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280 responses to “How to Smoke Salmon”

  1. Scott "Sugarbear" Pearson

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing,pictures look killer,and have what other fish or meats have you smoked?

  2. Elise Bauer

    I am delighted to say that I’ve tried Hank’s smoked salmon and it is AWESOME.

  3. deana

    I can’t wait to try that birch syrup… what a great idea. YOur salmon looks amazing… oh I wish I could have a smoker (sadly, city apartments don’t work for such things!!).

  4. Jeff @ Cheeseburger

    This is an excellent guide on how to smoke salmon. You have been very helpful. Thanks!

  5. Kurt Anderson

    Interesting. Just grilled up some Lake Michigan kings tonight and was wondering if the albumin I noticed means I cooked too hot? When I smoke salmon or trout I keep the fillets “clean” by maintaining temp at 120-140 for first 4-6 hours (also an alder fan) but curious if there are any taste side effects of albumin formation during standard grilling; I.e. for temps between smoking and blackening?

    Congrats on the book deal, too — better turn in some clean copy with that kind of production schedule.. 🙂

  6. dblee

    Last weekend 20 lbs of baby back pork ribs on my Brinkman wood smoker using plum wood – nom nom nom!!! and just added a digital Smoker to my wish list – considering the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse Smoker… any thoughts on that? Anyone?

  7. The Internet Kitchen: Land of Enchantment | Macheesmo

    […] How to Smoke Salmon – If you are lucky enough to have access to really fresh salmon this year, maybe try your hand at smoking some of it! I would if I could! (@ Hunter Angler Gardener Cook) […]

  8. Justin Bodell

    Hank, this recipe is amazing. Two weekends in a row I’ve smoked salmon with your recipe. That stuff gets eaten FAST! I just finished vacuum sealing the latest batch of smoked king salmon collars. The only thing I do different is I use a teaspoon of curing salt #1 in the brine and I use a “smokenator” insert in my weber BBQ. Some dude in San Jose invented it and it works pretty good. I was able to keep 160-180 degree smoking temp for a few hours with it.

    Thanks for a great recipe that I’ll use for years.


  9. Joe Fabittes

    I’ve done this recipe once last week and it was the absolute best salmon I’ve ever had. Doing again tonight/tomorrow for some friends and I can’t wait to see their reaction.

    I’m in South Carolina so we don’t have salmon from local sources but we do have a first-rate fish monger who’s stuff is so good she rations it (only 5-pounds max per customer).

    Question, can you do this with mackerel?

  10. Bob R

    Great article. Not only explains how, but why. I’ll be smoking some salmon this weekend and following this recipe. I’m excited!

  11. Marianne L.

    I CAN’T WAIT to show my husband your website when he gets home from work today. He is going to DIE!! He’s a hard-core fisher/hunter/camper & is always trying to find the perfect fish or meat recipes. I was searching google a few minutes ago to find him the perfect smoked salmon recipe for his smoker (which he made out of a Jack Daniel’s barrel) & stumbled across your site. Just amazing. I can’t wait to show him. AND you even have his favorite beer battered fish recipe!! I’ll have to get him your book. Thank you so much!! Love the site. It’s super easy to use.

  12. Phil

    G’day Hank,
    Thanks for posting this recipe, I’ve got my salmon in the fridge curing at the moment, would it be possible to give metric equivalents of your measurements, as I live in Australia it took me a while to find out what a Quart was. Now I just have to patient and wait until I can get it in the smoker.

  13. Cynthia Northington

    @dblee I love my Masterbuild Smoker. I would recommend to anyone needing a smoker in the city. I know I have the neighbors drooling and it has never produced a bad meal.

  14. Harley Grouette

    Tried this recipe. Great results although trying to keep my wood fired smoker at a low temperature was a challenge. Love the flavor of this recipe.

  15. rob clark

    It appears that you do not rinse your fish once removed from the brine.Is that correct?

  16. Perry K.

    Hank, Love this site.
    I just bought a propane/charcoal smoker. I have a fresh salmon fillet(atlantic salmon) It is a 1.5lb fillet. It is just one large piece(square). Should I cut it into smaller portions. Can’t wait to smoke this thing. 🙂
    Thanks Perry

  17. Perry K.

    Thanks Hank
    Going to season my smoker tonight and get the salmon in the brine. the recipe you posted is it ok to use for less than five pounds. Maybe i will get a couple more pieces of salmon. 🙂
    Thanks Again

  18. Laurel

    Do you keep wood/smoke on the whole time, or just part and then straight heat for the rest? If just for part, how long, and is it best to apply the smoke in the beginning? Thanks!

  19. Perry K.

    Hank, got another dumb question.
    The salmon steak 1.5lbs turns out it is skinless. the other salmon I bought has skin on. Should on smoke the skinless steak on foil?
    Thanks Perry

  20. Susan

    Thanks for the pointers Hank. I’ve been smoking a range of different things, mostly pork and duck, for about a year now. I live near the Snowy Mountains in Australia, where there are loads of trout and I’ve been wanting to give them a go. I dry cure the other things I’ve been smoking, so it’s nice to see how you do it. Keep up the good work!

  21. Playing With My New Toy, The Stovetop Smoker | All the Pretty Courses

    […] christen it with a filet of salmon (not pictured above).  This dude Hank Shaw gives a pretty good description of how the process is supposed to work.  Except he’s working with a real smoker, and skill.  Anyway, I followed the instructions […]

  22. Greg

    Hi Hank,

    I am a relative novice to smoking, but I made this and my family LOVED it! Even my girlfriend who “doesn’t like salmon” loved it and has asked me to make it again! I am going to make this again, I would like to dry it in the cool morning and cook it later in the day. Can I dry it in the morning, refrigerate it, then smoke it later in the day?


  23. Julie

    I am a commercial fisherman (fisherwoman) with my dad in the summer. So, as a perk, I get to take home some sockeye at the end of the season to last us the year. I was spring cleaning our freezer and I found way more fish than I thought we had. I used your recipe, to try my hand at smoking, and it turned out amazing. It was easy to follow and the fish was perfect the first time. The only downside was that I smelled like smoke even after a long shower. Evidently my husband loved the fish and loved the smoky smell in my hair, so it all worked out perfectly. I will be doing this lots more… Thanks so much!

  24. Kat

    Couldn’t keep the temps as low as suggested. I wound up smoking at about 130 F for 3 hours, then about 145 F for another 2, then finished at 175 F. (I had to leave the door cracked to achieve the lower temps with a Camp Chef Smoke Vault.) Turned out great, nonetheless. Thanks for the great brine and advice.

  25. Beuferd

    Very satisfied with the recipe. I did have a problem with the drying process. Perhaps, it was too warm in the house (72.5 F). I did not get the milky white layer. I kept the temp close to 200 for 2.5 hrs. I did get the white juice.
    Next time, I will make some adjustments.
    None the less, freaking good! Thanks for the hints and pictures.

  26. jules rosen

    TO all those who can’t get low temps. Suggestions :

    OPEN VENTS 100%
    OPEN doors a crack
    get a digital thermometer so you know the temps

  27. tania

    just wondering…. this is my first time smoking.. it seems to me it would be inefficient to open up the smoker and baste the fish every hour especially when you say the importance of the pellicle so the fish is not wet.. I’m confused by this I’ve read a few smoked salmon recipes and none say to ‘baste’ it can someone please explain??

    a little more info: i have a little chief electric smoker with no temp. gauge..i have about 20lbs of fresh Chinook (spring, king whatever you want to call it) i followed the recipe above, with the exception of a few pieces i cracked some black pepper over, i am using half soaked half dry apple chips n chunks its rainy and windy today so i cut a big cardboard box to keep the heat in and also set a piece of ply wood over 2 sawhorses to cover the smoker any other suggestions?

