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128 responses to “How to Smoke Salmon”

  1. reggie

    hi I’m new to the site and i was wondering if all the ingredients are part of the brine or is it just salt and water

  2. Steve Burke

    This is the best smoked salmon I have ever made and I’ve used it on both fresh caught Chinook and Silvers so far. I prefer it to the dry cured recipes I’ve used in the past. I did find it smoked faster than expected in my digital electric smoker so keep an eye on the last hour or two. The maple syrup makes for a beautiful glaze that isn’t sticky at all. I use alder and like to add some lemon pepper and light garlic powder just before going into the smoker to add some zest. Great recipe that everyone seems to love.

  3. Myron

    I tried this recipe last week my fish turn out very good, brine it for 24 hrs and smoked it with cherry wood for 4 hrs. Did about 15 lbs. of salmon. Doing another 15 lbs again this weekend.

  4. Robilee

    We are trying this for the first time. We are smoking sockeye and will have it in the brine for 24 hr then do the drying. Can we put the salmon in the frig after drying and smoke it the next day?

  5. John

    I will be trying this recipe in a few days. I will be using king salmon I caught on the Rogue River. The pieces are very thick and will probably have to brine them to 30 + hours.
    My question, will I have to smoke them longer to get the smoked flavor. I will be using the Bradley smoker.

  6. Dan

    We have tried several smoked salmon recipes, but yours has been the best. We actually used it on a large, wild rainbow trout we caught. Now just need a bottle of Alaska Birch Syrup!

  7. Bryan

    Great simple recipe! The advice about leaving the fish to form a pellicle is priceless, and I had never heard it before even though I live in the Pacific Northwest and have lots of salmon throughout the year. It’s almost like cold smoking for a couple of hours and then finishing a little hotter to get that ‘just cooked’ texture. Absolutely fantastic! I tried about 4 or 5 different seasonings on several pieces to test out how they go with the brine and the smoke. I’ll try and remember to pass on the details as I taste my way through them. (I own a smoke hollow smoker and smoke 25lb batches.) I also find that vacuumed packed smoked fish will keep nicely for up to a year -although it gets eaten much faster than that a few pieces tend to ‘hide’ in the freezer for longer. Thanks again!!

  8. Jason

    Gonna try this in my Traeger tomorrow, will report how it goes :)

  9. Olen

    This might not be the traditional way of doing it, but I recently tried an experiment, to make a combination of gravlox & smoked lox taste…and it came out delicious. What I did was dry the salmon with paper towels and then I painted the salmon with orange extract and then liquid smoke. I let it sit for a few minutes and then painted on the liquid smoke again…then coated on a combination of salt, brown sugar and a little Allspice. I sandwiched in the dill, as in the usual process, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for a day and a half…turning it a couple of times. Then, I removed the wrapping, wiped it down and put it in my dehydrator at the lowest (90 degrees) temperature for just an hour or so. It was outrageous tasting and avoided the difficulties with cold smoking…which is hard for most of us to accomplish. I froze some, and that did not degrade the flavor or texture. I get my curing salts from Butcher & Packer, like you do. In fact, I’ve found that their prices are best for all spices and liquid smoke also. Good company that I recommend highly.

  10. Greg


    I am just starting the smoke with a Traeger Texas; how did your’s turn out? What settings — temp / time — did you use? I have the digital thermo, so started on ‘smoke’ which seems to be 120 degrees.

  11. Tom Billet

    Does anyone know if this would also work for smoking Halibut? I am going to fire up my smoker with some Salmon and was thinking of trying Halibut as well.

  12. Scott Arthurs

    Great recipe Thanks!
    I worked well with halibut as well. Next I am going to try whitefish and northern pike as well. Have to wait for the weather as it -30 up here in Canada. My Bradley has trouble keeping the temp up at times. Thanks again What a great web site.

  13. Trent farrell

    With regards to have smoke in the smoker at all times.You don’t have to do that.the salmon has the ability to absorb only so much smoke flavour.I have a little chief smoker that has been going for almost 25 years.I do about 100 pounds of fish each year bing that I live on the water in British Columbia.Salmon capital of the world.I just sprinkle rock salt and some sugar on the fish in a flat pan.put it in the ridge overnight and smoke it for bout 8hours.the salt is the preserver and the smoke is for can add anything you want to the salt and garlic herbs or soy sauce.mmmmmm

  14. Craig

    Trent, I have started using a Little Chief again after many years away from it. I am in Florida so mullet, bluefish, mackarel, etc are the fish I normally do. The Salmon is so thick I was not sure if my Little Chief would work but it appears you have no problem with it at all. Are you just putting salt and sugar on it and not soaking it in brine?

  15. Lindy Ridinger

    If your using a Big Green Egg, adjust your dampers. I have one and I can easily get it down to 120 to 130 degrees. But my experience is whatever a recipe says online, and your using an Egg, take off about another 20% in temperature because the egg loses little temp. Get a digital thermometer


    hi someone has givin me some skinned sockeye salmon to smoke.Would I smoke it on tinfoil to act as a barrier like the skin would to stop drying out. I have done your maple syrup recipie with skin on and it was absolutely gorgeous

  17. Gordon Mayer

    To form the pellicle, you call for 60ºF or cooler–how cold can it be? (it’s winter here now, so my house is 66º and the garage is 35º–those are my choices. and, in the summer the house will be hot, so the only choice would be the fridge–will that work?)

  18. Gordon Mayer

    Hi Hank,

    First of all, thanks for the quick response to my earlier question. I *love* a recipe/method that, if you follow it exactly, comes out perfectly. Yours is just that way. Made it today and it came out great. I just got a 4-rack Bradley digital–unfortunately it only goes down to 120º, so I had to do a lot of hands-on temp management (opening the door to cool it off). This is as good as the best smoked salmon I’ve ever had–I’m in the Pacific Northwest, so I get a lot of it. Never buying it again! My package of birch syrup lands here today (made my first batch with maple). Those are some nice folks up there in Alaska–thanks for turning me on to them.

  19. Mark Richard Wolgamuth

    Hey there, I’ve been smoking fish for years with a basic but very functional brine. I want to try brining my fish with no sugar of any kind, ONLY maple syrup and kosher salt. Do you think this will be ok, and what ratio of maple/salt/water do you think would work? I’m smoking some nice steelies and don’t want to ruin the fillets Thanks and I look forward to your response

  20. Mark Richard Wolgamuth

    Thanks I’ll give it a try

  21. Joe Pudlak

    Great recipe. I’m familiar with Birch Syrup but it’s not readily available. So I tried to be trendy and use Agave Nectar (the same plant that gives us tequila) as a substitute. It works!!

    I recently was in Haines, AK and purchased some Strawberry Syrup and will try to use it with my next smoking.

    By the way I live in the SF Bay Area and agree the last year was great for King Salmon fishing. I only hope this year will be as good.

  22. Dylan N

    Brilliant recipe, just pulled the salmon out of the Bradley a while ago and had first crack. Beautiful. I used maple and alder to smoke and it is mean!! Never brined before (have only just invested in the Bradley) and it worked perfectly. I added some bay leaves to the brine and think next time ill start to get a bit more creative. Thanks for the recipie, a beauty.

  23. jody watson

    I have never smoked salmon before. I have eaten a lot of it but I have to say this was the best I’ve ever eaten!! I have an electric smoker which may have made it easier, but this was amazing! I cant stop eating it! Thank you so much!!

  24. Jan

    We are attempting salmon for the first time this weekend. We have heard that you need to put the salmon on a cedar plank while smoking it. Do you do this?

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