If You Can’t Smoke a Salmon…

11 Jan

Smoked Salmon

…then you’ve come to the right place.

Oh, I had a few zingers in mind to use instead, because I’m in a silly mood from working so many hours today. But the task at hand now is sharing my husband’s recipe for Smoked Salmon. As with the other recipes of his, I’ve only watched on the sidelines, however that first big fish I caught I did have a hand in the brining and smoking of it. We didn’t quite have all the ingredients in our RV for the brine that night, but after visiting a few camps on our summer place stretch, we were able to cobble together enough to get the job done that night so we could smoke some of the fish the next day. But I was so proud of that fish that it could have been brined with table salt and river water and I wouldn’t have cared. However, the recipe I give you is what he uses as his standard method. I can’t say this too many times, but just use the recipe as a guide and experiment with your individual taste preferences.

Smoked Salmon Brine

1/2 gallon of water
1/4 cup of Sea Salt (non-iodized)
1/4 cup of pineapple juice
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of garlic salt or granules

Salmon in Brine

After Brining Glaze

Mix 1/4 cup of honey with enough pineapple juice to make it the consistency of a barbecue sauce.

My husband is not a big fan of “fishy” tasting fish, and he’s come to the conclusion that if you leave any skin on the salmon prior to smoking or cooking it that it will taste that way. So any salmon we’ve ever smoked has been fileted without leaving the skin on it.

Mix the brine ingredients together, and pour over the salmon in a non-metallic sealable container to cover.  Let brine overnight or 8-10 hours.

First thing you need to do the next morning is get your wood chips soaking in beer or water. We have used both alder or mesquite chips, but favor the alder. Remove the salmon from the brine and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Place the salmon on a clean grill with a pan underneath, and let it air dry for one to two hours, until a nice glaze forms over the surface of the fish.

Forming the "Glaze"

Meanwhile, get the smoker or BBQ grill heated to a temp of about 150-180 degrees. If you are using a BBQ grill, make sure the salmon will be placed with indirect heat. A smoker will have the grill far enough away already.  Add a small amount of wood chips to the smoker at first, otherwise the salmon will infuse too much of the smoky taste. Now baste the salmon on both sides with the After Brining Glaze. Transfer the fish to the preheated smoker, and smoke the salmon for two to three hours, depending on the thickness. After the first hour, try to maintain a temperature of about 180-200 degrees. Add soaked wood chips as needed throughout. If some of the thinner edges of the salmon start to dry out and begin to look crispy, it’s probably time to take the fish off.  Let the salmon cool a bit, then eat as much as you want, plain or with our favored Triscuits and cream cheese. We then cut the leftovers into appetizer-sized chunks and vacuum pack and place in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how soon we will be eating some again.

We’ve over-cooked our salmon a few times, but to tell you the truth, it has never bothered me. I also like to eat the burnt, crispy bits off a barbecued brisket, the best part! Look for that recipe in the future…Happy Fishing!

6 Responses to “If You Can’t Smoke a Salmon…”

  1. Cathy January 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Omg, I just slipped in my slobber pool! Wow, that looks so mouthwatering good!


    • patiemoose January 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

      Yum Yum Yum!


  2. Becky January 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Sounds great! I have my Dad’s Little Chief Smoker. Think I will try this next summer! My Dad also made his own smoker for Smelt out of a metal garbage can and a hot plate.
    Thanks for all your hard work Kathryn! I love this blog!


  3. Conor Bofin September 30, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    That looks very nice Kathryn. I did a hot smoked one previously with a much simpler brine. This looks very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Paprika Spinach and Garbanzo Beans with Brined Smoked Pork Roast « anotherfoodieblogger - November 11, 2012

    […] it after the fish was done. What a great idea! He basically followed the brining recipe here: How to Smoke a Salmon. He smoked the pork for quite a long time, but I was busy cleaning the house and didn’t pay […]


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