  28. karin

    Hank- thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipe! I grew up in Seattle eating smoked salmon my whole life. Had never made it. Now live in southern Cali. No smoked salmon around.purchases a little cheif smoker, and some sockeye filets at costco, followed your recipe to a t! And it produced the best smoked salmon I have ever eaten ! 1/4 of the cost of purchasing at Pike place! Beautiful amber color, no albumin!! Thanks again for the amazing recipe!! Bea

  29. Jim East

    I had a problem with flies when air drying so I built a fish dryer.
    Your recipe is awesome I used more salt and brown sugar and added a little molasses the salmon is to die for.

  30. Roger Eriksen

    I have done the brining overnight and have 4.5 lbs of king salmon on my Masterbuilt propane fired water smoker. The original piece of junk thermometer has been replaced with a good accurate one, but only ‘starts’ at 140 degrees. There are 5 very small chunks of soaked hickory in the ‘wood box’ with the rest filled with apple chips. I can barely keep the flame lit and keep it at 140 and at that temp, I am not getting any visible smoke.
    We’ll see in several more hours, but I am hoping to get a little smoke at 175. Oh, BTW I am not a sweet freak at all so I mist the salmon with a 50/50 mix of apple juice and pure maple syrup. Wish me luck.

  31. Mark Webb

    Do I need to reduce the cooking time if I’m doing less fish?

  32. Sandra Pousson

    You don’t say anything about rinsing your salmon before putting it on the drying rack. Do you?

  33. Frank

    I followed your directions to a T and my fish came out of the smoker perfect. Thanks for the post!

  34. Simple Smoked Salmon Recipe and Procedure

    […] and procedure I’ve landed upon based on advice from Matt Anderson at Camp Chef, Hank Shaw’s Hunter, Angler, Gardner Cook website, and some addition research on the worldwide […]

  35. Ali

    Great recipe with very helpful side comments. We added bay leaves to the brine which was a subtle touch, thanks. Your pictures were helpful as well. Used your recipe twice now. We have a Big Green Egg and our fire was too hot on our first attempt. (Too much charcoal and the temperature kept getting away.) While the “attempt one salmon” was a little overcooked for a dinner entree, it was delicious with cream cheese and capers on crackers. Our second attempt began with a smaller fire and we were able to keep the temperature down. A remote thermometer is a must! Attempt 2 was much better, but the flavor was not as smoky as we would have liked. Your recipe is great and I’m sure we will improve with each attempt. This is a keeper! Thanks for posting.

  36. Dean

    ok, i’m getting worried, i’ve had this fish(sockeye) drying for almost 4 hours now with a fan on it and the pellicle has not even begun to form, it’s still very slick to the touch. My only thought is that maybe due to the fact that i live in florida and the humidity today is like 135% that even with the fan on high it’s still gonna take a bit longer to form. does that make sense to anyone else? HELP! i’ve got my charcoal smoker all fired up and just about ready to cook. maybe i’ll just cook some steaks in the meantime while i wait for a reply. thanks folks.

  37. Dean

    alright it’s finally starting to get sticky and not so wet, i’m gonna give the artichokes i’m smoking another hour and then throw the fish on, thanks for your help hank, i’ll let you know how it turns out, i tweaked your brine recipe a little and added some dill and crushed garlic cloves, two of my favorite flavors.

  38. andy

    Well I followed the recipe and everything went good and after the 6 hours of smoking I was taking the rack out of my smoker and it slipped and all the fish fell into my water bowl at the bottom of the smoker…….. son of a……

  39. Renato

    I screwed up, heheheheh. Albumin is there after 1 hour.
    Well, anyway,
    I did not really follow your recipe but I used it to “fix” a little problem . I did a nice portion of gravlax over5 days and I did not weigh the sugar and salt; I followed for the first time another recipe and the salmon turned ut a little to salty for me. Then I decided to brine it in syrup(One piece in in mapple syrup and another in juniper syrup) for so to smoke it using pecan. Then I started your recipe but I got the albumin thing, heheheh. One piece still in the smoker but the other one is out and it tastes wonderful but it will unfortunately be too dry, probably, after I vaccum it. Next time I will try cold smoking.
    What do you think about that?


    Awesome mate,now I know why I was getting that white congealing bleed shit. Now to cure using your recipie and smoking using a masterbuilt electric smoker I imported to NZ From Cabelas.
    Thanks heaps

  41. Bill

    After starting the brine tonight, I realized I did not have any brown sugar…I doubled the syrup amount and adding a little bay leaf as suggested by another person on this thread….planning to brine overnight and smoke with cherry/apple and finish with slight hickory. Will keep you posted.

    FYI…this is my 4th time following this recipe with modest success…either way it has been tasty. I have also usd this recipe on catfish filets and catfish nuggets and LOVE what a sweet little snack they turn into.

  42. Kablooie

    I live in Southcentral Alaska, and my family has caught 24 Kenai River red (sockeye) and silver (coho) salmon the last couple of weeks. I’m freezing half and smoking the other half.

    I’m currently working on my second (ever!) batch of smoked salmon. I used your recipe for the first batch and my family LOVED it, so I’m sticking with it! Thanks for the great instructions! After 6 hours of smoking, some of the steaks are firm, like I expect them to be, and others are squishy, as if they’re still raw — are they? or are they done but just have a different texture? I don’t really want to dig into them to test for flakiness (doneness?), so is there some way of knowing they’re done while still keeping them intact?


  43. Jerry Nelso

    This is a perfect recipe, mostly because it almost perfectly mirros my one, with just a few variations. Your write-up and the photos are superb, thanks for sharing! I have been smoking for the past few years on a Bradly and love it, prior to that in a home-made smokehouse. I like the control over both the smoke and the temperature of the Bradly. One thing I will add to my procedure is the basting with syrup part, that will be a magnificent touch! I may try basting with spruce tip syrup, which I just made for the first time.

  44. Nancy

    We just bought a smoker and our 1st attempt we over cooked the salmon, it was dry but the taste was great. My question is, is there a rule of thumb on how long to smoke salmon?

  45. Chad

    Starting to think my probe isn’t reading correctly. Temperature never got above 160 during the first 4 hours and I still have albumin issues

  46. Doug

    Trying this for the first time, looks great! The only thing different I’m doing is…. using pickling/canning salt instead of kosher. Kosher is usually my go to salt of choice, but while watching Food Network’s Alton Brown do a smoking episode, he remarked that kosher salt does not desolve in cold water but pickling salt does. This way the salt won’t sit on the bottom. Looking forward to this, thanks!

  47. Patrick

    I have an original Bradley and will be going to NY next week for some king salmon fishing. I am planning on trying this recipe seeing how it looks pretty easy and I have never smoked salmon. Only question is, how long do you run the smoke for?

  48. Mike

    Chad: smoked salmon is also something that you have to “watch” when your learning how. ive found it better to open my smoker at have it take longer because im checking on it, than have it cook really fast.

  49. Moss

    I like my Camp Chef Smoke Vault so much I sent one to a good friend.
    I like that it takes real wood and is propane fired.
    Once the wood starts smoking I just turn it down to low for the duration and it does the rest.
    I am trying a table spoon of black pepper in the brine and I will try a bit off Cayenne pepper in the next batch.
    Thanks for your recipe…turns out great..I see how important the pellicle is. I just leave it on a rack over night in the kitchen and it forms a good one.

