We source our salmon from local fishermen on the West coast. Immense care is taken of the fish from the moment it is caught, to the production of the finished smoked product to ensure that full justice is done to this magnificent product of our natural environment.
Prices must reflect the true value of this resource if it is to be safeguarded whilst still fished. True connoisseurs of this delicacy appreciate this fact and in our experience demonstrate clear understanding of the need to value and protect something so unique.
Cheena's smoking Process:
Once hand-filleted, we 'pin bone' the fish removing all traces of bone from the fillet. We then salt the salmon and since each fish will vary in the amount of fat in its flesh, which inhibits salt uptake, they will be brined for different lengths of time, as appropriate. After salting, the fish are "cold smoked", meaning that they are placed on racks in a kiln through which Alder smoke is passed and where the temperature is regulated at between 20' and 28'C. Length of smoking time varies depending on humidity and the size of the fillets, but runs to several hours.
The Smoking Process:
Smoking is one of the oldest methods of preserving fish. Long before there were refrigerators and freezers, our fishing ancestors learned to use a combination of salt and smoke to keep fish from spoiling. Today, smoking is no longer "necessary," but it remains popular for the flavor it gives to such fish as salmon. Smoking methods vary, but all are based on a few common principles. First, the fish is treated with salt, either in the form of a strong brine or a surface coating of dry salt. During this curing stage (which can last for anywhere from a few minutes to many hours depending on the size and density of the fish), a two-way exchange takes place, with much of the moisture drawn out of the fish and some salt soaking in. This combination of reduced moisture and salt inhibits the growth of spoilage bacteria, a basic principle of all cured meats.
Some fish are given a second cure after the initial salting to add additional flavors. Recipes for this second cure are often proprietary secrets, but they typically include sugar in some form; like salt, sugar both draws moisture out of and soaks into the fish. After curing, the fish is rinsed to remove the salt and other curing ingredients from the surface, then allowed to dry in cool flowing air until a shiny, slightly tacky skin (pellicle) forms on the surface. The pellicle serves several functions: it provides an ideal surface for the smoke flavor to adhere, it helps seal in the remaining moisture through the smoking process, and it prevents the fats in the fish from rising to the surface and spoiling.
The actual smoking takes place inside a chamber filled with smoke from smoldering hardwood, Cheena use Alder wood chips. During the cold-smoking, the fish is slowly smoked for several hours at low temperatures so it remains especially moist and tender. For Retort Smoked Salmon, after the same preparation as cold smoking, the fillets are placed in gold pouch and "cooked" at high temperature which is hot smoked in its own juice.
Cheena Smoked Salmon uses no additives, preservatives or coloring agents. Just lightly cured, tender, and moist, Cheena Salmon is out of this world!
Smoked Salmon Care: