Good smoked salmon can actually be hard to come by — maybe even harder than good bagels! Of course if you live in a place like Manhattan, where there is Zabar’s and Russ & Daughters, or Los Angeles, where there is Wexler’s, then there is ample high-quality lox to be found.
But what if you don’t live near a good appetizing shop? You can try your hand making your own cured lox, called gravlax. It is an easy process, but does require at least four days of planning to prepare.
If you don’t feel like going through the patchke of making gravlax, or don’t have the time, there are also some pretty great lox varieties to be found at major supermarkets. Here are a few of our top-rated choices.
Acme (at various supermarkets including Wegmans)
You may not realize, but most appetizing restaurants in New York City and supermarkets around the country are all getting their smoked salmon from Acme Smoked Fish in New York. Many supermarkets throughout the country sell Acme brand smoked salmon, so if you find it, you can be sure it will be good quality. Whole Foods and other major supermarkets also carry this brand.
Blue Hill Bay (at Costco)
For all you Costco lovers, you can purchase a party-sized quantity of Blue Hill Bay smoked salmon, which is actually produced by Acme. Many Costco locations also carry several pickled herring varieties.
Daniel Boulud Artisanal Cut Smoked Salmon (Whole Foods)
Whole Foods carries a pretty sizable selection of smoked salmons, but we recommend trying Daniel Boulud’s artisanal cut smoked salmon, smoked using fruitwood. Whole Foods also carries Blue Hill Bay bran cured fish.
Charlie Trotter’s Citrus Cured Salmon (Whole Foods)
Another brand from a famous restaurateur, we love the hint of citrus in this bright and not overly smoky fish.
Trader Joe’s Smoked Copper River Sockeye Salmon (Trader Joe’s)
When in doubt, hit up Trader Joe’s, which carries several varieties including our favorite, the smoked sockeye salmon. Another favorite is the pastrami salmon, which has just a hint of pastrami spices or try the Everything Bagel Spice salmon, which is something a little different to give a whirl. TJs also carries smoked salmon spreads and pretty much everything else you need for a last-minute bagel and schmear.
Recipes Using Smoked Salmon