Special equipment: 2 cups hickory, cherrywood or applewood chips 1 cedar grilling plank
Brine the fish: Combine the brown sugar, salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 4 cups water in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the salmon and weigh down with a can or skillet to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Soak the wood chips and cedar plank in water 1 hour, then prepare your grill for smoking.
About 30 minutes before smoking, remove the salmon from the refrigerator; drain and pat dry. Place the salmon, skin-side down, on the cedar plank and season with salt and pepper. Top with the lemon slices and thyme sprigs. Let stand at room temperature to dry out, 30 minutes.
Once the grill reaches 250 degrees F, place the plank with the salmon on the cooler side of the grill. Close the grill and let smoke until golden and just cooked through, about 20 minutes. If using a gas grill, turn off the flame and let the fish sit 10 more minutes (this is not necessary if using charcoal; it imparts more smoky flavor). Remove from the grill and serve hot or at room temperature.
Photograph by Con Poulos
3 More Types of Fish to Try Swordfish: 1 pound, skin-on Shrimp: 1 pound large, peeled and deveined, tails intact; brine only 30 minutes and smoke 20 to 30 minutes Scallops: 1 pound medium, "foot" muscles removed; brine only 30 minutes and smoke 20 to 30 minutes
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine