Provender Brown Perth Deli

Hot smoked salmon V Cold smoked salmon

The both taste delicious, but what is the difference between hot smoked, and cold smoked salmon?

Arguably, a world class product, Scottish smoked salmon, whether hot smoked or cold smoked, boasts an incredible flavour, and beautiful orangey-pink colour that livens any dish, buffet, or grazing platter.  Add it to a bagel with cream cheese, stir it into pasta, wrap it around seasonal asparagus or simply enjoy it with a slice of lemon, smoked salmon is a delicious and versatile ingredient.

Typically farmed in the cool lochs of Scotland, the age-old process of using oak-barrels or chips from whisky barrels during the smoking process is still around today.

Nowadays, you will find a variety of smoked salmon products including pates, terrines, and different flavours. The single most prominent difference though, is in the smoking process itself.

Health Benefits of Scottish Smoked Salmon

As well as bringing a unique flavour to many recipes and snacks, smoked salmon, is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, increased HDL (the good cholesterol), vitamins B12, A and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to ease inflammation, preserve brain function and structure, and lower triglycerides.

 It is low in calories but high in protein keeping you feeling full for longer, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

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Hot Smoked Salmon V Cold Smoked Salmon

In both instances, the process begins with a high-quality salmon that has been raised in healthy conditions.

At this stage, flavours such as dill, beetroot, and lemon can be added although purists will argue that the curing and wood smoking are all that’s needed for a flavoursome fish.

As the name suggests, the difference between these two delicious products is temperature.  Cold-smoked salmon is smoked below 250C, while hot-smoked salmon is smoked above 800C.

This difference in temperature results in two very different products:

  • Cold smoked salmon has a fresher and less smokey flavour, with a dense, smooth texture. This is more common of the two products. Cured for several hours – each smokehouse will have a slightly different timeline on this – the salmon is then rinsed and smoked. 

  • Hot smoked salmon is often brined in a weak salt and water solution (rather than cured) before smoking to enhance the flavour, moisture and texture, but can also be smoked and cooked at the same time. In this method, the salmon is placed near the heat source in the cooking and smoking chamber and the ambient temperature is kept between 80°C-150°C. Hot-smoked salmon has a smokier finish and an opague, firm, flaky texture.

How do you use hot-smoked salmon?

Any kind of salmon can be eaten cold straight out of the package – and we wholeheartedly recommend this while browsing your fridge!

However, if you plan to cook with salmon, then hot-smoked is the way to go. It’s firm and flaky texture works well in dishes such as pasta, omelettes or scrambled eggs and it is a perfect choice for making creamy dips and pates, quiches, and tart fillings.

What to do with cold-smoked salmon?

Although you can add this to hot dishes safely, cold-smoked salmon is best enjoyed cold and fresh. Delicious in a bagel or on sourdough bread with cream cheese and capers, it is also equally good on blinis or crackers and topped with kimchi.

Usually thinly sliced and vacuum packed, its translucent texture makes it perfect for wrapping around pates and asparagus, and for chopping finely into canapes and nibbles.

A World Standard Product

Although preserving and flavouring fish with wood smoke can be traced back to the 11th century in Scotland, it wasn’t until 2004 that Scottish salmon was awarded with a protected geographic indication - or PGI. During lockdown, the Chef's Forum for the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), took the time to survey chefs on the importance of provenance, nutrition, and their perceptions of farmed Scottish salmon.

Several top chefs took part, including Michelin-starred professionals, and of the 242 surveyed, 86 per cent said they considered farmed Scottish salmon to be the best in the world for quality and taste and 87 per cent said they actively look to purchase Scottish salmon for their venues. Read more - Chef's Back Scottish Smoked Salmon >

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Inverawe Smoked Salmon

Originally founded in 1974 by husband-and-wife team, Robert and Rosie Campbell-Preston, the business is now run by their son Patrick.

All Inverawe salmon are sea reared from small, independent farms, where best practice husbandry and low-density stocking levels are paramount. The fish is then expertly smoked to create a wonderfully rich and smoky traditionally smoked salmon.

Inverawe have banished polystyrene and replaced their packaging with cardboard and thermal liners. The outer boxes can be recycled.

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The Argyll Smokery

Based in Dunoon in rural Argyll, this authentic artisanal business remains independently owned & operated.

Based upon years of tailoring and unique to Argyll Smokery, their signature ‘dry’ cure is hand applied to each individual fish and left for days to mature slowly. This long process draws out moisture, resulting in a superior salmon that is quality, firm in touch and non-greasy or oily.

Smoking over reclaimed old Scottish whisky barrel shavings, the natural smoke created in the kilns teases out all the flavour of the fish to give a product that is refined and pure.

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Dunkeld Smoked Salmon 

Originally used to smoke anglers’ own fish, this small family run artisan smokehouse has been situated in Dunkeld near the banks of the River Tay for over 40 years. Master smoker, Ronnie, has been with the business for over 25 years, perfecting the art of smoking for both wild and farmed fish.

Each fish is individually cured by hand in small batches before being slowly smoked in kilns over whisky barrel chips and oak dust to give a unique flavour and texture.

As a business, Dunkeld Smoked Salmon is committed to ethical and sustainable sourcing.

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And on a final note...

The difference between smoked salmon and lox?

It is easy to confuse smoked salmon for lox – a popular American alternative. Although very similar, lox stops at the curing stage, while smoked salmon goes on to be – well, smoked!