Smoked Salmon

Total Time:
29 hr 30 min
24 hr 30 min
5 hr

20 to 30 portions, depending o

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 large salmon fillets or sides, pin bones removed

In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar, brown sugar and peppercorns. Spread extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the fish and top with an equally long layer of plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the plastic. Lay 1 side of the fish skin down onto the rub. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place second side of salmon, flesh down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Fold plastic over to cover then close edges of foil together and crimp tightly around the fish.

Place wrapped fish onto a plank or sheet pan and top with another plank or pan. Weigh with a heavy phone book or a brick or two and refrigerate for 12 hours. Flip the fish over and refrigerate another 12 hours. Some juice will leak out during the process so make sure there's a place for the runoff to gather.

Unwrap fish and rinse off the cure with cold water. Pat salmon with paper towels then place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the fish is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.

Smoke fish (see Note) over smoldering hardwood chips or sawdust, keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 150 degrees F and 160 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Cook's Note: Trout, mackerel, and bluefish also smoke well.

Per Serving (about 1.6 ounces per serving): Calories 86; Total Fat 5 grams; Saturated Fat 1 gram; Protein 8 grams; Total Carbohydrate 1 gram; Sugar: 1 gram; Fiber 0 grams; Cholesterol 22 milligrams; Sodium 484 milligrams

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Pairs Well With
Sauvignon Blanc

Acidic, refreshing white wine

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4.4 83
I grew up eating smoked salmon in Washington State and got a smoker with the intention of smoking a lot of salmon. Couldn't find alder where I live in Utah so we bought pecan chunks to go with the sockeye salmon we picked up at Whole Foods. Brined it for 14 hours, dried for 4 hours, and smoked it for 3 hours (the fish was a little thin). It was amazing! We also smoked some bagged frozen wild caught pink salmon to compare the sockeye to and it was really good as well...we did not brine the pink salmon. This recipe's a keeper, thanks Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have used this recipe at least 4 or 5 times and it works like a champ. I however smoke my salmon on my XL Big Green Egg. In addition to the wood coal I burn I also add some wet wood chips. It is easy to set your temp on the Egg to 160. The first time I cured my salmon for 24 hours and it was a bit salty. Every other time I cured it for 18 hours, and that suits my taste better. Don't skimp on the drying time after the rinse as Alton says in the video. I'm sure other smokers work well too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hugh hit at Christmas party. Served with bagels and cream cheese to picky fish people. They loved it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was delicious. I just did it as a thanksgiving appetizer, were putting it out with crackers and some cream cheese. Just came out looking perfect. Tastes great, the only slight issue was it was a bit salty, but once on the cracker it was fine. Next time I'll use a tad less rub and rinse it a bit better, but besides that it was perfect. Alton Brown has never let me down. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have done this recipe a few times. An important point is not to use table salt. The last time I ran a little short on Kosher salt so added a 1/4 cup of table salt... wow it was salty. Thanks Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was great, my family lived in Washington as a kid so we had ample smoked salmon growing up. I cut the salt in half right off the bat from one to a half of a cup. Dut to timing i was only able to board press the salmon for 16 hours. pressing the salmon with the rub draws moisture out of the fish which the end result keep better and taste better. I also kept my temp between 140-160. The entire process took 6.5 hours. I soaked my chips and switched them out event half an hour. The end result was rich fully flavored smoked salmon I will use this again next season. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've lived in Alaska my entire life and have smoked hundreds of salmon. This is the coolest recipe/method I have tried yet. It produces a firm, moist and beautiful smoked filet. As noted in other reviews it is salty, but I use it in spreads, and pastas and on top of salads and I don't mind the saltiness. One smoking tip. As Alton notes in the video, you have to replace your wood dust and or chips frequently. One old trick is to use wet wood chips. Soak half of your woodchips for a few hours beforehand. Drain excess water. Fill half of your smoking tray with dry chips, the other side with wet chips. Your wet chips will burn slower and you'll have to fill your tray half as many times. You will also get a steadier and more consistent level of smoke. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love smoked salmon and this was my first attempt at making it after recently buying a smoker. The best thing I can say about this recipe is that I got the salmon on sale. The end result was smoked salmon that was so salty that we ended up throwing most of it away. I doubt that I will ever use this recipe again, but if I did, I would cut the amount of salt to 1/4 cup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've never made smoked salmon before but this is my new favorite recipe for gatherings! I used only one large side (no skin, no weights. I cured it for 24 hrs and dried it for 3 and smoked it on the rack for 3 hr . It came out excellent but slightly salty. I'm going to make another one for New Years, I'll cut back on the salt slightly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The salmon was good, but too salty. I only smoked one fillet (cut in half and stacked per recipe, so I made 1/2 recipe of salt mix, and used about 2/3, but still very salty vs. other smoked salmon I have had.I am thinking that I did something wrong. This was my first attempt at smoked salmon. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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