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Settle an argument...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Stopped in at a local bagel place today, and found a sign hanging on their cold case that read, "WARNING: Smoked salmon is not cooked. Be aware of the risks in consuming uncooked seafood... blah blah blah."

I thought smoking took the place of cooking and that smoked foods were indeed cooked...?:confused:
post #2 of 17
There are two types of smoking: cold-smoking and hot-smoking. Cold-smoking uses indirect heat, just to produce the smoke, and the food to be smoked is not subjected to enough heat to cook it. Hot-smoking is, well, hotter, and cooks the food as well as giving it the smoke flavor/smell (think real barbecue).

The smoked salmon you saw with the sign (the bright orange, translucent, oily kind) is cold-smoked. There is also hot-smoked salmon, but that's the kind that looks cooked--solid, flaky, opaque, and drier.

I hope you're not losing any money on this argument. ;)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 17
what annoys me is that they actually have to put the sign up. Some assclown probably bitched and complained about it....

...I refuse to have kids unless I can send them to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to trade for a juice box too! I'm protesting damnit.

you can spin this both ways though...by debating that cooking involves heat, and since you need heat to produce smoke and smoke to produce smoked salmon, the salmon is cooked.

You can surely spin devils advocate on this one too though.
post #4 of 17
from a google search

"Fillets of salmon that have been flavored with the smoke from burning aromatic hardwoods. The smoke from the smoldering wood gives the salmon a distinctive smoky flavor and a fine texture. Salmon are typically either cold or hot smoked which provides a different taste and texture to the meat. Cold smoking involves lower smoking temperatures which will range from 60ºF to 90ºF (15ºC to 32ºC). The meat is placed in a smoking chamber away from the fire where it remains at room temperature. As the smoke builds from the fire, it is allowed to enter the smoking chamber, passing over the Salmon to impart the smoky flavor into the fish filets and warming them slightly. Because this process does not involve cooking, the filets retain their delicate texture. However, since the Salmon is not cooked, the filets are salt cured to prepare the meat for consumption, which increases the amount of salt contained in the meat. Thus, the cold Smoked Salmon will have a noticeably salty flavor. Hot Smoked Salmon is prepared by placing the filets in a smoking chamber positioned directly over the fire. As the heat and smoke rise, the Salmon is cooked and smoked at the same time. Temperatures for hot Smoked Salmon generally range from 100ºF to 175ºF(38ºC to 93ºC) which is sufficient heat for both the meat to be cooked and the bacteria to be removed. When finished, the hot Smoke Salmon will have a firmer texture. a darker color and a smoky flavor without the salty overtone provided during the cold smoking process. For storage, keep the Smoked Salmon refrigerated until ready to serve, storing it to be used within 4 to 6 days of opening. Just before serving, allow the Salmon to be warmed to room temperature. Garnishes that can be considered for Smoked Salmon include slices of lemon, capers, onions that are chopped into fine bits, fresh herbs such as dill, and fresh cracked pepper. Cold Smoked Salmon is often prepared with bagels and cream cheese. However, both cold or hot Smoked Salmon can be used for salads, scrambled egg dishes, sandwiches, or appetizers."
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Only a bagel. I'll live.
post #6 of 17
What your talking about is called lox, it is commonly eaten by Jews and there are two types, Nova and Regular. This is thin slices of fish, sliced from the belly of the salmon. The Nova lox is not as salt and oily as regular.

Both types are Kosher, I've never sign a sign like you mentioned on any Kosher deli, Kosher food is good for you and many non-Jews eat only Kosher foods to stay healthy.

Was that a Jewish owned establishment? If so someone probably threaten to sue so he put up the sign as a disclaimer. I'd think the salt in fish is enough to preserve it during the cold smoke process.
post #7 of 17

I should know better

I should probably keep my mouth shut, because this whole thing is extremely definitional and, consequently, colloquial to the point of idiosyncracy.

As to the first question, is smoked salmon cooked? It depends what you mean by "cooked." As RPM pointed out, It's cured in a salt-acid-sugar brine, then cold-smoked. It's not a raw product in the sense that sushi is raw, and it's not cooked in the sense that it's internal temperature has been raised to above the point required to kill most native bacteria and parasites. However, the brine and smoke do alter the cellular structure of the fish, and it will keep much longer than raw. No matter what side of the argument you take, you're right.

Suzanne's description is all over the map, as I understand the terms "indirect heat" and "barbecue." The term barbecue is so elastic it means pretty much whatever anyone wants it to mean -- and consequently becomes is meaningless. Even among the strictest of the strict there is some argument as to whether "barbecue" includes direct-heat grilling -- which is the most common usage. The majority of purists insist that "barbecue" is only indirect heat plus some amount of smoke. I do a lot of hot smoking myself, and can assure you that the heat is, indeed, indirect and the product barbecue. Also, when you go to a "barbecue" restaurant you expect smoked meat. OTOH, "open pit" and "California" (or "Santa Maria") barbecue include some degree of direct heat.

