Smoked Fish, from A to Z

Herring in Dill Sauce

For Herring in Dill Sauce, chopped dill is mixed into the wine sauce used for plain Herring in Wine to add a mild herbal quality.

Herring in Cream

Herring in Cream is Herring in Wine with sour cream added to the mixture after draining the pickled herring of most of its vinegar marinade.


Atlantic herring is wild-caught in the cold waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada and in the Gulf of Maine, as well as off of Eastern Iceland. This species of fish is the most abundant fish on the planet and can be found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic herring is mostly harvested by purse seiners and mid-water trawlers. This bright-silvery small fish has an off-white firm flesh, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Pickled herring is a delicacy in many cuisines around the globe, especially in Scandinavian countries.


Gravlax, graved lax, or gravlox, refers to the Scandinavian custom of marinating fillets of salmon with salt and dill—pressing them together under a weight of ice and snow, as a way of preserving the prized fish for the winter. The modern version is made using a salmon fillet marinated in dill, salt, sugar, and spices pressed together with another fillet for two days. The cured fillet is then sliced and served as you would salmon. Some modern gravlax is made from smoked salmon seasoned with dill, sugar, and spices. Acme’s Gravlax is made in this way using smoked salmon.

Everything Bagel Seasoning

A seasoning blend composed of salt, black sesame seeds, dehydrated onion, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Acme’s Everything Bagel Seasoning is inspired by one of New York’s most popular bagel seasonings: the eponymous Everything Bagel Seasoning.

Eastern Salmon

Often traditionally referred to as Nova like its counterpart made from smaller salmon, this popular smoked salmon is made from farm-grown Atlantic salmon. Each fillet is cured in salt for up to a week and then slowly cold smoked for up to 20 hours over a blend of hardwoods. Easterns are traditionally sold to appetizing stores and delis, where the salmon is delicately sliced by hand.


Prior to smoking, all of the fish at Acme is cured with salt for preservation, flavor, and quality. The salt allows the fish to preserve its moisture and tenderness during the drying, smoking, and cooking process. At Acme, wet brining and dry salting are methods employed to cure fish. Brining in a solution of salt and water is generally the method of choice when curing whole fish or bigger fish fillets. Dry curing or dry salting is a process used mostly for smaller salmon fillets. Curing times can range from a couple of hours to several days, depending on the size and fat content of the fish.

Cold Smoking

Cold smoking is a drying and smoking process where the heat does not exceed 90°F, and the entire process can take up to 20 hours. Only salmon, tuna, and sable are permitted by law to be cold smoked.

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon (also referred to as silver salmon) are wild-caught in the coastal waters of Alaska, mostly by the troll or net fisheries. Trolling is a method of fishing where the boat lets out one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish. Traditionally, coho has been part of indigenous people's diets and their sustenance for generations. Coho salmon are relatively small, averaging 5 pounds. The soft pinkish-reddish flesh of coho is leaner and softer than other species of salmon. Coho salmon is generally dry-cured and cold smoked.


Bluefish are wild-caught in temperate and semi-tropical waters worldwide. Most commercial fishermen use gill nets to catch bluefish, but 65% of the allowable catch is allocated to the recreational sector—where rod and reel fishing is the typical method. Some commercially available bluefish are caught by rod and reel as well. Much of Acme's bluefish comes from near Long Island where the fish arrives during summer months after spawning in offshore waters. The firm blue/brown fatty flesh is ideal for hot smoking.

Belly Lox

Prepared in the same way as lox (see “Lox”), the back of the fillet is cut away leaving the choice, moister, fattier belly meat. This salmon belly cured in the style of lox is the true belly lox.

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon accounts for the majority of farmed salmon produced in the world, mostly coming from Norway, Canada, and Chile. Salmon farming goes to great lengths to protect the natural ecosystem from any impacts of farming. Salmon farming plays an important role in under-developed economies around the globe. This salmon is one of the most consistent fish types with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The higher fat content makes this fish a perfect choice for hot or cold smoking.

