How To Make Smoked Salmon

Salmon with rosemary

Smoked salmon is considered a delicacy, however, it is surprisingly easy to prepare. Follow this recipe and the following tips and variations to impress your friends! Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids that are very good for you. Preparing smoked salmon is an excellent way to trap all the healthy nutrients while making it very tasty.

How to Make Smoked Salmon


  • 2 large salmon fillets, approximately 10-13 pounds each.
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoon crushed peppercorns
  • maple syrup ( optional)


  1. Mix salt, sugars and peppercorns in a bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and sprinkle a 1/3 of this mixture unto the plastic. Lay the fish skin side down, then sprinkle another 1/3 on the flesh side.
  2. Layer the second fish over the first fish and put the remaining 1/3 of the mixture on top. Fold plastic wrap over the fish and then wrap in aluminum foil tightly.
  3. Place wrapped fish on a sheet pan and cover with a heavy book or a couple bricks.
  4. Refrigerate 10 hours. Flip and refrigerate another 5 hours or so.

Now, Unwrap the fish and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and then place in a cool-dry place until the surface of the fish is dry. A fan can help with this process. It takes approximately 1-3 hours.

Smoke over smoldering hardwood chips at about 150 degrees F in a smoker. Spraying the racks with vegetable oil helps. Check the temperature of the thickest part of the fish, when it reaches 140 degrees, the fish will be slightly opaque.

Serve the smoked salmon immediately or cool to room temperature. It is important to use a good meat thermometer, if you don't have one, purchase before starting to prepare your smoked salmon.

Additional tips

  • Cover the fish with maple syrup before smoking to give the smoked salmon a candied glaze.
  • Use a mixture of lime juice, lime zest, thyme, pepper and olive oil on the salmon before smoking for another variation.
  • Feel free to vary the herbs and spices, using what you have and what you like.
  • Smoked Salmon has a short shelf life and should be wrapped tightly, refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.


The smoker you use makes a lot of difference in the results. Using one with a water tray to collect moisture is ideal for preparing smoked salmon. Electric smokers use hardwood chips like cherry or alder.

To keep the temperature low, close the lower vents and leave the top vents wide open. If your smoker doesn't have vents, prop the lid to the smoker so there is a small gap.


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