I was looking at a 'cold smoked salmon' recipe and it says the fish must be 'fully cured' before smoking.

I want to cure using salt so I believe this mean once salt has penetrated throughout the entire flesh rather than a quarter way through or just the surface, it is considered fully cured. After that you then cold smoke it. In the context of my recipe, Is this correct?

I'm not sure if it's correct because wikipedia says 'Cured fish refers to fish which has been cured by subjecting it to fermentation, pickling, smoking, or some combination of these before it is eaten' however in recipe it says fully cured should happen BEFORE smoking.

Please clarify whats is meant by fully cured. Also if one chooses to cure with salt, how do they know the fish is fully cured using salt?

  • Since you're asking about a specific phrase used in a specific recipe, it's probably going to be hard for people to answer without seeing the actual recipe - people can throw around terms like "fully cured" pretty casually sometimes. (We discussed this at length in chat too.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


To me fully cured would be when the moisture is removed from the meat to the extent that harmful bacteria cannot survive. You can generally speaking see when this happens, it is when your salt turns dark. When I cure my biltong it generally takes two hours for the salt to turn dark from the moisture it extracts. I have not done this with fish, so the time it takes should be different but still the cocept applies.

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