What's The Difference Between Smoked Salmon And Lox?

Jan 21, 2013 2:31 pm

Learn the different kinds of smoked salmon

smoked salmon vs. lox
Photo: Girl Interrupted Eating on Flickr
Is this true lox? Smoked salmon? Old-school Nova? You tell us.

Smoked salmon is a blanket term for any salmon: wild, farmed, fillet, steak, cured with hot or cold smoke. 

Lox most commonly refers to Nova-style: whole salmon fillets cured in a salt-sugar rub or brine (like gravlax) then cold-smoked (unlike gravlax) so that they don't cook at all. There's also hot-smoked salmon, which is fully cooked with heated smoke. 

Now, to acknowledge the purists. Real, authentic lox is made from only the belly portion of the salmon. Yup, like pork, the belly of the fish is typically the richest, fattiest and most succulent portion. Cured and smoked, it's saltier and more...uh..."aromatic" than its milder non-belly counterpart, and if you're lucky enough to try it on a bagel with cream cheese, it's hard to go back. When you buy lox anywhere other than an old-school appetizing counter, even if it's clearly labeled "lox," what you're almost certainly getting is simply smoked salmon. And frankly, that's fine by us. 

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