Author Topic: Pellicle question  (Read 13072 times)

Offline shakesports

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Pellicle question
« on: September 24, 2009, 09:36:40 am »
Ok---I will apologize up front if this topic or question has already been covered but I can't seem to find the answer I am looking for so here goes.

What exactly does forming a pellicle on you fish do? Does it lock in moisture? Does it make your fish that much better? I have tried to let a pellicle form on the batches of tuna and salmon that I have done so far and am not sure if i get it done properly or not. I usually just lose patience and throw it in the smoker. They have all turned out pretty well except for one batch of tuna that my cat didn't even eat ( yeah it was that bad the marinade was nasty I think). 

I just pulled some more fish out of kummoks brine and have out to air dry. I will try the whole pellicle thing again but I have already pirated a tuna steak off my smoker racks and put it on the BBQ. The brine makes for the best marinade for BBQ tuna I have found so far damn tasty.

thanks

shake

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Offline KyNola

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 09:55:59 am »
I'll take a stab at this and then let the others that know what they are talking about correct my answer.  The pellicle is used for better smoke adhesion.  If the surface of the fish is tacky or slightly sticky to the touch, the smoke will adhere to the fish better resulting in a better tasting product.

The King of all Salmon, Kummok, will be along shortly to give you the complete lowdown.

KyNola

Offline Hopefull Romantic

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 10:50:35 am »
I agree with Ky 100% and would like to add that it would seal some of the salmon moisture during smoking.

Instead of getting impatient, you can use a fan to expedite things and leave it for a couple of hours, while placing the fish on drying racks. Just make sure that finicky cat of yours is away.

I am about to brine some salmon right now and I shall be posting the process results. Hope they may help.

HR
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Offline OU812

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 01:39:57 pm »
My thoughts on the pellicle is it develops a secondary shiny skin that helps to retain moisture and allow smoke to be absorbed into the meat. Moist meat wont allow smoke to penetrate. I like to form a pellicle on chicken and turkey when I smoke boneless skinless breasts. To speed up the proses I have a rack that holds my trays then place a fan about 5' away set on low and rotate as the product drys, you want it dry to the touch and slightly sticky but not dried out.

Offline Kummok

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 11:12:53 pm »
Yes to all the above! (Except the King O Salmon part  :-[ ) A good pellicle is critical (and helps prevent boogers!) and is very easy to get, especially with OU's suggested fan. I always use the fan anymore...speeds up the process and gets a better pellicle!

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2009, 02:43:56 pm »
I agree with Kummok (who would argue??.... :D), the pellicle is critical.

In my experience, 4 hours of airflow from a small fan gives a great pellicle. Stickey to the touch -- you can almost leave a fingerprint --- Anything else and it's just not right.


Offline Quarlow

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 06:43:44 pm »
Ok, well I am just going to through my 2 cents worth here. I'll start by saying that I won't argue with anyone about this pellicle process because the next batch I will do it , but we have been smoking fish since I was 5 when my dad and his fishermen buddy built a plywood smoker 3'x3'x12' tall. And we never even knew about this pellicle process. We just dry brined for 24 hrs and wiped of the left over salt and into the smoker for 12 to 16 hrs. This is my last batch from my OBS and my brothers DBS, it was fifty lbs of spring ( or king for you south of the border) including 1 10 lbs coho.


And yes I did get boogers, but I just wiped them of when they stopped forming and then they just melt away after a few more hours of smoking. People have always love our smoked salmon and it is hard to keep it around. Infact the next batch will be done covertly and straight to the freezer. But like I said I will be doing it the next time and watching the temp for the first while so as not to get the dreaded things.
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

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Offline iceman

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 08:05:42 pm »
For years I used to just throw the fish in the smoker right out of the brine also Quarlow. Got the (Atomic Waste) coming out and just kept wiping it off. After going through a few CISC courses I found out properly raising the temps after letting the fish dry (forming a pellicle) was the ticket. The salmon came out better than anything I've seen in cook books. I actually took the Alaska Smoked Salmon title 2 years in a row by following those simple rules and using a wet brine. Fun to play with for sure and even better eating it. Try the drying part and see what happens.
PS...... DO NOT LET THEM KNOW WHEN YOU ARE SMOKING THE FISH!!! You won't have any left for yourself.  :o :D ;)

Offline Kummok

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 09:19:56 pm »
.....it was fifty lbs of spring ( or king for you south of the border).....

South?!?!? Wutchu talkin' about Southerner???   ;) ;) ;D  Some fine looking fish there, Q!!  You make my case that there ain't no such thing as bad smoked salmon, no matter how it's done!

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 06:42:35 am »
Thanks, Quarlow!

The fish I first smoked turned out really good, and that was without a pellicle. I'm allergic to salmon, so I smoked rainbow trout, trying to match the taste and quality of a farm in Ontario that was where I first encountered smoked trout 24 years ago. He was a German fellow who smoked in a converted coke machine, that reminds me now of the Bradley. Today his sons do smoked trout and gravlox on a bigger scale but the taste and quality remain my standard.

I found a newspaper article printed when the father died that gave hints to the recipe, which mentioned brining and long-time air drying. No real details but it made me try air drying for longer than I had. And that made the resulting taste and texture much more like theirs.

I do smoke salmon, even though I'm allergic. My family and friends go nuts over it (regardless of a pellicle!) and I can get it cheaper than trout.

Regards, Rich

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 07:24:36 pm »
And make sure you start at low temp for the first while as per the guys on here that will tell you how long because I forgot how long.
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

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Offline tsquared

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2009, 09:00:26 pm »
Quote
PS...... DO NOT LET THEM KNOW WHEN YOU ARE SMOKING THE FISH!!! You won't have any left for yourself.
x2--It tends to disappear very fast--my mother in law is the worst!!
T2

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2009, 09:09:25 pm »
100% Kummok, and just because someone does it different doesn't mean it is not good.
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

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Big Stick

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2009, 11:56:41 am »
IMHO,the Pellicle Myth,is amongst the grandest of Wive's Tales.




Offline Kummok

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Re: Pellicle question
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2009, 08:18:50 pm »
If it was truly a "wives tale", BS, I suspect that it would be a pellicle Mythus, as opposed to a Myth....thorry, couldn't help mythelf ;)

Been doing this salmon smoking thing many years, teaching classes and making lots of friends/new smokers and have yet to have a dissatisfied taster with pellicle forming being a priority. Further, the old sourdoughs I know who have been doing it that way even longer than me, (some are dead now....of old age...not of food poisoning ;) ), provide me with enough extra field truthing experience to place your myth opinion in the myth category...IMHO.....think I'm gonna stick with it, myth (or mythus!) ;)