  50. Salmonarmed

    I have used a brine 1/2 rock salt and 1/2 brown sugar. filet Sockeye Salmon with skin on. I put a hand full of dill between the filets and put glass container with a weight on the filets for 4 days turning every 12 hrs.
    I drained and it is in the fridge to dry out then I will smoke 1/2 and eat the rest as LOX.

    I am smoking beef jerky with the salmon tomorrow using the 3 temp method to slowly dry and finish the salmon and jerky. There is less and less salmon left as the evening goes on.

    does anyone know if there will be a problem smoking the beef jerky with the same method as the salmon?

  51. ted

    Followed your recipe. Now I’m smoking all types of fish for family and friends. Friends buy it and drop it off, and wait till I do a batch. They say it is better then any restuarant or smoker house product they have ever had. Thanks for doing all the research work.

  52. Christopher

    I’m buying a Traeger smoker this weekend. Its lowest temp setting is 185. Does anyone have any tips about smoking salmon, or any other fish, at this temp?

  53. Dave

    How do you possibly start off at 100 degrees?
    I have my smoker sitting in the sun and the inside
    Temp is 100 without even turning on the flame. I’m guessing
    The chips won’t start smoking till at least 150-170 degrees.
    Even if I leave the door open, I think it will get hotter
    than 100.

  54. Amber

    As if I didn’t already wish we’d caught bigger salmon on Lake Michigan two weeks ago. Or more. We got two small king salmon, and the guy who took us on his boat gave us a small piece of smoked salmon from a previous year. Maybe next year we’ll catch some Coho or king big enough to smoke.

  55. Kalani Allen

    I just took up salmon fishing this year and its my first year preparing any of it. I decided to buy a big chief smoker as again, I’m new, and wanted to smoke. My husband is US Army and is currently deployed and being a busy body wife, I took up this hobby and He’s very thrilled to hear about my catching and smoking. Fish has turned out awesome. My question is, how can I go about sending him some salmon! I’ve already smoked it and was thinking vacuum sealing? It takes 7 days to reach him and I want to do this right. Thank you for any input.


  56. Patrick

    I will be brining tomorrow and smoking Sunday. One thing you didn’t mention is the thickness of the filets? I will be doing about 10lbs of king salmon, my filets are from the back half/tail section about 3/4-1 inch thick, skin on. Is it safe to stick with the 6 hours? I am using a OBS but have a PID to control temps

  57. Andy G


    I too have a Big Green Egg. In order to get temps low and produce smoke I remove the charcoal grate in the bottom of the egg and use a charcoal chimney starter instead. You might have to modify your chimney to get it to fit down into the ash bin. Fill the chimney with lump charcoal interspersed with chunks of your favorite smoking wood. With the charcoal confined to the chimney and a few strategically placed chunks of wood you can dial down the temps and as the charcoal burns up the chimney the wood chunks produce smoke for hours. I use this technique for smoking bacon too. Good luck and cheers!

  58. Brett

    Thanks for the recipe and instructions. I’ve never smoked anything in my life, went out and bought a brinkmann charcoal smoker. Followed your recipe and instructions with some fresh caught Pinks, and they turned out great. My friends and family made quick work of them. I will definitely be purchasing your books now!

  59. Kenn

    Hank – I did this recipe last weekend (using maple syrup) on my wood smoker with Oak logs. Occasionally I sprinkled some apple wood chips to sweeten the smoke. I followed your instructions to the letter and I have to say it smoked to perfection! I loved it so much I am filling my smoker this weekend and doing it again! I just wanted to say thanks you for your recipe. Anyone who enjoys smoked salmon needs to give it a try…

  60. Kyle the smoker

    Great! I have the bradley digital smoke 4 rack, and I like to use hickory or cherry, try replacing the syrup with brown sugar, once the brine is done and dried, coat it with brown sugar, wait for it to dissolve, then throw it in, use a spray bottle with brown sugar and water, then spray the fish not rub or baste. Is ferry delicate. Spray bottle is your friend.

  61. chet kukuk

    I have been smoking fish for years. Today I was in the mood for something new and tried this recipe. It is amazing and I can’t thank you enough. From now on I will only use this recipe!

  62. Sam Litzenberg

    I use a Cookshack smoker with Alder wood. 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 180 gives me an int.temp of 155. I am curious about your birch syrup.
    My brine is 3 cups water, 1 cup red wine, 3/4 cup each of Morton’s Curing salt, white sugar and brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. garlic pdr and several dashs of La hot sauce. Using farmed salmon from Norway. I get rave results but I want to try your recipe. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated. My wife says she’ll leave if I fool with this recipe and she’s a keeper! Help!!

  63. 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

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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?

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. 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!!

  70. Jason

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

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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

  75. 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?

  76. 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

  78. 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.

  79. Mark Richard Wolgamuth

    Thanks I’ll give it a try

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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!!

  83. 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?

  84. Eric

    Thanks for the recipe, Hank! In the process of smoking about 20 pounds of Lake Ontario king salmon! I’ll let everyone know how it turns out! 🙂

  85. Mandy

    First Timer. Thanks for the recipie. Clarified a lot of questions I had.
    Of course next time ill start the brine earlier the day before cause I’m now finishing at 1:00am. Lol oh well it was worth it

  86. Grant from The Sushi Knife Store

    I made this recipe and it was AMAZING!

  87. Ashley

    Nice review Hank, lucky you have so much fresh wild salmon at your disposal. Over here in the UK wild salmon is at a premium so untouchable for me, so have to settle for farmed Atlantic. I cheat with mine to cut down on cooking time, but not in flavour. I use the dry curing method which I find better than wet cure, sea salt with a third demerara sugar. For my side of salmon cure for five hours, sprinkle cure more on thicker end reducing as you near tail end. Wash and pat dry, place on wire rack in fridge. Also to assist the forming of the pellicle if I’m in a hurry I use my wife’s hairdryer on the cold setting for a few minutes. Now I cold smoke (not letting my smoker go much over 68 degrees Fahrenheit) for about four and half hours. For you over that side of the pond it would be difficult to keep the smoker down to that temperature. I leave in smoker for another two to three hours with no smoke, just to take in the flavour of the residual smoke. Then I paint with maple syrup and grill till internal temperature reaches 145 F. Never had a failure and mates rave about the product.

  88. rzamora07

    Used bourbon maple glaze instead of just maple syrup but best smoked salmon I have ever had!!! Make sure to monitor temp (140 – 145) instead of time in last couple of hours and it will be the best thing you’ve ever eaten!!

  89. Sheila

    Hi Hank,

    I am just about to smoke some Arctic char, and also have a Bradley smoker, but I am new to smoking, soooooo,…

    My question: how many pucks do you use altogether? It’s 1 puck every 20 minutes right? but wondering, smoking even for 4 hours, with the last 2 hours w/o smoke, that means 12 pucks altogether?

  90. Poppa Gary

    GREAT site, answered several questions I had since my wife bought me a propane smoker.
    I even learned how to prevent that white albumin “bleed” on the meat (not that I knew that is what it was before). It almost always happened whenever I cooked salmon\steelhead even on the grill, so I assumed it was just the way it was!
    I will have to try your recipe, it follows my kiss method as well.
    Thank you,

  91. Ashley

    Sheila May: How many hours you need to smoke (three to the hours), plus three pucks to push the pucks to the heating plate, you will have these left when you finish.

