning day one eat dinner etc next day. But really cover the think almost entirely.
Saw a hack to cure it in one hour.... Slice fish and then cure it. On my to try list.
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DiceMan wrote: Please do. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one here who does cold smoked salmon so I'd love to see your results and compare notes.
I took pics last night so will add to the BBQ thrread shortly, came out good.

I did 2.6 lbs Atlantic salmon tail end ( I've only done wild Sockeye and Atlantic in the past). Nothing fancy with ingredients, just a cup of salt, cup of brown sugar for the cure and Alderwood smoke.
42 hour cure, soaked and rinsed, air dried in fridge for a few hours and 9 hour smoke.
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XmasTreelights wrote: My swedish friends are impatient. They do it in morning day one eat dinner etc next day. But really cover the think almost entirely.
gr8dlr wrote: Saw a hack to cure it in one hour.... Slice fish and then cure it. On my to try list.
I cure my whole salmon filet for about 24 hours. Dry cure with a lot of salt and sugar entirely covering the filet. Yeah, I think three days is way too much. After a single day, there is a whole lot of liquid that gets drawn out. I've seen the one hour cure online but haven't tried it. If I recall, they pre-cut the pieces thicker than I would for smoked salmon / lox. I would think a totally raw filet would be more difficult to slice thin than a cured one.

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