View Full Version : Preparing Salmon for Hot Smoking

05-27-2009, 09:04 PM
I am new to smoking salmon (although I have grilled salmon a number of times). I have only smoked one large fillet (still some of the best salmon I have had). I would like to hear how you prepare the salmon for smoking. Brine, seasoning rub, ect.....


05-27-2009, 09:12 PM
Cardogs Salmon... Simply the best!
Here is a link from the last time I did up a salmon fillet. I indirect grilled this one, but the recipe works for hot smoked, grilled or even baked...


"Official Cardogs BBQ Salmon"
Dry Rub
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup non-iodized table salt
3 TBSP granulated garlic powder
3 TBSP granulated onion
1 TBSP dried dill weed
1 TBSP dried savory
2 tsp dried tarragon
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Turbinado sugar may be substituted for brown sugar. To substitute garlic salt and onion salt, reduce table salt to 1/2 cup and double garlic salt and onion salt to 6 TBSP.
Finishing Rub
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 TBSP granulated garlic powder
1 TBSP granulated onion
1 tsp dried savory
1 tsp dried tarragon
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Turbinado sugar may be substituted for brown sugar.
Buy a fresh, 3-pound salmon fillet, preferably Sockeye or King. Remove the pin bones using tweezers or needle nose pliers. Do not remove the skin. Place skin-side down in a glass or stainless steel pan.
Pack the dry rub on the flesh side of the fillet, approximately 1/4" thick. Let the fillet rest in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours (the longer you leave the rub on, the stronger the salt flavor). Rinse the fillet in cool, clean water to remove the dry rub, then pat dry. Allow to dry for about 30 minutes, until the flesh becomes tacky.
Heat a barbecue grill to medium to medium-high. Sprinkle finishing rub on the fillet (twice what you would use as if you were heavy salt and peppering). Cook with the lid closed to an internal temp of 140-155*F (your preference) measured in the center of the thickest part of the fillet.
We recommend using wood to produce smoke while cooking. On a charcoal grill, just sprinkle a few wood chips on the coals. On a gas grill, place wood chips in a pouch made of aluminum foil. Poke holes in the top of the pouch and place it on the hottest spot under the grill. Alder is our wood of choice, but fruitwoods are a wonderful substitute.
You can also smoke it at lower temps of 225-250*F; this allows for more smoke on the fillets.

05-27-2009, 11:51 PM
I agree it's great. :msn-wink:
You can hot smoke or lower temps if you want to put more smoke on it.

05-28-2009, 07:01 AM
I like to use a simple brine if I have time. I really don't notice much difference with or without a brine.

1/2 C Kosher Salt
1 Gallon COLD Water
1/4 C Tony C's Creole Seasoning
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 C Red Pepper Flakes
4-5 Sprigs of Rosemary
1- 8 oz. Jar Molasses
Brine for 8-12 hours
Brush with EVOO use your favorite fish rub.
(I use Prudhommes Seafood Magic)
top with fresh dill
Smoke @ 200-225 for 3-4 hours or until the white oil bubbles up out of the fish and the fish starts to darken up.

I also like to use Dutch's Maple Glaze on my Salmon too...
Not sure if it's posted here already.

Maple Glaze for Salmon

1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Fresh ground pepper to taste

In a small heavy saucepan simmer maple syrup, gingerroot, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, lemon zest and pepper to taste until reduced to about 1 cup, about 30 minutes, and let cool. (Maple glaze may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring maple glaze to room temperature before proceeding.)

In another small saucepan heat half of glaze over low heat until heated through to use as a sauce. Stir in remaining tablespoon lemon juice. Remove pan from heat and keep sauce warm, covered.

NOTE: If you simmer the glaze for the full 30 minutes it will be more of a basting sauce. To use as a mop, divide the glaze into two equal portions after simmering for 5 - 10 minutes (long enough for the flavors to meld together). Simmer the second portion for the remaining 20 minutes and then add the last teaspoon of lemon juice. Serve as a side sauce.

The original recipe listed "Salt to taste". Since this recipe also contains soy sauce I omitted the salt altogether and replace the soy sauce with a "Low Sodium" Soy sauce.

If you choose to "spray" your mop, strain the sauce through some cheese cloth or pour though a fine mesh strainer to remove the garlic, ginger root and lemon zest.
Keep us posted!

05-28-2009, 09:19 AM
As Joneser stated above I also do not notice a diff brined vs. not.

I rinse them breifly under water, dab them with Paper towel. Season with what you like, salt pepper, dill, etc. Then we cake them with brown sugar before setting in the smoker. Lite on the smoke and we use alder. Take off when fish flakes.

05-28-2009, 08:48 PM
Thanks Guys ..................

I will be trying these suggestions and I will let you know. Do you let the salmon set prior to smoking? Pellicle formation?

05-28-2009, 10:56 PM
Thanks Guys ..................

I will be trying these suggestions and I will let you know. Do you let the salmon set prior to smoking? Pellicle formation?

Yes, I let it sit out to dry and to let the pellicle form.