Smoked Salmon
Kendall Brook smoked salmon, from Ducktrap River Fish Farms in Belfast, Maine, is smoked over fruitwoods.





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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



March 2007
Updated February 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

The Different Types Of Smoked Salmon

Cold Smoked Salmon, Hot Smoked Salmon: Very Delicious But Very Confusing


CAPSULE REPORT:  If you keep buying Nova Scotia Salmon because you don’t understand the rest of the school of salmon, we’ll try to end the mystery. And it won’t necessarily end up on a bagel. This is Page 1 of a four-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.


Man has been smoking salmon since before the written record; but now that there is a written record, the variety of terms that are tossed out can be confusing. Folks from the Atlantic smoke Atlantic Salmon and North Atlantic Salmon, but many of them confuse the issue by appending their nationalities to the salmon: Scottish, Nova Scotia, Irish, etc. What’s the difference? Folks from the Pacific get species-happy: they smoke Chinook Salmon, Coho Samon and King Salmon, with an occasional generic Pacific Salmon and some geographical offerings of Copper River (Alaska) Sockeye, Chilean Salmon and Wild Alaskan Salmon. (See the different species of salmon.)

The Internet choices are overwhelming. But even a simple walk into a specialty store can be confusing: How does one decide among all of the choices in the glass case? Those counter people slicing sides of salmon behind the counter have long lines of people to take care of, and are rarely disposed to explain the category to us. That’s why most people tend to buy the same thing time after time—it’s the most familiar, be it Nova Scotia or Scottish, and it tastes good.

But as with any food or beverage, if we explored, we might actually find something we liked better. It’s not true that everyone smokes fish the same way: national styles differ in saltiness, smokiness and fishiness; and, of course, each producer has its own recipe and quality standards.

Nova Scotia Salmon
This beautiful side of cold-smoked Nova Scotia
salmon comes from Zabar’s in New York City. We
stand in line to buy it at the store, but you can
order it online, 24/7. Yes, it comes sliced.

The only way to find your favorite fish is to taste. If it’s sliced-to-order, you can taste at the counter (on a slow day—Mondays are good, weekends rarely). Prepackaged salmon can be just as fine quality as the whole fish in the glass case, depending on manufacturer, and is often less expensive because factory slicing is cheaper than store labor.

Continue To Page 2: Cold Smoked Versus Hot Smoked Salmon

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