  92. Rob

    If you want to be BLOWN away, substitute cheap hot sauce for the water in the recipe. The kind of stuff sold in quart or larger bottles. The hot sauce kind of pickles the fish and when you smoke it, the “heat” seems to go away as the smoked jerky is not spicy at all. What is left is the best smoked salmon you have ever put in your mouth. We typically skin the fish and cut the salmon into strips about 1″X1″X the width of the fillet and make salmon jerky. We are usually in a big hurry, so smoke for about 2 hrs per batch.

    I go to AK every year to stock the freezer and smoke the salmon up there before coming home (hence the hurry). When we are getting ready to smoke, we prepare the fish for smoking and soak in ziplock bags for a day before the smoking.

  93. Scott Sharman

    Wonderful. Smokes one salmon filet cut in half. Everything I hoped for! Thanks for sharing.

  94. Lisa F.

    I bought my husband a smoker for his birthday. After scouring the internet for brine recipes, we decided this one sounded really good. We loved the idea of the brown sugar and syrup. We were not disappointed! Best smoked salmon ever! The entire process was simple to follow. Everyone we share the salmon with, can not believe that we smoked it ourselves! LOL! Excellent recipe, thanks for sharing!

  95. Al Williams

    For those of you with the Bradley smoker having trouble reaching a lower temperature, try the Bradley Cold Smoke Adaptor.

  96. Wallace Kruse

    Hi Hank, Great recipe. My only sugestion on smoking with a bradley smoker
    is that the temp. only goes down to 120. My suggestion is that you can use your
    smoker side and top vent adjuster to keep the temp in the 100 degree range for
    the first two hours and then turn your oven temp on to bump it up to 140 there
    after. Thanks for sharing this great smoked recipe. I enjoyed how you even broke
    it down scientifically.

  97. Bill Connell

    This is a wonderful guide for first time salmon smokers! I am using a chargriller with the side fire box and did a mix of pecan and cherry wood for the heat. I put a water pan in as well with a handful of cherry chips and the rind of a lemon. for the glaze I did honey, juice of two lemons, wasabi powder and ginger powder. I wish I could upload a pic! Thank you very much for the guidance, I was able to keep the fire fairly close, a little higher than what is in this post but everything worked out great! Maybe because of elevation. Thanks again, I will be checking your site when I have other wild game to prepare!
    Bill Connell

  98. Gary

    Great salmon I press about 6 garlic cloves in the brine, cure for 16 hours drying with paper towel and air dry for 2-4 hours. Same heat settings as listed but I use apple chips for smoking and baste with a half and half mixture of Canadian sherry and real maple syrup. Everyone is always asking when I’m smoking my next batch.

    Thanks great recipe!!

  99. Eva a Slavek Folke

    Great recipe! We never ate better salmon! Will try with other fish, too. Thank you!
    — Eva a Slavek

  100. Tom Bender

    Great recipe with excellent results. When I try it again, I will treat my wire racks with vegetable oil because the salmon skin stuck to the racks and it was impossible to free the salmon without it falling apart. Rookie mistake!

  101. Jena

    How long can you keep the salmon in the fridge after it is dried? I caught it Monday and processed it and kept it in the fridge. I brined overnight Tuesday and dried Wednesday morning. Now it is raining and I have nowhere to smoke it at my house but on the driveway. My smoker is electric and the cord cant get wet. I put the salmon in the fridge I hope it stops raining by tomorrow so I can smoke it. I tried doing it in the garage but it produced too much smoke and I had to unplug it. How much smoke typically leaks out? I am using the little chief.

  102. Michael

    I just bought my new Bradley smoker a few weeks back and christened it with some smoked Louisiana boudin which was out of this world. Next I ventured off on some smoked fish and chose your recipe. At first I was a little hesitant about the sweetness from the maple syrup and also the fact that I bought Atlantic salmon and not Alaskan Kind Salmon. Could the the last 2 hours of cooking time be too much for such a less fatty fish? Here in Austin Alaskan King salmon runs $25 bucks a pound and the Atlantic salmon was only $9. Despite the worries what I ended up with was the complete bomb. Great directions, great results. Thanks much.

  103. Ken Wynn

    I just came across your web site and read your comments about smoking Salmon. I am a first time smoker and already I guess I screwed up. I didn’t dry my Salmon before I put it in the smoker. How about smoking other meats or making jerky??

  104. N J Rich

    I’m not one to follow a recipe exactly, but this time I did and I have to say that this made some of the very best smoked salmon I’ve ever done! I was afraid that it might come out too sweet, but my fears were allayed with the first bite of the finished product. I think I might try adding some ginger to the brine on the next batch. But I thought I needed to post this and say THANK YOU for this site! Well done!


  105. todd

    I followed this recipe and it was the best smoked salmon I have ever had. It was my first time smoking salmon and the only mistake was the length of time it was in the smoker. The fillets where thinner pieces and turned out more like jerky. But they where very tasty.

  106. David Landsteiner

    Have this in the smoker as I type this… Used 1-2″ steaked king salmon pieces plus tail sections, so I might have to smoke closer to 8 hours. Can’t wait

  107. chris

    I have done the same recipe a few times now and have had different results. Having said that my best batch has been with skin on salmon and a close eye on the temps (first batch was throughout the night due to hours needed to develop pellicle). Long night! The third batch I accidentally bought skinless slabs and found the end result to be a bit drier. I finally found good pieces of skin on fish and will be smoking tomorrow. Great recipe. I have had excellent feedback from some saying it was the best salmon they have ever had. It makes a great gift idea for a salmon lover as well. good times

  108. John Alden

    I’ve read/heard that when canning smoked salmon, that it should be smoked for a shorter time. Is that the case in your experience?

  109. Stephane Aarseth

    Going to give this a try. Most brines I’ve used have the salt to sugar ratio either even or greater salt to sugar. This brine reverses that and it is 4 almost 5 to 1 sugar to salt. Just a guess, but I’m thinking that going slow on the temp also keeps that sugar from burning. Like Hank, I’ve switched from managing my own fire to a mechanical system. I’m using a Traeger – similar in concept to the Bradley. My second guess is that the longer brine (24 hours as opposed to 8-12 hours) is because of the lower salt ratio. It takes longer for the salt to work into the fish.

    Hopefully I’ll remember to report back. I’m smoking four fillets of Copper River reds.

  110. Susan Garcia

    This is the first time I am trying to smoke salmon. My “practice” salmon (or sacrificial salmon) is a nice side of Atlantic salmon from the Costco. If it doesn’t turn out good, it’s no great loss. Your brine recipe and directions look very easy. The salmon is brining in the ‘fridge right now and I will smoke it tomorrow using alder wood in a propane powered box smoker (Iron Forge).
    My question is, does it matter that the salmon is skinless? I did not notice this until I got it home from the Costco.

  111. Brigitte

    I have not been smoking stuff for long and only have the “baby” Bradley countertop smoker. But whole salmon was for sale and I could not resist which is how I ended up with your recipe.

    The countertop smoker does not allow the slow increase in temperature you describe but it heats up slowly. Although the salmon bled a little albumin it is still nice and moist and … OMG! This is the best hot smoked salmon I have tasted.

    Page is bookmarked, I’ll be back! Thanks for this wonderful simple and tasty recipe.

  112. Bob Barfus

    I used your maple syrup recipe to smoke 5 lbs of Alaska salmon. I found that I needed to double the recipe to fully cover the salmon. Will this give me the same taste as using a smaller amount of brine? The proof of how good it was. My grandchildren, who never eat fish, couldn’t get enough of this. I did brine for 24 hours and found that to be not quite enough so next batch will try 36 hours. Do you have other smoking recipes to share?

