What's The Difference Between Lox And Smoked Salmon?
By Elaina Friedman
In 2019, the current owner of Russ & Daughters, Niki Russ Federman, explained the differences between lox and smoked salmon. Federman started by clarifying that one has to identify the difference between curing and smoking in order to understand it.
While curing is preserving food in salt, smoking is exposing food to smoke, be it “cold” or “hot” smoke. Federman described cold-smoked salmon as “the stuff that can be sliced so thin you can read the Times through it,” cured salmon as one with “a similar texture [to cold-smoked], but without any smoke flavor,” and hot-smoked salmon as “meaty and flaky, like cooked salmon.”
Federman explained that NYC is a hotspot for lox because, in pre-home refrigeration years, Pacific salmon used to be shipped in “gigantic salt baths” with the salt helping in long-term preservation and giving the desired taste to cured and smoked salmon. Interestingly, the fish you get with a bagel isn’t lox, but cold-smoked salmon, although it’s not inferior to lox in any way.