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Smoked Salmon Recipe: Easy Guide for a Delicious Meal

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Smoked Salmon Recipe

If you’re looking to create the best smoked salmon at home, you’re in the right place. This recipe will guide you through using simple methods like brining, drying, and smoking to achieve a delicious result.

Whether you prefer using a pellet grill, cedar plank, or a traditional wet brine method, you’ll find the tips and tricks you need to make your salmon tender, flaky, and full of flavor. With just a few ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, amazing smoked salmon is within your reach.

Get ready to impress your friends and family at your next gathering with perfectly smoked salmon that tastes like it’s from a professional smokehouse. Let’s dive into the deliciousness!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make smoked salmon, you’ll need some key ingredients. Here they are, along with possible substitutes:


  • Use fresh salmon fillets.
  • Substitute with trout or arctic char for a different flavor.

Dry Rub:

  • Dijon Mustard: Helps the rub stick.

    • Substitute with honey mustard or yellow mustard.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness.

  • Salt: Essential for seasoning.

    • Substitute with sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Black Pepper: Adds some heat.

    • Substitute with white pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.


  • Water: Main liquid.

    • No substitute necessary.
  • Salt: Preserves and flavors the fish.

    • Use sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Sugar: Adds balance to the salty brine.

    • Substitute with brown sugar or honey.
  • Spices: Common ones include garlic powder and onion powder.

    • Substitute with fresh garlic or shallots.

Wood Chips:

  • Alder Wood: Traditional for salmon.
    • Substitute with apple wood or cherry wood for a different smoke flavor.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Lemon Slices: Adds brightness.

    • Substitute with lime slices.
  • Fresh Herbs: Dill, parsley, or thyme can enhance flavor.

    • Substitute with dried herbs, but use less.

Remember, these ingredients work together to make delicious smoked salmon. Don’t hesitate to personalize the recipe with your favorite flavors.



  • Salmon fillets
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Dry rub (your choice)
  • Wood chips (alder, hickory, etc.)

  1. Brine the Salmon
    Mix water, salt, and sugar in a large pot. Submerge the salmon fillets into the brine and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

  2. Dry the Salmon
    After brining, remove the salmon and pat it lightly with paper towels. Let it sit on a wire rack for 4 hours.

  3. Prepare the Smoker
    Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Add your favorite wood chips to the smoker.

  4. Season the Salmon
    Rub the flesh side of the salmon with Dijon mustard. Sprinkle the dry rub evenly over the salmon.

  5. Smoke the Salmon
    Place the salmon skin-side-down on the grill. Smoke for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F at the thickest part.

  6. Baste During Smoking
    Every hour, baste the salmon with syrup or honey.

  7. Finish and Enjoy
    Remove the salmon from the smoker and let it cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your delicious smoked salmon!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Prepare Your Salmon: Before smoking, rub the flesh side with a bit of mustard. This helps the seasoning stick better. Cut the salmon into even portions to ensure they cook uniformly.

Temperature Matters: Preheat your smoker or pellet grill to 225° Fahrenheit. Smoke the salmon for about one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 145° Fahrenheit.

Glaze and Rub: Use a mixture of your favorite spices or a homemade glaze to coat the salmon. Brush it evenly for a delicious, well-seasoned result.

Avoid Overcooking: Keep an eye on the salmon to avoid drying it out. Checking the internal temperature is crucial for a perfect texture.

Storage Instructions:

  • Refrigerator: Store smoked salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. It can last up to one week if kept cold continuously.
  • Room Temperature: Avoid leaving smoked salmon out for more than 2 hours to reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Freezer: You can freeze smoked salmon for up to three months. Make sure it is in a sealed freezer bag or container to maintain freshness.

When in Doubt, Trust Your Senses: If the smoked salmon smells off or looks discolored, it’s best to discard it.

Serving Ideas: Smoked salmon is versatile. Enjoy it on a bagel, in salads, or as a flavorful addition to pasta dishes.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Smoked salmon is a versatile ingredient. You can enjoy it in many delicious ways. Here are some ideas:

Recipe Variations

  • Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowl
    Combine smoked salmon with avocado, cucumbers, edamame, and rice. It’s a quick and easy meal that gives you all the flavors of sushi.

  • Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Puffs
    These puffs make an elegant appetizer. They start with a creamy smoked salmon dip from the 1980s, wrapped in light, flaky puff pastry.

  • Smoked Fish and Avocado Mousse in Endive
    Whip up an avocado mousse and pipe it into endive spears. Top each spear with smoked salmon or trout for a classy hors d’oeuvre.

  • Easy and Tender Smoked Salmon Fillet
    Coat a salmon fillet with a simple rub and toss it on the smoker. It’s a beginner-friendly recipe that yields tender, flavorful fish.

Serving Suggestions

  • Toast and Crostini
    Spread whipped ricotta or cottage cheese on your toast. Top with smoked salmon, sliced red onion, capers, and fresh dill for a tasty snack.

  • Salads
    Add smoked salmon to your favorite salad. It pairs well with leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette.

  • Bagels
    A classic choice is smoked salmon on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, capers, and red onion. Add a slice of tomato for extra freshness.

  • Pasta
    Toss smoked salmon into pasta dishes. It adds a rich, savory flavor that blends well with creamy sauces and fresh herbs.

With these variations and serving suggestions, you’ll find new and exciting ways to enjoy smoked salmon.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.