The Best Smoked Salmon

Which brands of smoked salmon brands are worth celebrating with during the holidays?

The Best Smoked Salmon
Honoululu Fish Company

Smoked salmon has long been a brunch favorite and hankered-after passed hors d'œuvre, occupying a place of pride on menus and silver trays alike. And what's not to like? A little smoked salmon nestled atop a poached egg or draped across a lovingly spread layer of cream cheese on an everything bagel — or, for purists, sampled with nothing but thinly sliced toast — is just the right light, savory touch.

Click for The Best Smoked Salmon Slideshow.

The trouble with buying smoked salmon to enjoy at home or serve at parties is that it's not usually the most cost-effective item to throw into the shopping cart. Thus when The Daily Meal's editorial staff sat down to taste smoked salmon varieties available nationwide, we paid attention to value as well as quality.

A panel of eight editors tasted nine different brands of smoked salmon, including samples from, among others, Russ & Daughters, Petrossian, Duck Trap, and Daniel Boulud. We set out with the idea in mind that the perfect smoked salmon is a balanced combination: the salt and smoke trigger umami, while the fish itself is buttery, silky, and smooth.


Specifically, the criteria we used included saltiness (was it bland, or was there actually too much salt?), smokiness (was it savory, or did it fall flat?), texture (how was the mouthfeel?), and finally, of course, flavor (was it nuanced or fishy?).

There were several clear favorites, a few definite duds, and some middle-of-the-road choices. The smoked salmons were supplied by their producers, so the package size varied. To make this ranking more helpful, however, we considered the price per ounce. After all, taste and texture matter, but when you're shelling out for something like salmon, cost doesn't always translate to quality. Or does it? Check out the slideshow for the panel's commentary and full details about each brand.

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You are missing one huge one that just came onto the scene last year. There is a Irish guy in Dripping Springs Texas that has been smoking some of the most amazing smoked salmon I have ever tasted. He does it weekly and it is the freshest and most buttery, melt-in-your-mouth traditional Irish Smoked Salmon ever. Celtic Seafare needs to be on this list if you should ever do this list again. Blows Russ and Daughters out of the water!

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The prices of some of these are absurd, especially if their rank is low.
The prices of that stuff from Petrossian is really insane. I wonder if they are Armenian relatives of that Kardoshian bunch of the really wealthy (why, I don't fathom - they are certainly far from the only people with bodies like that and maybe some performing talent)
If I hit the lottery big time or am on death row and given a list meal, I would request what lox over $120/lb tastes like.
Since I do not plan on either I might go for Russ & Daughters or Acme for a fancy party. Otherwise, I look for tubs of lox trimmings and bits and pieces that do not look as pretty as the neatly slIced stuff but taste the same at half the price.
Besides most outfits tack on the obnoxious, and often small print, S&H.

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