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Try this delicious and super easy recipe for smoked salmon. This is a hot smoked salmon method that can be used in any electric smoker like Traeger or Masterbuilt.
MyWW green plan 8 points, blue plan 2 points, purple 2 points. Points are per serving, see recipe notes for more information
Summer is probably the best time for outdoor grilling. Smoking season just started but dont worry if it still cold outside, you can successfully use your smoker any time of the year.[feast_advanced_jump_to]
Easy brine method
What is brining? Its the process of placing a cut of meat or fish into the water salt solution, usually overnight. It helps the piece to get juicier and more flavorful.
When you are getting salmon ready for smoking, use salt and brown sugar together in the brine. Add water and let it sit in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. I never smoked salmon without the brine so i don’t know how it will taste. Once done, pat dry fish with paper towels.
I need to get your attention that this is a HOT SMOKED SALMON recipe, not cold smoked. The difference is that when you use a cold smoke method, the fish is not getting really cooked. Its used for lox bagels, in sandwiches and has a completely different texture.
I love to eat this fish as is! Its also great in a sandwich, in salad, in pasta… Its delicious hot or cold.
What type of salmon to use
Always use wild caught if it available in your local store or you can go fishing yourself! If its not in season, you can use a frozen fillet. Today i used a farmed raised Atlantic salmon, which is not the best but that is all i could find in my closest supermarket.
My favorite wood chips
My absolutely favorite is hickory or applewood chips. The smoke flavor doesn’t overwhelm the salmon flavor and just has an incredible aroma. I tried it with Oak wood chips and it also was delicious.
How to store smoked fish
After the smoking process is all done, let the fish cool a little and than slice or flake it. You will probably have some leftovers. Use a plastic or glass container with air tight lid to store it in the fridge for up to 10 days. You can use a zip lock bag to store salmon as well.
Don’t be afraid of freezing your hot smoked salmon! Just place it in the freezer for up to 6 months in the same container mentioned above. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
If you worry about the fish size, don’t! You don’t change the temperature or cooking time depending on the size of your fillet. Salmon has about the same thickness everywhere so it will get cooked evenly even if you will use 4 pounds instead of 2lb.
Traeger and Masterbuilt electric smokers
I love the confidence electric smokers give you. They are affordable and very easy to use even for a beginner. You absolutely can make any smoker recipe even if you never had experience with it.
Masterbuilt is a bit cheaper and more affordable. Works great though! I have a bunch of recipes i made in that smoker:
At the same time i adore Traeger smoker. It sits higher on the ground and its more comfortable to work with it. Its more expensive but let you have a better control of the temperature and the amount of smoke that coming form it.
Traeger smoked salmon
- 1 gallon water
- 1 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 lb salmon fillet*
- Create a brine by mixing salt, sugar and water in a large container. Place salmon in and make sure its covered completely in liquid. Cover with plactic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hour, better overnight.
- Drain the brine and rinse salmon under the running water. PAT DRY. Now its ready to be smoked!
- Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Load with your favorite wood chips and place salmon inside on the racks, skin side down*
- Close the smoker and let it cook for 2-3 hours. Add more chips as needed. Check the internal temperature to make sure its 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once done, pull the fish carefully from the smoker and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. Now you can flake it and enjoy!
Tools used in this recipe
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators.
Tuesday 24th of May 2022
Do you smoke this skin on or off? Picture looks like skin on.
Wednesday 18th of May 2022
This can be smoked skin side down on a woven copper sheet for less mess.
Sunday 25th of July 2021
Agree with other reviewers. WAY too salty. Will try again with less salt and shorter brining time.
Monday 31st of May 2021
Was looking for an easy recipe for my 1st time smoking salmon... this turned out WAY too salty...ruined my huge piece of salmon. I suggest 1/2 or even 1/3 cup salt to gallon water. Otherwise, it was Smokey sweet. Just too salty.
Monday 23rd of August 2021
@dale, you didn’t rinse it well enough. You need the salt for the curing process
Sunday 15th of November 2020
Can sugar be not used?
Wednesday 3rd of February 2021
@tanua, you can what you want use to be fine