Herring in Wine

Herring in Wine Sauce can be referred to as “Pickled Herring.” It is made from sliced herring fillets marinated in vinegar with onions.

Herring Rollmops

Rollmops are Pickled Herring fillets wrapped around a pickle spear or gherkin.

Herring in Mustard

After pickling, the herring is drained of its vinegar marinade and then mixed with a lightly spiced whole grain mustard sauce.

Herring in Ginger Sauce

Thin strips of pickled ginger are added to Herring in Wine Sauce to create a slightly peppery, sweet, and complex herring flavor.


Atlantic mackerel (sometimes referred to as Boston Mackerel) is wild-caught in the North Atlantic. Mackerel are caught in a variety of ways, including mid-water trawls, gill nets, cast nets, and hook-line fishing methods. Higher quality Atlantic mackerel are landed in the fall after the fish has spent the summer months feeding. The fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. The moist, light red flesh has a strong taste that is enhanced by grilling and hot smoking.


The term "lox" refers to non-smoked salmon that is cured in a brine solution for an extended period of time, up to several weeks. Lox is generally very salty and smooth in texture. This term is often colloquially used to refer to cold smoked salmon such as Nova.

Kippered Salmon

The term "kippered" refers to hot smoked salmon with a high moisture content. The salmon is cut into sections and cured in a brine solution prior to smoking. Kippered salmon is also known as Northwest-style smoked salmon or baked salmon.

King Salmon

King salmon, also referred to as Chinook salmon, is wild-caught in Alaska by trolling and gill nets. Kings are most abundant between May and August but are available year-round. King salmon stays at sea much longer than other species of wild salmon (up to five years) before returning to their native streams to spawn. King salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids with similar contents as Atlantic salmon. The pronounced sweet, buttery taste of Kings make it an ideal candidate for cold or hot smoking.

Hot Smoking

Hot smoking is a cooking and drying process where the fish must reach at least 145°F or above for at least 30 minutes. At Acme, we hot smoke whitefish, trout, whiting, mackerel, bluefish, sturgeon, ciscoes, wahoo, salmon, and tuna.

Homestyle Herring

Prepared in the same way as Herring in Wine (pickled in vinegar and mixed with sliced onions), Homestyle Herring is made from herring cut into small transverse “steaks” so as to include the bone (which is small and edible) to keep its full flavor within each sliced piece.


Whiting (Argentine hake), also referred to as merluccid hake, is a fish that is wild-caught in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Whiting is harvested through bottom-trawling. This fishery is abundant in fish stocks and sustainably sourced. The mild-tasting, white, tender flesh of whiting favorably retains the smoky aromas during hot smoking.


Lake whitefish, a distant member of the trout/salmon family Salmonidae, is wild-caught in Canada and parts of the Northern United States, including all of the Great Lakes. Lake whitefish can range in weight from 2-4 pounds. Their flesh is typically silver to white with a tender and moist texture, which makes it an ideal fish for hot smoking. Whitefish eggs are also considered a delicacy and typically sold as caviar.  Lake whitefish has played an important role in supporting small, family-based fisheries for several generations.

Western Salmon

Western salmon is made from wild-caught North Pacific salmon. After tight regulations were placed on the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon, and until the advent of salmon farming, this was the fish commonly used in the smoked salmon business. Western salmon is Nova-style cured and cold smoked. Appearance is often slightly redder in color than that of Eastern salmon.


The type of trout that Acme uses is rainbow trout. Rainbow trout is native to the cold-water tributaries throughout Asia and North America. Rainbow trout is known for its mild taste and delicate texture. It is often described as being slightly nutty in flavor, with white, pink, or orange filets (depending on the fish's diet). While most rainbow trout biomasses living in tributary environments typically reach about 1-5 lbs in size, other rainbow trout populations in lake environments (like the U.S. Great Lakes) have been known to reach 20 lbs! Rainbow trout are part of the genus Oncorhynchus, which puts them in the same genus as several Pacific salmon species. Acme’s Rainbow Trout are farm-raised in Denmark.


