There are two ways to smoke salmon: cold-smoking and hot-smoking. Each method imparts a unique flavor and texture to the salmon.
Hot-smoked salmon (bottom right), a specialty of the Pacific Northwest, is smoked at 120°F to 180°F for 6 to 12 hours, cooking the salmon through and giving it a flaky texture. Some brands don’t require refrigeration before opening and have a long shelf life.
Silky, translucent cold-smoked salmon (top left) is cured in salt for up to 24 hours before smoking at 75°F to 85°F, usually for 6 to 12 hours. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.
Because it’s already cooked, hot-smoked salmon is a better choice for hot dishes like Smoked Salmon and Leek Chowder. We also love it in pasta dishes, in scrambled eggs, and in quiche. Because heat changes the silky texture of cold-smoked salmon, it’s best used in uncooked dishes. Serve it on crostini with lemon and capers, on bagels with cream cheese, or in salads.