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Friday, March 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Hot Smoked Salmon Fillet

Well, looky here. It's Lent again. I'm not complaining, it's one of my favorite times of year, even though I'm not Catholic. It means it's fish fry season here in the 'burgh! Because, according to tradition, as a sign of repentance and sacrifice you need to eat a Frisbee-sized fried fish sandwich for dinner on Fridays because it's "not meat." I mean no disrespect, but I don't totally understand that, but that's fine. It's tradition!

As a personal budding tradition, occasionally on days off I have from work during the week I'll stop in at TJ's or wherever, grab a kombucha, and maybe some tasty dried meat like some prosciutto or something for lunch. Which is how I found myself this past week on Ash Wednesday, another designated no-meat day which I observed out of deference to my wife's upbringing, but since fish is somehow still okay, I snagged a pack of Trader Joe's Hot Smoked Salmon Fillet.

Search "salmon" on this blog and you'll see that it has a spotty history on here. I mean, salmon jerky....I shudder still. I didn't have high hopes and wasn't really quite sure what I was thinking when plopping down $8 for the 10 oz chunk, but I did so anyways.

Probably shoulda kept on the shelf.

First, I'm no smoking whiz, but I've done some of it in my day, and am pretty sure that salmon is best when cold smoked (indirect, in seperate chamber from heat source) than hot (same chamber). Take a look at the actual product pic that I took after having a few bites. That nice firm fleshy pink up top? That's how salmon is supposed to look. That mushy brownish-gray stuff towards the bottom? Nah. That's the part right near the skin that was most exposed to direct heat, i.e. grossly overcooked. That stuff is edible but not pleasant.

Everything is okay at best. The whole fish piece is pretty glazed over by a fairly basic brown sugar kinda rub. It's not particularly spicy or flavorful - the "hot" in the product name isn't an indication of spice in case it's not obvious. The actual salmon flavor is pretty decent - fresh, not too fishy, a little salty but not bad.

Still, this TJ's smoked salmon is kinda underwhelming at best. The thought of returning it crossed my mind, but hunger won out. Plus I'm not gonna ask for money back on something I consumed most of not all of - seems a little disingenious to me. All told, I would have been happier going for some of the pastrami-style salmon or something else completely. Maybe you'll have a different take. Sandy sat this one out - salmon isn't her thing, so all there is here is me. Double twos.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Hot Smoked Salmon Fillet: 4 out of 10 Golden Spoons   

3 comments:

  1. The dark part of salmon is completely normal and is NOT from overcooking - salmon and other fish have this layer for insulation. If you only buy salmon fillets or sliced smoked salmon, you may have never seen it before as vendors remove it for cosmetic reasons. It contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for you and I like this part of the fish, but some people find the flavor too intense.

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  2. That grey is actually bloodline in the fish and it should be cut out before selling or serving has extremely high fish flavor can be distracting to the rest of the fish flesh when tasting.

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  3. My good friend practically lives off of that pastrami smoked salmon from TJs! I don’t eat fish myself but will pass along your advice to avoid this one.
    Ttrockwood
    PS
    Have you seen the sabich sandwich? Looks like a great lunch on the go option, my store didn’t have it yet so dunno if it’s widely available

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