AS YOU know, my smokehouse The Holy Smokey is based at Kilnsey Park Estate and as I have a passion for smoking foods.

I am sharing a recipe for cold smoked salmon with you this month which I admit is a slightly ambitious project for a home cook. But it’s not that it’s particularly hard to make, it’s that cold smoking at home that is difficult to achieve!

For the uninitiated, there are two methods of smoking food, which are hot smoking and cold smoking.

To hot-smoke means to cook the food in a smoker above 65°c, and is relatively easy to do at home by burning wood chips in a stove top smoker or a metal try or wok, with a wire rack to place the food. You then cover with tin foil tightly to contain the smoke, and cook as normal letting the smoke build up inside.

Cold smoking requires you to smoke bellow 30°c which means the wood chips must be burned away from the food and the smoke then goes through into the smoke box where the food is being smoked. There is information for building a home cold smoker on the internet and some affordable home smokers to buy.

Smoked salmon has existed in various forms throughout history. In the Ancient Greek and Roman empires it was consumed during celebrations. Smoked salmon was brought to the Britain in the early 1900s by Eastern European Jewish immigrants who imported salmon from the Baltic in barrels of sea water to London.

They began smoking it as a way to preserve the fish for their own consumption. They soon realised that the Scottish salmon available on the London markets was in fact superior to the Baltic, and when cured in salt and smoked created an amazing flavour and texture! it was consumed by royalty and sold in the finest food halls and restaurants.

Smoked salmon is not especially difficult to make at home, and assuming you have purchased or made a cold smoker then you should give it a try.

Purchase the best quality side of salmon you can get. Unfortunately wild salmon is no longer a viable option but you can buy good-quality and ethically farmed salmon instead. Also good-quality sea salt (flakes) and brown sugar for curing will make a world of difference.

When smoking use the operating instructions it came with. You can buy wood chips online: I prefer to use fruit wood such as apple or cherry. Beech and oak will also work well, oak being the most smokey in flavour.



600g salmon fillet, skin on with pin bones removed

120g flaked sea salt

75g soft brown sugar


1. Mix the salt and sugar together and spread half of it over the bottom of a dish or tray that will snugly fit the salmon in. Lay it skin side down on the mixture. Spread the remaining salt and sugar over the top of the fish.

2. Cover the salmon with cling film and place another tray or dish on top. Weigh it down with a few heavy tins or jars.

3. Place in the fridge and leave for 24 hours. The salmon should feel firm to the touch.

4. Remove the salmon from the tray and discard the liquid which the salt has drawn out. Rinse thoroughly under cold water.

5. Cold smoke the salmon for eight hours ensuring the temperature does not exceed 30°c

6. Leave overnight in the fridge to allow the smoke to equalise.

7. Slice thinly and enjoy!

8. You can store in the fridge wrapped in cling film, for up to two weeks.