Scientifically (and precisely) we would say that heat conducted by air convection is indirect heat; but heat transferred by immersion, contact conduction, or radiation is direct. Does this help? No.

RPM's search result has the right of it as a matter of process, but while insisting the lox is not cooked, fails to define the term.

Abe has me looking very much askance. "Lox" is not only eaten by Jews, in fact, I'd venture to say that Jews are a small but noisy minority (what else is new?) of cold smoked salmon eaters -- compared to Europeans, especially Eastern, Scandinavian and British Europeans. Add gravlaks to the mix, and the proportions become more imbalanced. Lox is not only taken from the belly, or even particularly -- although belly lox is highly prized for its high fat content. Kosher is as kosher does. It's hard to handle a scaly fish like a salmon that makes it treif (not kosher), that includes nothing involved in lox making. No bacon here. Furthermore, if anyone chooses "kosher" for health reasons, they aren't getting much if any benefit compared to any other system in which meat and poultry are properly handled. In fact, "organic," "free range," "CAB," "grass fed," etc., are all usually better indicators of good practice.

The owner's religious and ethnic identity have nothing to do with the disclaimer. It is also unlikely that fear of liability is at issue either. Speaking as an attorney with litigation experience in the area, unless the sign is mandatory it would act as a red flag in most law suits -- in that the seller knew the product was dangerous and sold it anyway. Most likely, the state or municipality required the display.

Then there's one more term:

Abe, by "Hebrew," do you mean "Jew" and "Jewish?" If so, I've got to say that "Hebrew" is not commonly used in those ways; and is mostly associated with anti-Semites. As a Jew myself, seeing it here makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure you're not anti-Semitic, don't mean any harm, and now that you know will stop.

BDL
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post #8 of 17
I am a member of the tribe too (Jewish), here we use Jew, Hebrew, Jewish interchangably. I have edited my post and I am sorry if I have offended you.

I meant in America, it is eaten by Jews a lot, commonly on a bagel with cream cheese and onion, and is considered traditional in my family, and the best lox here is found at the Jewish deli's on the north side. There is some prepackaged stuff in the super markets which isn't as good and that the Nova variety.

L'chaim!
post #9 of 17
Thanks for editing the post. I wasn't offended. I actually had the impression you were Jewish (MOT, indeed), but didn't want to guess based on your Ferris Bueller sourced name. Table for Abe Froman?

Where are you that "Hebrew" is used interchangeably for "Jew" and "Jewish?" Chi?

Gevaldt!
BDL
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #10 of 17
Yes, Chicago, we use Heeb too, for short, as slang. True, "the sausage king" is probably not Jewish

You should check out this movie: The Hebrew Hammer, if you haven't seen it already.
post #11 of 17
some people don't consider cerviche cooked either! you know the method of 'cooking' fish and shrimp in lime juice and vinegar..its all over the caribbean, mexico and latin america...onions, garlic, peppers etc. may also be added..lox is actually brine cured first before cold smoking, if that means anything..whatever the name, its all good!..off to mexico for a few weeks of sand, sun and cocktails!....its been a frightfully long, long winter here in the rockies(snowed yesterday)...hasta luego!
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #12 of 17
If I ever need a lawyer to argue either side of a "cooked/not cooked" issue I am calling Boar_d_Laze!:roll:
________________IRONCHEFATL___
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
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________________IRONCHEFATL___
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
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post #13 of 17
Because something is UNcooked doesn't make it is UNsafe as the posted sign seems to indicate.
BUT.........
vacuum packed <cold> smoke salmon has been considered a botulism risk according to some food inspectors in Canada (They were fielding questions at a food safety seminar I attended a couple of years back).

Come to think of it, it makes sense: Low acid, high water content, high protein availability, low heat cooking (below 100C without pressure) and low oxygen environment.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #14 of 17
I know that this isn't really related to the post, but just had to say that The Hebrew Hammer is hilarious! Loved it. (I honestly thought I was the only person who had seen it :lips:)
"Never use water unless you have to! I'm going to use vermouth!" ~Julia Child

"No chaos, no creation. Evidence: the kitchen at mealtime. "
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"Never use water unless you have to! I'm going to use vermouth!" ~Julia Child

"No chaos, no creation. Evidence: the kitchen at mealtime. "
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post #15 of 17
True BBQ can be cooked direct or indirect depending on the part of the US you are in. The key is the cooking temp that is typically 225 to 275 with a clean burning wood fire or coals from a wood fire shoveled into the pit under the meat. I cook the indirect style in an offset pit from Texas :)
post #16 of 17
I prefer cold smoked, as in lox. But I won't turn down hot-smoked salmon!!
post #17 of 17
I love both styles.

My smoker won't go cold enough for cold-smoked aka Scottish style aka lox. But I can get good smoke at around 200F, which is good for hot-smoking fish. I hot-smoke salmon using maple wood, and a cracked pepper, maple glaze. Then serve it cool, sauced with a slightly sweetened horse-radish dill creme fraiche. Good with a fume blanc or Kir Royale.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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