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Different Types Of Salmon

Albertina Roca
  |   January 15, 2015   |  

Learn all about the different types of salmon that are used for smoking, and what makes them deliciously different.

Salmon Species

Atlantic Smoked Salmon

Atlantic smoked salmon is a very broad category that can include many different types of smoked salmon which is found throughout Northern Europe, and on the Eastern Seaboard of North America. Buyer Beware! Because Norway originally pioneered Atlantic salmon farming, smoked salmon from all over the world is labeled –incorrectly- Norwegian smoked salmon.

Pacific Smoked Salmon

A category used to describe different species and types of salmon usually found in the Pacific Ocean, most commonly from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. The most popular Pacific salmon found smoked in stores are:
  • King Salmon/ Chinook, also called the spring or king salmon, with ivory white to deep red flesh. Also called Canadian King Salmon.
  • Chum: also known as dog salmon – for its canine-resembling teeth-, also known as Keta (an Asian aboriginal name). Their flesh ranges from pale to medium red in color. These are the least common of the Pacific species of salmon.
  • Coho (Silver): Coho, or silver salmon, is known for its red color flesh.
  • Sockeye (red): Sockeye, also known as red salmon (and also sometimes labeled Nova, after the style used in its smoking process), has a bright and deep red-orange, firm flesh.
  • Pink (lumpback): Known as humpback or humpie, is the smallest and most common of the North American Pacific salmon. It has a light-colored flesh, and a delicate taste, with a low fat content.


Types of Cured and Smoked Salmon


An Anglicization of the German and Scandinavian words for salmon. Lox was a technique of preserving salmon popular during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, where wild Pacific salmon was cured in brine very heavy in salt (there was really no smoking involved). The result was a very fishy flavor, which later went out of style and popularity. Today, “lox” is used to describe basically any type of smoked salmon, Nova, Nova Scotia smoked salmon, belly lox.



Nova is a term that usually refers to a wet-cured, lightly salty farmed smoked salmon. The fish could come from anywhere, and the flavor is very mild and not very salty. The name owes its origins to the wild Nova Scotia Atlantic salmon, a fish species that was over fished to extinction.


This delicious prime cut of smoked salmon refers to the top portion (tenderloin) of the fish, carefully hand-cut and trimmed, lightly smoked and salted for the most perfectly crafted smoked salmon product. You’ll only find this at very sophisticated specialty stores, as it is pricey (but worth it).


A specialty products, gravadlax is salmon that has undergone a traditional Scandinavian curing technique in which the salmon is marinated in a mixture of dill, sugar, and special herbs, then cleaned, filleted, and the mixture removed. The salmon is then lightly smoked for full flavor. The term ‘gravadlax’ is literally “salmon from the grave”, as the northern peoples would bury the salmon underneath the earth throughout the curing process.

Alaskan Smoked Salmon

A species of salmon found wild in the cold waters off Alaska. Widely available due the large numbers and sustainable populations, this salmon can also be classified as Pacific smoked salmon. Also known as the King salmon, and can be found wild or farmed. They are typically hot smoked, using traditional Native American techniques. Its texture varies, depending on the brining process, but most prefer to have it silky or firm.


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Albertina Roca

Meet Albertina, a seasoned food writing wordsmith and marketing creative split between the sizzling vibes of Miami and the charming streets of Buenos Aires. With a solid 20 years in the traditional and digital advertising world for the gourmet food industry, she’s mastered the art of making words as mouthwatering as the dishes they describe. She’s proudly been part of the Gourmet Food Store family (and its brands) since its very beginnings, and what a fun, flavor-packed journey it has been!

Her journey began at Rutgers College, where she studied in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Lit (where are my Jane Austen fans at?). She honed her craft at The Miami Ad School in South Beach, where creativity and copy collided under the South Florida Sun. From the neon streets of South Beach to the tango beats of Buenos Aires, her pen dances with the rhythm of whatever gastronomic tales she gets to write at the time.

Currently savoring life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she’s bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid reader, and cheese addict.

Her writing? Seasoned with creativity, spiced with experience, and garnished with a dash of wit.

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