Hot smoked salmon is a delicacy that has become increasingly popular in recent years, captivating the taste buds of seafood enthusiasts and food smokers around the world. With its rich and smoky flavor, tender texture, and vibrant pink color, this delectable fish offers a unique culinary experience like no other. Whether enjoyed on its own as an appetizer, incorporated into various holiday dishes or made for an enjoyable mid-week dinner, hot smoked salmon is a true delight that continues to wow both seasoned food connoisseurs and novices alike.
In this article, we will delve into the fascinating journey of hot smoked salmon, exploring its preparation techniques, health benefits, and versatile uses in the kitchen. Get ready to dive into the world of hot smoked salmon and discover why it has become a beloved choice for seafood enthusiasts everywhere.
Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe
When hot smoking salmon, its all about the brine. Salmon is prone to getting dried out so its important we get a good brine on the salmon fillet so we can avoid it getting dried out. Before we dive into the actual brine here is a quick snapshot of dry brining vs wet brining.
Dry Brine vs. Wet Brine
Dry brining involves rubbing salt directly onto the surface of the meat and letting it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for a certain period of time. As the salt draws out moisture from the meat, it then dissolves into a concentrated brine that gets reabsorbed by the meat. This process helps to enhance flavor while retaining juiciness.
Wet brines involve submerging the meat in a liquid solution containing water, salt, sugar, herbs, spices, and sometimes even fruit juices or cider vinegar overnight or longer before cooking. The moisture absorbed during this process enhances tenderness and flavor.
Hot Smoked Salmon Brine
This dry brine is not complex by any means but it is important. Here is a list of what you will need (the measurements are in the recipe card):
- brown sugar
- salt (I used pink Himalayan salt but kosher salt works as well)
- garlic powder
The sugar and garlic powder are for flavor and for the brine. If for some reason you are looking to avoid the sugar, you can. While it will effect the flavor it will not be detrimental to the brine process.
Dry Rub For Hot Smoked Salmon Recipes
For our hot smoked salmon rub, you are going to need the following:
- Brown Sugar
Beyond these ingredients, I used a 2 lb. sockeye salmon fillet and some apple wood. It is just with these simple set of ingredients you can make a mouth watering smoked salmon dish.
We are going to start with the brine on the salmon. I prefer doing a dry brine on the salmon, which makes this really easy to prep. Combine your brown sugar, salt and garlic powder in a bowl and mix together well. Lay your salmon in a tray or baking dish and coat the salmon with the dry brine. Cover the salmon and place in the regfrigator. We are going to brine for about 8 hours but at a minimum of 3-4 hours, if you are short on time.
The great part about salmon is the smoke time is not that long so you can squeeze out more brine time if needed. After you get the brine on there for at least the 3-4 hours you can remove from the regfrigator. Once removed, the next step is important, rinse, rinse, rinse. We are going to want to rinse the brine off or you will have a very salty salmon dish. It is possible, I may have forgotten to rinse it off one time, myself. So speaking from experience, make sure you rinse it off!
Before you start this process of rinsing the salmon and applying the rub, you can get the smoker started. I did this recipe on my Weber Kettle but have also smoked salmon on my WSM and this recipe should translate over to a pellet grill or any other style of smoker.
Our salmon fillet is rinsed, we need to pat it dry with some paper towels. Once dried, we can start to apply the rub. Combine all the dry rub ingredients, mix well in a bowl and you can then top the fillet with the rub. By the time you are done with this, your smoker should be up to temperature. We are looking for a temperature of 225° for this smoke and as I mentioned earlier, apple wood is a perfect compliment for this recipe. You can also try alder wood, as that has shown to pair very well with smoked salmon. I prefer to use wood chunks when smoking but wood chips work as well.
Before placing the salmon on the smoker, I put the fillet on some foil, it will make placing it on the smoker and removing it easier. A style of wire rack is another option as well, a cooling rack is something I use from time to time for certain smokes.
You can place the salmon on the smoker, insert a probe, so we can track the internal temperature. When you smoke salmon will want to keep this on until the internal temperature reaches 145°. Once you have the salmon on the smoker, you will not need to do anything. This is a relatively fast smoke, a 2 lb. salmon will be done in right around an hour. This makes for a perfect mid week meal, you can brine before you leave for work, and come home, get the smoker going and have dinner ready before you know it.
After the salmon has reached 145° IT, you can pull it. I would suggest covering it with some foil and letting it rest for about 15 minutes. Once that is done you will be ready to serve your hot smoked salmon.
If you need a great probe for smokes like this, try the ThermoPro TP20. It is a great unit and budget friendly.
Wrapping Up Hot Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon is a delectable and versatile seafood option that offers a unique flavor profile and a myriad of culinary possibilities. Whether enjoyed on its own, flaked into salads or pasta dishes, or used as a flavorful ingredient in dips and spreads, the rich smokiness and tender texture of hot smoked salmon are sure to delight the taste buds of seafood lovers. With its numerous health benefits and easy accessibility, this delicious delicacy is an excellent choice for those seeking a nutritious and satisfying meal. So next time you’re in search of an indulgent yet wholesome dish, consider adding hot smoked salmon to your menu for an unforgettable dining experience.
Thanks for being here and checking out this Hot Smoked Salmon recipe. I hope you enjoy it! We always appreciate comments, 5 star recipe rating and social media shares. As always, keep that smoke rolling!
Looking for some other seafood related ideas for the smoker or grill? Here are a few suggestions:
- Grilled Honey BBQ Salmon
- Caesar Salad With Grilled Shrimp
- Shrimp and Scallops On The Grill
- Grilled Blackened Fish Sandwich
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- 2 lbs. of sockeye salmon (you can use whatever salmon is available to you)
- Himalyian Salt
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
Smoked Salmon Rub
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- Prep salmon with the brine, cover and refrigerate.
- Allow the salmon to sit in brine for no less than 3 hours and as many as 8 hours
- Towards the tail end of your brine, start the smoker, set for a temperature of 225°, using apple wood
- After brining, rinse the brine and pat dry with a paper towel
- Mix the dry rub ingredients and then coat the salmon fillet
- When the smoker is ready, place the salmon on the smoker. I suggest placing the salmon on foil or a wire rack to make transport and movement easier.
- Using a probe, track the salmon to an IT of 145°, at which point you can remove. While the salmon is on the smoker, you do not need to to do anything.
- After removing from the smoker, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
- After the rest, you are ready to serve. Garnish with some lemon juice, parsley or something else that you may prefer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g