  113. Trevis Kelley

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! This is a favorite around the household here!

  114. John Spencer

    Can the brine be used more than once

  115. Steve

    I just bought a Bradley 6 rack smoker. The lowest temperature setting is 120° so that’s where I started the first 2 hours after drying the Red Salmon for 6 hours with a fan blowing cool air over the fish. The highest temp I used was 140 over 6 of smoking. The fish came out moist and very tasty but I had albumin or some other whitish substance all over the fish. Any ideas?

  116. Coco in the Kitchen

    Smoking really is an art. My husband smokes salmon for us in our bbq. I make the buttery crepes. Our li’l sweetheart gobbles it all up. The home-smoked stuff is so delicious that I have a really hard time buying the smoked salmon from the stores. Love your recipe. Going to pass it on to Shawn to try. But first, I have to find birch syrup.

  117. Mel Z

    Can you smoke salmon after it has been frozen?

    Cheers Melani

  118. Ashley

    I’ve been living in Prince William Sound all summer, and have a bunch of sockeye salmon. Unfortunately, my vacuum sealer stopped sealing properly and a fair amount got freezer burned. I was thinking of smoking the freezer burned stuff in hopes of salvaging it. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as good as properly frozen salmon, but do you think that’d still be edible?

    Just found your website, and am now very excited to try out all your fish recipes when I get home!

  119. Steve

    For those interested you can get Kahiltna Birch syrup from Alaska Wild Berry Products

  120. Steve

    Also online at Kahiltna Birchworks to make direct calls to order.

  121. Adam

    This is a really good recipe. I was not able to find the Alaska Birch Syrup or any other birch or maple syrup, it is difficult to find it in Europe, partially by adding more brown sugar partially by adding honey.
    This worked fine!

    We have a large brick made smoker it is difficult to control the smoke temperature in there we just followed it. Started at 176F for about an hour and then smoking for 5 hours at about 140F.

    Thanks for pointing out importance of drying the cured salmon I was not aware of it!

    Thanks for this recipe!

  122. Garth Woodworth

    I’ve bookmarked your site – best advice I’ve had on smoking salmon. Most recipes are way too salty for a start.

    I have a question. I smoked some fairly thick Sockeye until late at night, but still not done. Decided to bring it inside – a rodent could get into the smoker through the air intake – didn’t want to take the chance. Then put it in the fridge. Question is, would be ok to take it out of the fridge and back in the smoker to smoke it another three hours? I can’t see why not, but it seems there could be a reason not to. Thanks if you have an idea on this.

  123. Garth Woodworth

    Good answer! Especially the part about letting the fish return to room temperature. That’s what could have gone wrong – cold fish would be processed by the smoke quite differently than warmer fish – ideally, it might be best to warm it to approximate smoking temperature in the oven before returning it to the smoker. Thanks.

  124. Todd

    i would love to try this recipe. I am still a bit confused about the brine. Do you mix all the ingredients “in” in the water, stir up thereby creating a brine solution and add the fish to the brine solution to soak?

  125. Lou Alexander

    Hank, love your site! In my experience with brown sugar and wild meats is the darker the better. I’m new to fish, does the same hold true?

  126. Chris Duplissis

    Hank – for a beginner / green horn lick myself, I really enjoyed your recipe basics and advice with the heat smoke method. I will trying my hand with it this week-end. 5 lbs each Chinook and Silver salmon are on my to do list. Any final advice for the brine times? I think the 30 hour rule sounds about right, from what I have just read. Thank you…


  127. Michael Pombo

    Advice on the freezer burned fish: If you run the fish under warm water while it is still frozen and use a vegetable brush to scrub the surface, all the freezer burned meat will separate and wash off. This works for freezer burn on many foods. Just perform the action very quickly. You don’t want the remaining fish to have time to thaw while it is under water. It is likely that if you don’t get the freezer burn off before you start to use it, you will still taste the bitterness no matter what else you do to it…

  128. Jennifer Amaya

    Thank you for posting this recipe!!! I used my Weber charcoal smoker for the first time this weekend and it was awesome! I followed this recipe exactly except that I used maple syrup instead of birch syrup. I was worried about keeping the temperature where I needed it to be since I was using charcoal but it worked out fine. I didn’t even get any albumin bleed 🙂 I did baste it every hour which probably helped. Even my extremely picky kids who hate fish couldn’t get enough! I made 3 pounds this time since it was my first time – next time I plan to at least double it. Thank you!!!

  129. MICKEY

    Prior to your recipe I could not get the wife and kids to eat my smoked salmon. Now they can’t get enough of it. I too use a Bradley and really enjoy this recipe.

  130. Jon

    First time smoking salmon. Decided to use your recipe. The question I have is do you mix the brine, syrup and brown sugar then put the samon is for whatever hours?

  131. Paul Demelo

    Just did up a batch of fraser river caught sockeye up here in B.C. with your recipe followed to a tee… All i can say is thank you for such an excellent way to smoke using basic ingredients with a fantastic result that has my whole family begging for more . Awesome job Hank , this is now my ‘go to’ recipe whenever the Bradleys gettin fired up for another batch of ‘candy’ as the kids call it !

  132. Aaron

    I ran this last season, and it came out great – so thank you! This year I was thinking I might swap honey (from my hives) for the syrup, and am wondering if I should water it down about 1:1 or use it straight? Any thoughts?


  133. chip

    hello hank I used your method and recipe on king and coho and I loved it however the wife thought to much smoke and I am working on that. Could you please answer a question for me? How long will salmon keep refridgerated after brined for 30 hours?

  134. Joe

    My first try was over the summer and it was amazing. I even used farm raised salmon and it was fantastic! I also subbed in coconut nectar for the maple to cut down on sugar/calories. The last thing I changed was my temperature for the last 20 minutes or so. I was at about 120ish and I wanted to spring the temp up to 140ish… I lit the gas and got distracted… the temp shot up to 300-350 for that last 20 minutes and I got very worried (temp was good the entire rest of the time). Turns out, it actually came out great. I do not kid around when I say that people were eating the salmon skin… like it was chicken skin. When I tried it I realized there was no off setting flavor at all… THANKS SO MUCH!!! Family Christmas dinner is next for this recipe!

  135. Doug Wyckoff

    My Dad taught me the art of smoking salmon way back in the late 40’s. I have tried lots of different approaches, but must complement you on your method and the wonderful sweet, smokey result. I took a batch north to Minnesota for the grandkids and friends for Christmas. I was a hero thanks to you. Way to go Hank.

  136. Guy Austin

    Tried your recipe and it turned out great ,thanks from salmon1

  137. Capt John "GiddyUp" Bunch

    Follow this recipe exactly and save your creativity for nachos or scrambled eggs

  138. Rory

    Hank – thanks for the recipe. One thing I have wondered about hot-smoked salmon is…can it be frozen (in it’s smoked form) if it was previously frozen raw? I mean, I know you CAN, but how badly does it degrade the product? Freezing things that were previously frozen generally yields poor results. But I’m wondering if the curing/smoking process changes the fish enough to make it something different, something that can maybe stand up to re-freezing.

    The reason I ask is, I have alot more frozen salmon than fresh. And, I like the idea of filling up the smoker to make the whole process more worthwhile. But I wouldn’t be able to consume that much smoked salmon within a week.

  139. Pat

    Thanks Hank for putting this up, as an experienced novice it is so simple and so delicious.I did this with both Salmon and a good sized Snapper today( In Aussie) & cant believe how beautiful it is, hardest part is having to share it with with my son & if this was any nicer it would be illegal, smoked Mussels next.

