Dan Greenberg and his smoker have been a fixture at Margate’s summer farmers' market for years, selling smoked meats as Downbeach BBQ. But it was a rising interest from Margate’s large Jewish community in his smoked salmon that encouraged Greenberg and partner Steve Marchel to launch a new business, Water Dog Smoked Fish, that focuses on cold-smoked salmon. Their fish is fantastic, with deep orange flesh — lusciously textured, with a balanced cure and a deep background shade of sweet oak smoke — that can easily compete with more famous brands. The pastrami salmon is especially good, because there’s no skimping on the pepper. Two new additions to Water Dog’s line using spirits from Atlantic City’s Little Water Distillery are particularly interesting, with one version using Whitecap American Whiskey in the cure and another using sweet Prosperity rum. The liquors add a hint more firmness and translucence to the texture of the thick-cut strips, but they also add extra layers of flavor — and a local twist — to salmon that already has a complex profile. These products are widely available at the Shore, and are starting to gain retail traction in Philadelphia.
— Craig LaBan