Mar 16, 2022Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Andrew, I'm so glad you opened up this conversation about lox.

I grew up eating belly lox from the kosher fish shops in Lakewood, NJ. Belly, Nova and whole whitefish were the holy trinity of our Hasidic town.

Barrow's recipe for belly lox is essentially the same as every other recipe I've found over the last 20 years (including Cooks Illustrated), which is to say it's exactly not the kind of traditional belly that I grew up eating. It's delicious to be sure, but it's a dry cure, and slightly sweet from the sugar.

True belly lox, of the type that was sold by Jewish vendors from pushcarts in the early 1900s, is luxuriously silky and moist, ideally sliced paper thin with visible zebra stripes of fat, and not a hint of sweetness. It's virtually impossible to find this style of lox outside the NYC metro area, and to date I've found it only at one place in Los Angeles (Barney Greengrass deli, which has since closed).

Do you have a recipe, or do you know of any resources to make a true wet brined belly?

And why do you suspect that this 100+ year old recipe does not exist anywhere online? The only place I know if that still makes it is Acme Smoked Fish in Brooklyn. They supply Russ & Daughters (and I suspect many other ships around NYC). I even purchased their pre-packaged belly once by mail order, but was completely disheartened to see the thick clumpy slicing and lack of fatty zebra striping that is the hallmark of top quality belly lox. I even asked if they would sell me a side of salmon so I could slice it myself, but they don't sell that via retail.

Any guidance you could provide would be unbelievably helpful. Thanks, Andrew.

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