  140. John truhe

    Once you put your smoked salmon in the freezer – how is your recommendation on reheating – thanks

  141. Nick

    Did a cure last week with brown sugar, salt, little garlic powder and pepper for about 12 hours. Came out great but now I’m curious…what’s the difference between a cure and a brine?

  142. Dennis

    followed this to a T. The sockeye are in the smoker as I type.
    Thanks for the simplicity just what i was looking for. The kids and the cats are licking their chops.

  143. Bill

    Smoked 5 pounds according to your instructions and it was heavenly. Thank you!

  144. Lisa Knox

    I have to let you know… your recipe / instructions are my go-to for smoked salmon! It has been failproof many times over, and always gets rave reviews from everyone (including my kids!) Thanks so much for sharing!

  145. Jim

    I’ve been using this recipe exclusively for a year now. I don’t brush it during smoking because it came out too sweet for us but it produces a superb product. I have multiple pound vacuum sealed in the freezer.

    My only question is that I get albumin leakage every time. I air dry with a fan for three hours and set my Bradley to 120 degrees, which is as low as it goes. Any thoughts on how to deal with this?

  146. Coco in the Kitchen

    I’ve got the handheld smoker tops on my wish-list.
    Is it good enough to smoke 1lb of salmon or just a new-fangled toy for foodies?

  147. Scott

    This is a great article! I learned a lot reading this. I am new to smoking, and I have made this recipe a handful of times now, and I think I have it down, with the idiosyncrasies of my low-tech smoker. Got some smokin’ right now! Thanks!!

  148. Bill

    My neighbor is a seasoned smoker. Yes, pun intended. Boo
    He uses some kind of pickling seasoning and it is delicious. He has stated his recipe is top secret, book of presidents, type secret. Any idea what type of pickling spice might be used?
    Out of all of the recipes I’ve used so far, this is the simplest AND tastiest, thanks for the tips Hank! You’re article was VERY informative and detailed. I learned quite a bit from it.
    Thanks again!

  149. Whit

    Surfing the web for a smoked salmon recipe? Look no more, this is the recipe! My friend put me on to Hank’s recipe last summer. This is hands down the best smoked salmon I’ve produced. I’ve smoked about 40 lbs of salmon using this recipe and it has all turned out great! I find the smaller I cut the salmon pieces the better. I never write online reviews but this recipe was good enough for me to take the time and let people know – try it! You’ll love it!

  150. Fiberarm

    Working on the last couple of hours of smoking. So far everything looks great. I smoked some Ling Cod the other day before coming across this recipe and it had a bitter after taste. Thinking too much apple wood smoke. Anyway this is Steelhead and using alder/hickory.

  151. Fiberarm

    Opening up all the vents and letting the smoke roll through.

  152. Larry Marszowski

    Sounds like a real gpod fish recipe. I wonder if it would be okay for pike?

  153. Robert

    the pickling season he claims to use is probably pickling/canning salt, common for brining

  154. Mike H

    Tried this recipe and wow! Got massive brownie points with the wife as (and I quote) “best salmon i’ve ever had!”. Thanks very much Hunter Angler Gardener Cook!

  155. Sandy Brenner

    New to fish smoking. Do you use foil under the fish for smoking. Also read elsewhere to use brown paper. Just tring to make clean up a little easier. Thanks!!

  156. John

    I’ve tried other recipes but I always come back to yours. Chinook aren’t all that plentiful here in Idaho so when I’ve got some I end up using your recipe. I experiment with the farm raised salmon. I use a Traeger JR.

  157. robbie

    Any suggestions on brining & smoking halibut?

  158. Dave

    Can you tell me how to determine if the salmon has spent enough time in the brine? I have smoked sockeye and king salmon with fantastic results but never sure if I am allowing enough time in the brine.
    Thank you,

  159. cory

    I just did a batch of salmon! When i took the meat off the skin it was like the bottom wasnt cooked
    ! Should i be boing something different?

  160. Sheldon Britton

    I am going to try this next week, I do not see where you mention the wood you used to smoke with. I am using a Masterbuilt electric smoker. I was thinking a mild wood, Alder, Pecan, but not sure.

  161. Jean

    Hi Hank – I am going to make smoke some salmon this weekend using your recipe. Just wanted to be sure about something: are we NOT supposed to rinse the salmon when it comes out of the brine?

    Thank you for this recipe. It looks simple and DELICIOUS!!!

  162. John Pardington

    Hank, do you rinse salmon/fish off after brining and before letting it
    dry to form the pellicle?

  163. Brad Woods

    Going to try this tomorrow..Thanks for the recipe..Keep them coming..

  164. c sterner

    Tried it last year with some sockeye I stumbled upon at the store. We ddon’t see GOOD salmon here in PA often so I splurged at $18/lb!!! Wow thit turned out excellent. We do a lot of saltwater fishing and I brought back some mahi mahi and wahoo fillets. Did them the same way…again WOW!!!

    Just got back from Hatteras and did 10 pounds of mahi again. My niew pellet smoker won’t go <150* so I just did them about 3 hrs at 150 then cranked it to 175* for an hour. Brined overnight then dried to form pellicle, and I basted twice with a tbsp of syurp mixed with 1/4 cup of water….UNBELIEVEABLE!!! It dies work well with firm white fish too!

    Thanks for posting your recipe.


  165. Jennie

    My question is. Can you put too much fish in the brine? As long as all the pieces are covered will it still cure properly?

  166. Ira Callahan

    Hank….I have a Traeger Grill Smoker. The just smoke temp sometimes goes up to 175….is this going to work with your receipe? How can I drop this temp? Will a pan of water keep it right? Thanks for any help!!

  167. Joe

    Hank, used your recipe numerous times. I love the details you offer for the preparation of the salmon…very important to get great results. One spin I made on your recipe is using Agave Nectar as a substitute for the syrup (same amount). Folks love it. Thanks for posting your recipe.

  168. Larry

    Hate to sound repetitive after all the other comments, but this recipe is tremendous. I smoked about 10 lbs. of Sockeye last year using this recipes and it was delicious. Thanks for the great job. The smoked salmon salad sandwiches are AWESOME!

  169. Kerri

    My very first time ever smoking. I followed your advice & recipe. I brined the salmon, skinless for 14 hours. Rinsed off and dried realllly well. Let it sit in refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours. Put in smoker at about 195 for 2 1/2 hours took it out immediately. Let it sit in house for 1 hour & it was perfect! I love it, and I have never ever liked any kind of Salmon smoked,steamed or grilled no way!

    Thanks for a great piece of information. No ambulin? At all.

  170. Kathy Belson-Fox

    I’ve been smoking Salmon, SteelHead and Lake Trout for many many years. I am about to put my weekend catch into the smoker in a few minutes. I read your instructions and noticed you left out “Rinsing” your fish in Cold Water after you remove it from the brine. I’m wondering if you get the same pellicle results without the rinsing? I always have rinsed my filets under cold running water for several minutes thinking that was the only way to get that shiny pellicle.

  171. Brenda

    Thank you so much for your step-by-step guide. This was my first time smoking so I followed the same process for my rainbow trout, coho and king salmon between two smokers. All turned out great using your recipe and a cherry wood! It was a bit of a challenge to bring the temperature up gradually, as I’m using a non-digital smoker, so I did end up with a little “bleed” on the fish in the beginning, but was able to baste most of it away. My cook time ended up being slightly less at 5 hours total.

