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This easy, melt-in-your mouth smoked salmon recipe will have you excited for your next smoked salmon night before you’ve even finished your plate. 

If you’ve told yourself that you just don’t like fish for years, like my kids did, you have to try this delectable smoked salmon recipe.

Smoked Salmon served on cutting board topped with lemon wedges
Melt-in-your mouth smoked salmon cooked to perfection

Looking for a healthy meal plan option? This recipe checks that box, too.

Smoked salmon can be served five minutes after it’s been pulled from the smoker, or it can be refrigerated and eaten within 3-4 days. 

If you are looking for other great seafood recipes, check out my classic and southern favorite shrimp boil.

How to Make Smoked Salmon: Tips and Tricks

Making smoked salmon is all about balance. You need: 

  • High quality salmon
  • A good brine
  • The right wood chips
  • And the perfect amount of time in the smoker — overcooked salmon is dry and lacks flavor 

What type of Salmon should you use for smoking?

The best type of salmon to use for smoking is wild salmon. If possible, fresh, whole filets of wild salmon are the best for making smoked salmon. Whole filets stay moist and are less likely to fall apart or become overcooked. 

Preparing wild salmon with salt and brown sugar for the smoker, served on white board and napkin
Fresh salmon (never frozen) is always best!

Look for salmon with the skin on this helps keep the filet from falling apart while in the smoker. 

Wild salmon does have a bit of a strong flavor, if you’re looking for a more mild flavor, atlantic salmon works well for this recipe, too. 

If fresh salmon is unavailable, properly thawed frozen salmon filets will work, too. Be sure to research how to properly thaw before attempting to smoke them. 

Remember to remove any pin bones from the filets before smoking them. 

Smoked Salmon Seasons

One of the easiest seasonings you will ever make is the one I use for my smoked salmon. All you need is: 

  • Kosher salt and
  • Brown sugar
Kosher salt sprinkled on top of wild salmon

That’s it. The mix gives the salmon a subtle sweet and savory taste. Let the seasonings sit on the salmon for 2-8 hours before smoking. 

Brown sugar sprinkled on top of wild salmon

How Long To Smoke Salmon

Smoke the salmon (skin side down on a sheet of foil) in your smoker at 225°F until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.  Depending on the size of your filet, it likely won’t take long at all.

Smoked salmon on a Weber Smoker
Smoking salmon on my favorite Weber smoker

Check the temperature of your salmon after 30 minutes with an instant read thermometer. 

Remember, overcooked salmon becomes dry and chalky, which is likely the reason many people think they don’t like it. 

Fork cutting into flavorful and tender smoked salmon
Smoked salmon was tender to the last bite

Best Wood for Smoking Salmon

The best wood for smoking fish is generally maple, alder, and pecan. Salmon, in particular, benefits from the flavor of maple or applewood hardwood smoke.

  • Maple – Mild, somewhat sweet flavor
  • Alder – Sweet, musky flavor
  • Pecan – Similar to hickory but not as strong
  • Applewood – Mild and sweet
  • Cherry – Slightly sweet fruity smoke
Smoked salmon served with butter and lemon wedges, served on brown serving platter
This smoked salmon was cooked perfectly and full of flavor!
smoked salmon served with lemons on top

Flavorful Smoked Salmon Recipe

This easy, melt-in-your mouth smoked salmon will have you excited for your next smoked salmon night before you’ve even finished your plate. Looking for a healthy meal plan option? This recipe checks that box, too.
4.29 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Salmon Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chill Time in Refrigerator after seasoning: 2 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Mark Rogers

Equipment

  • Weber Smoker

Ingredients

  • Salmon filet 2-4 pounds
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt

Instructions

  • Remove any pin bones in the filet.
  • Mix together in a medium bowl the brown sugar and salt.
  • Place a wire baking rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Place the filet skin side down on the wire rack. Coat filet surface with the brown sugar/salt mixture.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours uncovered, can be left for up to 8 hours.
  • Heat your smoker to 225F degrees. Place the salmon skin-side down on a sheet of foil and transfer to the smoker.
  • The salmon is finished smoking when then internal temperature reaches 140F degrees. Begin checking for doneness after 30 minutes using an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove from the smoker and rest for 5 minutes before serving, or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

Wood: Applewood (optional)

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 4746mg | Potassium: 303mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

All you pitmaster dads need to check out my other smoked recipes:

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