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How to Smoke Salmon

Learn how to smoke salmon like the pros at PS Seasoning. Although there are several delicious smoked salmon recipes out there that use a dry rub, we’ll show you how to create a basic smoked salmon brine to deeply infuse the flavor. Follow along for a tasty meal full of calcium, iron, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

How Long Do You Smoke Salmon?

How long it takes to smoke salmon varies depending on the meat type and size. Generally, big-and-thick cuts of meat need to smoke slowly and at a low temperature. This is so they cook all the way through safely and without getting burned. Our recipe calls for a cooking time of three to six hours. Throughout this time, you should be aiming to get to an internal temperature of 140℉. You can check this with a meat thermometer.

Smoking on a Grill vs. Smoker

You’ll notice two large differences in how smoking is done on a grill vs. a smoker. The grill uses high heat and a shorter cooking time. Meanwhile, a smoker uses low heat and a much longer cooking time. Just as you can grill meats directly or indirectly, you can also smoke them using a cold or hot technique.

Smoked salmon Brine

Cold smoking is held at 68℉-86℉ for 12-24 hours to add flavor. This is popular for steak and pork chops. Even smoked salmon can be done at this range. Hot smoking tenderizes and cooks the meat fully so that no curing is needed. You can do it at 126℉ and upward toward the range our smoked salmon recipe uses. This technique is great for brisket, chicken wings, and ham too.


You can use the high-quality PS Seasoning Pro Smoker for either method. Expect it to outlast even the sturdiest Traeger grills.

How to Cure Salmon

Smoked Salmon Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Wait Time: 18 Hours
  • Cook Time: 3-6 Hours
  • Serves: 6-8 People

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Trim and debone the salmon.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the brine mix and water until dissolved.
  3. Place the fish in a large brine bag and carefully pour in the brine.
  4. Seal the bag and place in the fridge to brine for 18-24 hours.
  5. Remove the salmon from the brine and rinse well under cold water.
  6. Pat dry with paper towel and place on a rack-lined tray. Place back in the fridge for at least 2 hours to dry out before smoking.
  7. Preheat smoker to 120℉.
  8. Season the fish with Apple Pie rub.
  9. Place salmon in the smoker directly on a rack. Add fuel for smoke and cook for 2 hours.
  10. Increase temperature of the smokehouse to 140℉ and cook for 1 hour.
  11. Finally, increase the temperature of the smokehouse to 170℉.
  12. Lightly baste the fish with maple syrup every hour and cook until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 140℉.
  13. Remove the fish from the smoker and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool completely down to 40℉.
  14. Serve with cream cheese, crackers, and thinly sliced onions.

Loved learning about how long to smoke salmon? Explore more unbelievable PS Seasoning recipes here.
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