  172. Michelle

    I just smoked a salmon today in a charcoal smoker using your instructions and that was the best salmon I have ever eaten. I will share this on face book. THANK YOU 🙂

  173. Mike W.

    This recipe is AWESOME!!!!! I don’t own a smoker so I did it with my gas Weber. I bought a smoker box, alder wood, Apple and pecan. I got the wood chips smoking turned the one burner to low and slow smoked for 3.5hrs. Wow!!! Thanks Hank for the great details you give. You gave me the confidence to try it on the BBQ.

  174. Perry

    If you have alder growing in your area you can cut long mostly straight sections and then use a chop saw to imitate the Bradley pucks. You have to be a little careful picking size and shape to avoid feeding issues but with a little practice its really quite easy to make your own pucks.

  175. Jack Focose

    I have always washed off after brine, I’ll try not washing on my next batch..
    The reds this year r not as thick as usual. 6 hrs seems like a long time.can I cut it back to 3 hours?

  176. LaVern Schrock

    I like your recipe I use one very similar to yoursI’ve been smoking salmon not nearly as long as you but it is fabulous I take three days to make mine I smoke for 10 to 12 hours on a big green egg at the same temperature that you recommend

  177. Charlie

    Followed recipe to a T….including the Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Brined the sockeye pieces overnight in a plastic container. Followed instructions to get the pellicle, smoked them, etc. Fish is way too salty… at the brink of inedible because of the saltiness. Any idea where I screwed up? Going to try again this weekend using 1/2 the recommended amount of salt.

  178. Cathy B

    I have a couple pieces of king salmon and a couple pieces of sockeye. How can you tell if they are cured or need more time in the cure? Mine have been in for 24 hours but still feel soggy. Thanks

  179. Michelle Godwin

    I am going to try this for the first time on my Treager. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Doing some pretty good size pieces. My husband goes fishing in Seattle and brings home this lovely fish. I have a boat load of it so thought I’d give smoking a try since both of us love it and it is sooo expensive at the grocery stores. (27.99 lb.) Don’t like Soggy texture either so I want this to be on the dry side. Here I go…..

  180. Ron Herder

    I have some pinks I want to smoke. I was thinking of using honey instead of maple syrup. What do you think? Thanks.

  181. Andrew Grossman

    I just used this recipe for fresh caught King Salmon and Lake Trout. Never smoked anything before, this recipe was on the mark. Everything came out just great. Thanks very much.

  182. Brian n

    THE best smoked salmon I’ve ever eaten. A truly wonderful,simple and not to salty brine.

  183. David Davis

    Great Recipe but cant keep my smoker under 180 degrees even with ice in the water. Hope it turns out.Any other ideas to cool my smoker down.

  184. Tami

    Has anyone tried canning your smoked salmon? If so, how do you do it?

  185. Rob G

    just made a batch. first time ever smoking salmon. I’ve always hated salmon,but i guess I hated how it was cooked. brother gave me ten pounds, and this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. followed step by step. I’m in awe that I’ve owned a smoker for years and never done this. thank you, thank you!

  186. Gibby

    Made my first batch in a Cajun Smoker with ten pounds of Chinook. Most of my friends are members of the Colville Confederated Tribes and know their salmon. Grandmas to children say its the best smoked salmon they have ever eaten. Going to do my second batch with another 10 pounds of Chinook this weekend. After that, going to try the candy recipe. Thanks for a great tutorial with excellent information.

  187. Chris

    I just want everyone to know that this recipe is flawless. It reached an internal temp of 140 at exactly the last few minutes of his six hour recommendation starting from 120 degrees, ending at 175 degrees. It comes out perfect every time and people rave about it. I will keep using this recipe for a very long time. Thanks for your help and expertise.

  188. Virgil

    What do you consider a thick piece? I just read this and want to try it I have 3 full slabs of Chinook that I want to try this on. Can I leave them whole?

  189. Kurt

    I was going to try this with a whole king salmon about 10 lbs. Will it work the same,or am I better of cutting it into fillets

  190. Miranda

    I’m attempting this recipe this weekend — pretty excited! Has anyone canned the finished product? I’m hoping to can it up as I have limited freezer space.

  191. Teresa

    We were thinking of using our propane burner from our turkey fryer instead of the bottom part of the brinkmanship, using the pan sat on top of the flame with chips wrapped in foil. Then wrapping the water pan with foil for water and to catch the drippings. Will this work? The brinkmanship it’s perfectly on the burner. Will it be too hot.? Should we drill any vent holes? Any advise would be greatly appropriated. Thank you

  192. Steve

    I tried this with a small sample of pink salmon over the weekend. It turned out incredible. I pulled it an hour early. Not very salty, excellent flavor and great smokiness. I pulled early because it looked done and it was. Still moist and excellent texture.

  193. jenise

    Hank, honey instead of birch/maple syrup. Any reason why not?

  194. Ron Mitchell

    Going to try smoking this weekend for first time ever. Borrowing a “chief” smoker. Spoiled up here in Alaska…caught sockeye, coho and pink female (which many alaskans shun). Gonna smoke it up! Will post result. Thanks loads.

  195. Liz

    How often do you add alder chips to keep the smoke going? I like heavy smoke flavor. Thanks!

  196. Stan Hayden

    I have tried several recipes, but nothing gave the finish and flavor as yours did, magnificent. My Grand daughter isn’t much of a fish eater, but she tried it. She came back for more, there is a true testament to the excellent quality of this recipe. I used a COHO Salmon from Lake Superior. I will be doing this again.


  197. Jeff Johansen

    May I also recommend getting some monster size shrimp and smoking them with the fish! Leave the shell on and make side by with the fish. I’ve made them a few times and they are awesome.

    Note. I’ve read the internal temperature should be at least 140 to kill bacteria. Be careful with the lower temperatures!

  198. sylvie

    I was curious, what kind of wood chips do you use?? Did I miss that!! Going to try this this weekend!!

  199. Lowell Johnsson

    This recipe looks like it will work. Have been smoking salmon for some time now with of 40/60 Kosher Salt/Brown Sugar Brine. Generally take out in four hours or so. Will go the twelve hours with Maple syrup added. My focus group is Nordahl Grieg Lodge of Sons of Norway in Hayward California. Will let you know what the Vikings “tink” about your recipe. Will use my smaller 14″ Webber Smokey Mountain Smoker at your temps for the 6 hour smoke.
    BULLETIN: Just got an order from the local county court to smoke some salmon for the annual Thanksgiving Potluck. Will bring out the 22″ Webber Smokey Mountain Smoker for that event and will let you know how the Judiciary, Court Staff and Attorneys like it!
    P.S.: have three clients who are fish mangers here in Bay Area, so all my product is the freshest!
    Thanks, Swedish Chef (not a Muppet) Johnsson.

  200. Rob

    I am an avid angler in Washington state and look forward to trying your recipe…its the scientists like yourself who take the guess work and many (and I mean a lot) many big cheifs full of dry, cream cheese bound samlon… Looks fantastic and I have learned some new things by your readings..thank you for taking the time to share something like this

  201. Sarg

    I’m very new to smoking. My salmon is only an inch thick. I tried smoking some using a rub last week. But I believe the ts the “right” method for great results. I love the idea of adding fresh ginger to the brine. I have been using apple juice for my chicken brine with great results. I may use apple juice in place of water and maple syrup for the brine but baste with the syrup. (The syrup is so expensive, but the luice was on sale for two dollars a gallon last week. My plan is to vac pack it and take it to Thaksgiving with the grandchildren next week. Based on the reviews they will appreciate it.
    Thank you for such helpful information.