Inspired by the Japanese seasoning shichimi togarashi, meaning “seven-flavor chili pepper,” Acme’s Togarashi seasoning is a multifaceted flavor experience. Lightly spicy, with a tang of citrus and ginger, and rounded out with umami notes that hint of seaweed—this complex spice compliments smoked salmon. Togarashi seasoning dates back to 17th century Tokyo. Although Togarashi seasonings can differ from one blend to another, Acme’s blend contains salt, chili peppers, paprika, orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ginger, and seaweed.


Farm-raised sturgeon has become an important alternative in the efforts to protect wild sturgeon. This fish is raised in isolated tanks or ponds taking the pressure off wild fisheries and the ecosystem. Much of Acme’s sturgeon is farm-raised in California.  The firm, mild, mossy, buttery, steak-like flesh is one of the unique characteristics of this fish that make it perfect for hot smoking. Sturgeon is not considered Kosher because it does not have scales.

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon are one of the smallest species of Pacific salmon. Sockeye salmon is also known as red or blueback salmon. Most sockeye salmon are harvested in Alaska with gill nets, either drifted from a vessel or set with one end at the shore. The flesh of sockeye salmon is known for its firm, lean, bright orange color. Sockeye salmon that is smoked is generally dry-cured and cold smoked.

Salmon Candy

Acme’s salmon candy is a delicious and unique product. Our smoked salmon candy is cured and smoked twice. Cured once as a whole fillet in a dry salt cure, and then cold smoked for Nova smoked salmon. After the perfect pieces for salmon candy are trimmed off of these Nova smoked salmon fillets, these pieces are then placed in a wet brine containing brown sugar. Once this second cure is complete, these salmon pieces are hot smoked to the deliciously glazed salmon pieces you know as salmon candy.


Sablefish, also commonly referred to as Black Cod by gourmet chefs, are found offshore in the North Pacific. This deepwater fish is heavily protected in the U.S. to ensure a sustainable harvest. The white flesh of sablefish is soft with a buttery texture and a mild flavor. The omega-3 fatty acid content is roughly as high as wild salmon. Sablefish is commonly cold smoked to a slightly higher temperature than salmon.


Poke is a dish of diced fish created in Hawaii, where it is still popular. Common ingredients include salmon, tuna, and octopus with sliced vegetables and seasonings. It is frequently eaten with rice and sometimes seaweed. Acme’s Poke Bowl is ready-to-eat (cold or warmed up) and made with smoked salmon. It comes with jasmine rice and is seasoned with ginger, orange zest, sesame seeds, and seaweed—along with our special recipe poke sauce.

Matjes Herring

(Pronounced like ‘matches’ with a strong ‘ma-’) Matjes means “maiden” in Dutch. When applied to herring, matjes originally referred to young herring that were harvested before spawning season. Before the spawn, herring are especially fat and nutrient dense, which made this catch particularly sought after. The typical preparation for this herring was to pickle them in a brine that contained brown sugar, beets, cloves, and other spices. Now matjes herring is made with herring harvested in all seasons, but the preparation has stuck. In the Netherlands, matjes herring is a typical street food where it is sold from pushcarts—served on a hot dog bun with chopped hard boiled egg and chives.

Pickled Herring

See “Herring in Wine.”

Pastrami Smoked Salmon

    For Pastrami Smoked Salmon, after our salmon is cured in the same way as we cure our Nova (and before the smoking step), an assortment of spices is coated onto each fillet. This results in smoked salmon flavored and textured like a New York style pastrami.

      Nova Salmon

      Commonly called Nova, Nova salmon, and smoked salmon, this is the most popular smoked salmon sold in the world. Nova is a term used in the Eastern United States, which traditionally describes wet-cured cold smoked salmon. The term "Nova" refers to Nova Scotia, traditionally a large supplier of Atlantic salmon to East Coast smoke houses. Nova, now made from farm-raised Atlantic salmon, is cured in salt for just long enough, and then cold smoked over a blend of hardwoods. The finished product has a mildly smoky flavor with a silky texture.

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