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How to Smoke Salmon

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3 of 4

Air Drying the Fish
Forming the Pellicle

Forming the Pellicle

Hank Shaw

This is one step many beginning smokers fail to do, but drying your cured, brined fish in a cool, breezy place is vital to properly smoking it. Why? You need to form what is called a pellicle, which is a thin, lacquer-like layer on top of the fish that seals it and offers a sticky surface for the smoke to adhere to.

You achieve this by resting the brined fish on a rack and putting it in a cool -- less than 65 degrees -- place that has good air circulation. If you'd like, run a fan over the fish at low speed.

Let the fish dry this way for at least 2 hours, and up to three. Don't worry! The salt in the brine will protect your fish.

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