The Refrigerated Shelf-Life of Smoked Salmon

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  How long will my smoked salmon last in the refrigerator? I caught the fish, froze it. Thawed it. Brined it. And then smoked it in a Lil' Chief Smoker. I then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the meat storage part of my refrigerator. I would hate to toss it out, but then again I would really hate to make my weekend guests sick. It has been in the refrigerator now for 3 weeks.

  There are certain variables involved in your question (how well did you handle the fish, how much time elapsed between the catching and the freezing, did you air dry it sufficiently after removing it from the brine, etc.), but having done everything right, you're still pretty much at the outer limit of acceptability. The half-dozen sources we looked at give you anywhere from 1 week to 3 weeks to store hot-smoked salmon in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

How does the fish look and smell? If we knew it had been well handled and there was no indication of spoiling, we would feel comfortable serving it. But, as always in this great world, the choice is yours.

In looking through our collection of books on smoking and curing foods (not just meat and fish, but also nuts and cheese), we were reminded that two fairly homely books, The Smoked-Foods Cookbook (Canada, UK) and The Home Book of Smoke-Cooking (Canada, UK) (first printed in 1971), remain the best books on the subject, with answers to most any question.

Related Article: How to smoke salmon on a grill