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This easy step by step guide to smoked salmon recipe will show you just how to smoke salmon at home using fish you bought at grocery stores or caught yourself. Not only is the recipe "beginner-level-easy", but it's also the truly best smoked salmon recipe I've ever eaten.

How to Smoke Salmon

Rebecca Lindamood
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
This easy step by step guide to smoked salmon recipe will show you just how to smoke salmon at home using fish you bought at grocery stores or caught yourself. Not only is the recipe "beginner-level-easy", but it's also the truly best smoked salmon recipe I've ever eaten.

Equipment

  • Smoker or grill with a smoke box
  • 1 cooling rack
  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1 rectangular container with tight fitting lid

Ingredients
  

  • Up to 5 lbs of fresh or thawed salmon cut crosswise into 3-inch wide pieces if starting with large fillets
  • ½ cup Maple syrup or honey for brushing the fish as it smokes

For the Brine:

  • 4 cups cool water
  • 1 cup packed, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 2 ounces kosher salt
  • 1 red onion peeled and cut into slabs
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns lightly smashed
  • 2 bay leaves

Optional:

  • 2 slices fresh lemon about ¼” thick

Instructions
 

  • In a long, rectangular gladware, tupperware, or other storage container with a tight fitting lid, whisk together the water, brown sugar or maple syrup, and kosher salt until the salt and sugar (if using) are fully dissolved.
  • Stir in the onion slabs, peppercorns, and bay leaves, then slide the salmon skin side up into the brine. Put the lid on tight and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours but up to 8 hours.
  • Rinse your salmon and place it on a cooling rack set on a sheet pan. Pat the surface of the fish dry with paper towels.
  • Place the pan in front of an electric fan in a relatively cool room for at least an hour or until the surface is shiny and somewhat tacky. Now you can either refrigerate it until the following day or go directly to the smoker with it.
  • Oil the skin side of the salmon fillet and place it directly on the smoker grates. Set the smoker to 165ºF. After 1 hour brush the salmon with maple syrup or honey and raise the temperature to 180ºF.
  • Smoke for 2 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 130ºF to 140ºF, brushing with maple syrup or honey every 60 minutes.
  • Move the smoked salmon to a cooling rack, brush once more with maple syrup or honey, and let it cool completely before wrapping tightly and refrigerating for up to a week or freezing for up to a year.

Notes

For Salmon Bacon:
Continue smoking the salmon for up to 5 hours or until the salmon is quite firm to the touch and looks shellac-ed; shiny and deep coral orange/brown. Transfer to a cooling rack, brush once more with maple syrup or honey, and let it cool completely before wrapping tightly and refrigerating for up to a week or freezing for up to a year.

Nutrition

Calories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 11gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 580mgPotassium: 295mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 25IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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