★★★★★ 1 Review
grandedame avatar
By sallye bates
from Austin, TX

Smoked salmon is one of the most favored treats in our family. My son-in-law is the master smoker and griller around here. This is written for use in an electric smoker, but I think the same principles would apply to a gas smoker. I hope I haven't made any mistakes in tranferring his recipe to this site. Even if I left something out, any smoked salmon is good, right?

serves A bunch
prep time 15 Min
cook time 8 Hr
method Grill


  • 1 c
    coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 c
    dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c
    soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp
    garlic powder
  • 2 c
  • 5 TO 6 lb
    good quality salmon fillets
  • 3
    celery ribs, cut into 6" lengths
  • 4
    whole baby carrots
  • 1 Tbsp
    5 spice mix
  • 1 lg
    onion peeled & quartered
  • 2
    bay leaves

How To Make

  • 1
    PREPARE BRINE SOLUTION: Place brine ingredients (items 1 through 5) in glass or plastic container that has cover and mix well NOTE: DO NOT USE METAL CONTAINER AS IT WILL INTERACT WITH BRINE SOLUTION
  • 2
    Remove any bones from salmon Cut filets into 6" pieces and add to brine mixture. Add more water if needed so fish is completely covered. Cover dish and place in fridge for at least 24 hours but not more than 48 hours.
  • 3
    Remove fish from fridge, place fish in colander and rinse under cold water. Let set until drained. Place fish on cooling rack until a salty whitish coating covers the fish (this is called a pellicle) This will take 1 to 2 hours, but it's worth the wait as it seals the flavor into the salmon.
  • 4
    PREPARE TO SMOKE: Place pre-soaked hickory or mesquite wood chips into smoker. Prepare veggies, spices and bay leaves (items 7 through 11) and place them in stainless steel bowl on bottom tray of smoker ior in smoker's water tray and cover with water. Heat smoker temperature to 125º to 135º.
  • 5
    Place salmon fillets skin side up directly onto grill rack. Smoke at this temperature for 6 to 8 hours until thermometer inserted into thickest part of fillet registers 140º. Begin checking the fish temperature every 30 minutes after 5-1/2 hours as you don't want to overcook the salmon. It will dry out and lose its wonderful taste.
  • 6
    NOTE: DO NOT TAKE FISH OFF RACK JUST YET Remove rack with fish intact and set over a baking sheet or cooling rack for approximately 1 hour until fish is cool After fish is cool, you should be able to remove the fish without it flaking apart onto a serving dish. Or if you don't intend to serve at once, place in a heavy zip lock bag and store in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep for at least a week in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • 7
    You now have a wonderful smoked salmon to serve with pride.