In a small bowl, mix all of the brine ingredients together with a whisk, until the salt and sugar have dissolved completely. Hi Debbie & David. This next step is completely effortless BUT one of the most important steps to smoking good salmon. Smoke the salmon for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. At this point the fillet should be around 120 degrees F. Close the lid and continue to smoke for the remaining time checking the fish every 30 minutes. Our smoked bacon cheese ball might be a pairing to consider. As the meat cooks, the albumin squeezes out onto the surface of the meat. Throw a chunk of the cherry wood onto the coals. The salmon is brined, seasoned, air dried, and smoked. Precision comes with knowing your charcoal grill and with experience of course. You can add spices, herbs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic - just about anything you want to the brine to give the salmon added flavor. If you prepare fish often, a pair of fishbone tweezers may be worth buying. You'll be amazed at how the natural wood smoke from your Traeger makes salmon so deep and flavorful — and you'll be ready to try an even bigger project next time. Our simple smoked salmon recipe takes all the guesswork out of cooking to ensure you get perfect smoked salmon every time with minimal effort. Add more coals and wood as needed. (and bacteria from growing). Don’t forget to mention. If you’re equipped with a Traeger, smoking salmon is even simpler. This is a good starting point. Albumin is a liquid protein in raw fish. Don’t be afraid to play around with flavors and test the waters! The temperature will gradually rise as the smoke flows over the salmon. If you cut the fillets into one or two inch wide pieces, they will brine quicker, smoke quicker, and take in more smoke flavor due to the increased surface area. Having a hinged grate makes it easy to tend the fire and add wood. If it doesn't, add more salt until it does. Try our recipe for wood-fired smoked salmon flatbread or salmon tacos. together. For details please review the terms of the, START TRAEGERING WITH 0%* APR FINANCING - SHOP NOW, Due to Covid-19 Shipping May be Delayed - Learn More, Cans, tubs, or jugs to weigh down the salmon. Learn how your comment data is processed. It just takes a little time to ensure you get the perfect piece of smoked salmon. Creamy Polenta With Mushrooms{A Meatless Monday Recipe, Smoked Baby Back Ribs On A Charcoal Grill, Easy Baked Mahi Mahi {Easy Enough For A Rough Commute. Puncture the skin in the thicker areas to allow the brine to get in. In terms of smoked salmon calories, the USDA estimates you’re looking at 117 calories per 100-gram serving. After curing in the fridge, it’s time to let your salmon dry out overnight. Curing salmon in a brine solution not only preserves it, but it also helps to eliminate some of the moisture in the fillet. The pellicle is a dried coating made up of dissolved proteins that are created during the brining process. The most common method of oven smoking salmon is to line a baking tray with foil, place your salmon onto a wire rack over the tray, and cover with foil. It’s pretty nasty looking, but this weird slimy white substance on the surface of the salmon is perfectly normal. Hickory, oak, and pecan are also good options for smoking salmon, but we have not used them. The ingredients and preparation steps above are for smoking salmon on a pellet grill. Place the grate on the grill. Remove the salmon from the brine and carefully rinse with cool running water. Along with forming the pellicle, monitoring the temperature of the grill will help minimize the collection of albumin. Required fields are marked *. Start at the tail of the salmon running your fingers down the center of the fillet and work your way up towards the head of the fillet making sure all of the pin bones have been removed. A lot of the curing and smoking process is about preservation. Leave the skin on…it helps hold the fish Light the charcoal chimney with about a dozen briquettes inside. The salmon is smoked using a hot smoking process, but before firing up the grill or smoker, it’s important to know that when smoking salmon or fish of any kind, it is important to maintain a low constant temperature. David uses a clean pair of needle nose pillars to remove any pin bones. When hot smoking, I usually leave the sides whole, or halve them, giving me a tail end and a head end. When the salmon has cooled, the honey forms a candy-like coating on the salmon that is to die for! We typically dry our fillets in the refrigerator overnight for about 12 hours. If you'd like a smokier flavor, cook it at a lower temperature for a longer time. We’ve rounded up this guide covering everything you need to know about how to smoke salmon -- from smoked salmon rub and the best wood for smoking salmon to salmon cooking times, internal cooking temperatures, nutritional information, and more. Monthly Newsletters Only! When most people talk about curing, they’re talking about a dry cure. You also have the option of using a wet cure which is the exact same thing as brine. When it comes to salmon fillets, your fishmonger or grocer has probably done all the work for you, so there isn’t much prep to get the fish ready for the brine. It’s the sort of stuff you normally find at the grocery store sliced paper-thin in vacuum-sealed packages. With wood pellets, you’re getting a slow, reliable burn that produces show-stopping results every single time. Alder offers a pure, clean flavor that perfectly complements the delicateness of flaky salmon. Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life. The salmon is smoked using a hot smoking process, but before firing up the grill or smoker, it’s important to know that when smoking salmon or fish of any kind, it is important to maintain a low constant temperature. But curing isn’t just about preservation and appearance. As mentioned above, the salt denatures proteins and removes excess moisture while simultaneously enhancing the fish’s ability to stay moist while cooking. You can also brush it off when tending to the coals. A little bit is normal, but If you get a lot the salmon is not ruined. When the fish is exposed to heat, the albumin coagulates and starts to solidify. Leave the salmon uncovered and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Put the salmon on a rack, skin side down, and apply some spice or herb if you like...something to add flavor and visual appeal. After your salmon is cured and dried, it’s time to hot smoke that fish. You’ll want to leave your fillet in the fridge for this amount of time no matter how thick it is, and you should try to weigh down the fish. We fell in love with fresh salmon years ago when we first had bagels and lox. Next, place your salmon directly on the grill grate (skin side down) and smoke for 3-4 hours or until your internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s brilliant hot and fresh off your Traeger, but you can get creative with your leftovers. Sockeye salmon fillets are usually pretty thin, so it has been our experience that the fillet needs 8 to 12 hours of curing time. We hope this how-to guide helps you create amazing smoked salmon in your back yard, but hurry, salmon season doesn’t last forever. Just make sure to seal your leftovers tightly to lock in the moisture and aromas. This should give you about an 80% concentration…an egg or a potato should float in it. Tell us what you think! Your ancestor’s ancestors came up with the idea to cure (or brine) fatty fish like salmon before refrigerators existed as a way to keep it from going bad. Place it inside the refrigerator to cure. If you have a WiFIRE-enabled grill, you can also set to Super Smoke which is a lower temperature that will allow your fillet to soak up even more smoky flavors. Alternatively, you can use a perforated grilling tray that allows 360-degree smoke and heat penetration. You can figure on one hour per inch of thickness, starting when the smoker temperature reaches 180˚ F. Smoke the salmon until it reaches 160 degrees, or until it flakes. Place the crackers, cream cheese, and smoked salmon on a cutting board, and let your family or guests build the bites the way they like them. The temperature of the fillet got hot too quickly. To start, prep the salmon. It’s also good to use if you smoke a salmon fillet without the skin. The step-by-step guide below will show you how each comes into play. At this point, there is no need to add any more wood to the coals. However, it is important to run your fingers down the center of the fillet to make sure that all of the pin bones have been removed. One gallon of brine is enough for four pounds of salmon. Get you fillet on that smoker soon! Alternatively, you can use a perforated grilling tray that allows 360-degree smoke and heat penetration. You can do just about whatever you want with smoked salmon. By removing extra moisture from your fish, you’ll also be setting your salmon up for the perfect smoke. The video below walks you through the process. For this smoke, David uses his Weber Performer which makes the temperature control a little harder to maintain. One option is to cold smoke. Any of these types of salmon will work. Cold smoked salmon doesn’t keep as long and isn’t quite as versatile, so for now we’re just going to help you focus on hot smoked salmon. Set the rack holding the salmon in a cool, safe place. See other recipe ideas for your smoked salmon down below. Put the salmon into the brine and leave it in for one hour per inch of thickness. It also takes a little bit longer -- which is why it makes sense to start with a basic dry cure when learning how to prepare smoked salmon. Hey! Most of the time comes from curing and drying the salmon fillet to prepare it for the smoke. After curing, hot smoked salmon cooks at temperatures of 180 degrees Fahrenheit or above which ensures you reach the FDA’s recommended internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.