  202. Elizabeth

    I see that you have said its fine to smoke salmon that’s been frozen. I’m wondering if I need to defrost it before I start, or just go through the process as is and let it defrost while in the brine, etc.? They are fairly large pieces – 1.5-2lb skin-on Wild sockeye filets. So excited!

  203. ronmitchelladventure

    I used your recipe to smoke three different species of salmon at the same time. My first time ever smoking fish. It worked perfect, delicious smoked fish, especially the sockeye salmon, but the coho and pink were fantastic also. Your recipe is so good, that I have shared it with two different friends, both first time smokers, and they also raved about it. Thank you so much!

  204. David Kuhlers

    Did up a batch of salmon and trout from Lake Michigan last summer. Absolutely delicious. Even my high school Sunday school kids loved it. Had trouble controlling the Temp at first but utilized the latch on my Masterbuilt smoker to give me a quarter inch gap and was able to keep the Temp at 120 easily. Has anyone tried basting the filets with molasses. Just wondering if that would be too strong.

  205. Greg

    I followed your recipe yesterday (fresh salmon) with great results. Today I put the individual pieces in a air-tight sealer bags. Do you have advice on storage (refrigerate? freeze?) and also shipping? Would love to send some to friends and family.

    Thanks for the great recipe and any advice!

  206. Jamie

    I’ve used this recipe about 10 times and it always turns out great.
    Its great on its own or in a pasta. Can’t wait to make it again this weekend!

  207. Jim gill

    Thanks, best salmon I have ever smoked. all due to temperature control. you will be getting a few more subscribers as I pass on your recipe. thanks a bunch!

  208. Jerry

    I’m going to be smokin salmon for the11st time tomorrow. Going to try your recipe. Might be a dumb question but do the fillets just sit in the grill or are they wrapped in aluminium foil

  209. Paul

    The best smoked salmon, slow with Pecan chips, next batch with alder,
    it was gone fast. Next fishing trip I’ll be smoking more and sharing with family and friends. So good!!

  210. Richard Massengill

    Jim, I used your recipe for the first time this week. Even though it was 30 degrees outside I was able to control the temp through the three stages with success. Best hot smoking process I’ve found. I only added one other ingredient to your recipe. I grow my own Thai Basil and at the end of the growing season I take the blooms from the Basil, dry them, grind them and mix with ground black pepper. Made a pleasant addition to the brine and basting. Thanks for sharing.

  211. Dean

    Hank: can I use salmon fillets without skin? Any tips? Spray Bradley grate with oil?

  212. Terry Shaw

    I smoked 2 fillets of salmon (1 1/2″ thick) with the basic brine ( no basting ) using Apple wood. I cooled `it, wrapped it and put it in the fridge for a day. When I tried it, I was disappointed. Even though the internal temperature was 140*F when it came out, it still tasted under cooked. Friends came on the weekend and I asked them for their opinion. They raved about it so I took another piece. Completely different texture and flavour. I suppose I didn’t let it sit and mellow long enough.

    Long story short, excellent. This has gone into my recipe book with 5 stars.

  213. Jeff

    Hey Hank:
    That was a good article. I began smoking Salmon in my Alaska homesteading days and have been going strong for the last 45 years. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a load in the smoker right now. Cohos. You give good advice and the pictures are great. The old ways seem to always be in fashion. Good article.

  214. Karen

    I’ve used this recipe from my first attempt a few years back up until today. It is so perfectly simple and I get excellent results everytime. My biggest problem: Eating it as it comes off the grill. Once I cooked it a little to fast but, the results were the same as the 5 of us ate every bit of it as I pulled it from my smoker/grill! Thanks again for this great recipe!

  215. Jon P

    @ Dean, I’ve smoked with and without skin all in the same batch and they turn out just as good.. I prefer the skin-on method but they’re both good. A little spray wouldn’t hurt.

    @ Hank, Thank you for this amazing recipe. I’ve used it a couple times now and every time I smoke salmon I find myself following this recipe. The wet brine is simple and delicious… I add about 10 chopped cloves of garlic to the mix, other than that it’s the exact ratio for your brine. Basting with the syrup is a must.

    I have about 7lbs resting to form the pellicle as I type this, can’t wait for dinner tonight.

  216. Chapsta

    Mate what a first smoke, l just recently purchased a Hark smoker, l live in Perth Western Australia, l was able to get fresh Huon Tasmanian salmon. Very easy recipe, l based the fillets with maple syrup, and apricot jam every hour, smoke was with Apple wood chips. Awesome

  217. Keith

    Very nice! You should try using New Zealand manuka! It’s great for fish. It’s on Amazon.

  218. Barbara Mills

    I bought a Little Chief smoker years ago whilst on holiday in Canada at my brothers. It must be over 20 years old and we have smoked a lot of stuff in it but this is the best recipe ever!! I use farmed pink salmon that we get here in the UK and it is the best I have tasted so far!! Thanks for the recipe, I have passed it on to loads of people.

  219. t bowen

    how do you keep smoked chinook salmon from being so oily

  220. Bill

    dblee, I have a Masterbuilt and I love it, I’m kind of new to smoking but so far I have smoked pork ribs, tame rabbit, and salmon already, all of the above turned out great.

  221. Lee

    I’ve read through 95% of the comments and no where does anyone ask or mentioned this…….. DO YOU SOAK THE WOOD CHIPS OR USE DRY???

    Have a batch of fresh caught Coho brining in your recipe and intend to fire up my Mastercraft electric smoker tomorrow. Hope to get an answer ASAP……THANKS

  222. Laure

    The first time I smoke salmon I use farm raised and it was wonderful. This time I am using sockeye so I’m a little nervous about the albumin. Didn’t have much with the farm raised and brushed it off with the maple syrup last time. The brushed it with syrup every hour.
    Hoping for great salmon this time

  223. jon

    I have been using this method for 2years now (with variation on the brine)
    Thanks…been successful every time!

  224. BBQ Wingers - Page 14 - Honda Goldwing Forums

    […] for the birch as I have not been able to located a reasonably priced source of the birch syrup.…salmon-recipe/ Attached Thumbnails   Bob 2012 ABS "Red Ghost" IDMWT 65 […]

  225. John

    Hi there,

    Made your recipe, turned out great. Could not get smoke at the temps you suggested 120 and 140 using the alder wood chips. We had to increase temp to over 150 to get any smoke and than turn back down. As a note we have a Masterbuilt sportsman elite 30″ smoker.
    Any suggestions as far as the temps and getting smoke at these temps?

  226. Len

    Thanks for the instructions. It was awesome.

  227. Allison

    Excited to eat the salmon currently on my smoker!
    Quick question: how do I know when it’s done? Is there something I can look for? Should I taste it?

    (Yes, I’m a first timer and appreciate all the help in these comments!)

  228. Andrew

    I am going to follow your recipe, smoked salmon last year, was a little salty for my taste. I also have a Bradley digital, I’m thinking the basting with the syrup will really hit the mark. Mouth is starting to water now.

  229. Dave

    My Bradley won’t cook at 120 so I’m just using the smoke. Seems to be progressing nicely.

  230. John

    Great recipe. Like everyone else I really appreciate you sharing it with us.
    Just a comment regarding people having issues getting smoke at low temps. I have a Masterbuilt smoker and have found that if I put the wood in early, turn the heat to the 120 setting, keep the roof vent open and have a pan of water inside the smoker, I am able to yield an adequate amount of smoke. I know to many this is a no-no but I open the smoker every 40-45 minutes to baste the fish but also to allow a drop in the internal temp so that the thermostat calls for heat again. This gets the chips smoking again. It just takes some practice and patience. It is always better smoking in colder weather too.

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