My interest in traditional preservation methods like fermentation has recently extended into curing. There’s something just fascinating about the combination of time and science transforming food’s textures and flavors. I’m finding myself more and more motivated to experiment with techniques like fermenting and curing over cooking! Making lox is about as easy as it gets when it comes to curing meats. The process just involves packing a salmon filet in salt (and any other flavoring) and letting nature do its thing for about 5 days. Seriously, that’s it. For the sake of keeping this lox “homemade,” I took a shortcut and used liquid smoke which gave the salmon a very light smoked flavor. I also added a little brown sugar and pepper, but you could adjust the ratio to your preferences and add other flavors like dill or onion. Do not be intimidated by making homemade lox– the only skill you need to have is patience!
Start with a 2 pound salmon filet with skin on. Remove the pinbones with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Make the smoked salt by combining the liquid smoke with the salt. The level of smokiness may vary from brand to brand. 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke resulted in a very light smokey flavor. If you like more, add a whole teaspoon. Add sugar and pepper.
Pack the top of the salmon with the salt mixture.
Wrap the filet in plastic wrap, leaving the ends unsealed and untucked so that liquid can drain out the ends as the salmon cures. Place the salmon on a wire rack and over a rimmed baking sheet to catch the liquid. Add another baking sheet over the salmon and weigh down the salmon with something heavy like a cast iron skillet.
Wait 5 days. Check on the salmon every couple days to drain off any excess liquid collected in the baking sheet. Unwrap after about 5 days and remove excess salt. Lightly rinse the salt off and pat dry. Slice thinly against the grain.
And that’s it!
I created this lox spread of my favorite toppings and condiments. Bagels, cream cheese, onions, and tomatoes are a must for me!
- 1/2 cup of sea or kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
- Remove pinbones from salmon filet
- Combine salt, sugar, pepper and liquid smoke
- Pack the salt mixture over the surface of the salmon
- Wrap the salmon in plastic wrap leaving the ends open
- Place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and place another baking sheet over the salmon. Weigh the top with a cast iron skillet or something just as heavy
- Cure in the refrigerator for 5 days. Check on the salmon after two days and drain off any excess liquid
- Remove skin and thinly slice against the grain
(images by HonestlyYUM)