Chefstemp-Smoke Salmon

How to Smoke Salmon?

Smoked Salmon is a dish enjoyed by people everywhere and smoking salmon at home is a relatively simple, straightforward process that involves good brine, low-temperature cooking and lots of smoke.

Items needed:

  • Smoker that you can control the temperature effectively on.
  • Salmon filets skin-on
  • Brown sugar 2 cups
  • Kosher salt ½ cup
  • Black pepper ¼ cup
  • Garlic powder ¼ cup
  • Water-tight container or foil pans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glaze for the salmon

Prep time:

20 minutes, refrigerator time, 12 hours, cook time 2 hours.

Salmon, like all fish needs to be smoked at low temperatures. For this recipe, we will be setting the smoker temperature at 150 degrees. The finish temperature of the salmon should be between 115 and 125 degrees, and the smoking process is to cure and add flavor, not so much cooking it. So, let us get started and get our salmon prepared for the smoking process.

First you will need to gather your dry brining ingredients and mix your brine. The brine will help remove excess oil and water from the salmon and give you that amazing smoke flavor and texture once it is done.

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There are several other things to do with salmon for smoking, one is that you need to feel the raw filet for any pin bones that may be in the filets that were missed from the fileting process. They can be easily removed with a pair of needle nose pliers or with a pair of fish bone pliers. This is usually a simple process and normally only a few bones if any are found.

Your brine consists of 2 cups of brown sugar, ½ cup kosher salt, ¼ cup each black pepper and garlic powder. Mix the brine in a bowl and then start the brining process. Place this into your foil pan by covering the bottom of the pan with a layer of the brine, placing two filets on top of the brine, covering those filets with the brine, then placing two more filets on top, and covering those with brine, and continue until your pan is full or if you have all your filets in the brine, then cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.

how-to-smoke-salmon-Chefstemp Finaltouch X10
how-to-smoke-salmon-Chefstemp Finaltouch X10-1
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When you take your filets out the next day, you should see quite a bit of liquid in the pan, do not be alarmed, this is supposed to happen. The brine draws out water and oil from the filets which make the meat more able to absorb smoke, and it is partially cured already of the brining process.

Once you remove the filets from the refrigerator, you will need to rinse all the brine off the filets, pat them dry and then let them sit at room temperature for a couple off hours, so that the filets form a gloss on the meat side, at that point, they are ready for the smoker.

ChefsTemp - salmon

Once you have your filets ready, get your smoker ready. You will want it to be at 150 degrees, and you will want to set up your smoker for cold smoking. Cold smoking requires a smoke tube, smoke chamber, or other smoking devices that will allow for the smoke to enter the chamber and smoke the salmon, but cold enough so that the smoking process is curing the salmon and not cooking the salmon.

Once your meat is smoked, you will want to remove it from the smoker and allow it to cool.

Smoking salmon is an art. It must be cold smoked, it must be handled with care, it is easy to tear it up, and you will want it to cool down before you serve it.

The smoking process will produce a very flavorful piece of salmon with a beautiful texture and firmness. Smoking with the skin on the filet helps to protect the meat and keep it moist. You do not want to remove all the moisture, you are curing the meat. During the smoking process, any remaining oils and water will come out on the surface of the fish as a grey film, this will wipe off when you take it out of the smoker. One hour after you place your salmon into the smoker you will want to glaze it with some sort of glaze or sauce. In this recipe, I used mango, pineapple, and habanero sauce I made, and it lends itself well to smoked salmon. The recipe is simple.

  • 1 can pineapple juice
  • 1 can crushed pineapple with the juice
  • 1 jar of mango chile preserves
  • 1 sprinkle of salt and black pepper

In a blender add the pineapple juice, crushed pineapple, mango preserves, salt and black pepper, blend until smooth. Place in a sauce pot and simmer it for 20 minutes, strain it to remove any chunks, return it to the pan and cook it for an additional 30 minutes. Let it cool, and it is ready to use. Glaze the salmon in the smoker one hour after you place it in the smoker, close the smoker and continue smoking for one additional hour.

Once your salmon has been glazed and the additional hour of smoking is completed, your salmon is ready to come out of the smoker. It is not ready to eat yet though, you need to let it rest until it gets to room temperature first.

Make sure to use your meat thermometer and get a temperature reading when you get it out of the smoker. If the meat is at least 115 degrees, you are good to go.

As you can see, the meat has a beautiful smoked edge to it, and once it is cooled down, you can peel the skin right off and the salmon will be ready to make into hors d’oeuvres, canapes, or even a wonderful smoked salmon salad.

Once you have had smoked salmon you made in your own smoker, I am sure you will have it around all the time. It freezes well and lasts a long time, it is healthy and natural.

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