Whiskey-Cured Cold Smoked Salmon: A Healthy And Tasty Dish
Image Credit: Smoked Salmon

Salmon, especially the smoked form, seems to be one of those foods that can never be unhealthy. However, that is untrue. It has several restrictions due to the smoked variety. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can raise lifelong cancer risks, are produced when salmon is smoked. Therefore, limit it to twice each week. However, salmon in other forms is completely safe to eat and you can consume it as much and as frequently as you choose. Single malt Scotch whisky and dark brown sugar are used to produce this cold-smoked fish. Always purchase fresh wild salmon while it's available, particularly coho or king. 

Salmon is derived from the Latin word salmo, which was later spelled samoun in Middle English. Salmon was a key component of the diets of many Indigenous groups at the time. In the Pacific Northwest, smoked salmon was traditionally kept for two weeks without refrigeration. Even though it was probably rough and less flavourful than fresh salmon, it wouldn't go bad over time. Both the East and West coastlines of America had plenty of salmon. For instance, salmon, often referred to as ‘Alaskan turkey’, is particularly common in the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. It is also referred to as Lomi Lomi in Hawaii, where it is a delectable dish. 

You may have already eaten salmon by itself, which is a major thing. But what exactly is ‘Smoked Salmon’? First off, it transpires that ‘smoked’ is a rather encompassing phrase that may be used to describe a wide range of goods. The fish itself may have been farmed or captured in the wild, and it may have been prepared as fillets or steaks. The second factor is the technique of preparation; some smoked salmon is cured and cold-smoked to produce a raw fish with a texture similar to sushi, while other varieties are cooked over hot smoke and come out firm and flaky.

Here’s the recipe for Whiskey-Cured Cold Smoked Salmon.


    1 piece fresh salmon fillet (preferably, a centre cut)

    1 cup single malt Scotch whiskey

    1 cup packed dark brown sugar

    ½ cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)

    1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

    Vegetable oil


    Use paper towels to dry the salmon fillet after rinsing it in cold running water. 

    In a non-reactive baking dish, just big enough to contain them, put the salmon skin side down. 

    Add the whiskey, cover this, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning the fish twice.

    Drain the salmon well in a colander, discarding the whiskey, and pat it dry with paper towels. Clean the baking dish.

    Mix thoroughly the sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl while using your fingers to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. In the bottom of the baking dish, distribute ½ cup. 

    Place the salmon slices skin-side down on top. 

    Spread the remaining 1 cup of the cure over the salmon and use your hands to work it into the meat. Wrapped in plastic wrap, cure for 24 hours in the fridge.

    Dry the fish with paper towels after rinsing the cure off with cool running water. 

    Place the salmon skin-side down on a wire rack that has been greased over a baking sheet with a rim and refrigerate it to air-dry until sticky, about two hours.

    Assemble your smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions for cold smoking.

    Transfer the fish to the smoker on its rack. Smoke for 12 to 18 hours, or until the edges are crisp and golden brown. Maintain a smoker temperature of less than 80°C.

    Transfer the salmon with the rack still attached to a rimmed baking sheet, allow to cool to room temperature, and then chill until ready to serve, wrapped in plastic or aluminium foil. 

    The salmon should be thinly sliced on the diagonal before serving. It may be frozen for several months or kept in the refrigerator for at least three days.