Smoking Salmon in a Smoker

smoking salmon in a smoker

Before smoking salmon, it needs to be rinsed to remove the seasoning mixture and then patted dry. This helps it develop a pellicle that holds in moisture during the smoke process.

It is also a good idea to look for any pin bones in the fillet and pull them out using a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Smoker Temperature

Smoker temperature is one of the most important factors when smoking salmon. You want the smoker to be at a temperature that will give you a crisp skin while keeping the fish moist.

It is best to use a smoker with a built-in thermometer. This way you can monitor the temperature of the salmon without having to open and close the lid as often.

When you’re ready to smoke the salmon, remove it from the brine and rinse well. Pat it dry with paper towels and rub it with the seasonings. Then place it in a refrigerator to form a “pellicle”.

The pellicle helps seal the salmon and prevents moisture loss during the smoking process. It also helps the seasonings to adhere to the salmon. After the pellicle forms, the salmon can be placed on the smoker and smoked until it reaches your desired internal temperature. This can take anywhere from 2-24 hours, depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Smoking on Cedar Plank

The type of salmon you use will have a significant impact on the recipe and overall flavor. We recommend using wild-caught salmon if possible and avoiding farm-raised salmon.

Salmon that has been brined will better absorb the smoke and have a more favorable texture. Brining is also a good way to help preserve the fish and keep it moist throughout the smoking process. A simple mixture of salt, brown sugar and honey works well.

Before smoking the salmon, soak the cedar plank in water for about an hour. This will help prevent the plank from burning on the grill or smoker and it will also make it easier to place the salmon onto the plank without any sticking issues. You should also pre-heat your grill or smoker to the desired temperature. This is important because it allows you to establish a direct heat zone and an indirect zone where the plank won’t be in direct contact with the hot heat.


A brine is a salty mixture that is used to preserve fish before smoking. Brining salmon helps to keep it moist and tender while also intensifying its flavor. There are several different types of brines, including dry brines and wet brines. This recipe uses a simple two-ingredient dry brine that is very easy to prepare.

Dry-brined salmon is rubbed with a mixture of dill, black pepper, and mustard powder before being placed in the smoker to create a pellicle. This pellicle helps the smoke to adhere to the salmon, which will ensure that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout the fish.

Once the salmon is brined, it should be patted down to remove excess moisture and then allowed to sit in a refrigerator for 24 hours. This gives the salmon time to form a pellicle and seal in moisture while also making it easier for the smoker to heat up to the desired temperature. This brined salmon can be eaten immediately for a hot smoked salmon dinner or it can be chilled to be used in salads and sandwiches.

Bradley Smoker

Smoking salmon in a Bradley smoker, pit boss pellet smoker, or another electric smoker is a fun way to make fish. You can cold smoke it to create lox (smoked salmon) or hot smoke it to make it more like traditional smoked salmon. Either way, it’s delicious.

When smoking salmon, the skin can be left on or removed depending on your preference. It’s also best to use a sharp knife that will produce clean cuts.

To start, rinse the salmon with cool water to remove the dry cure mixture and pat it dry. You’ll then season the fish with kosher salt, brown sugar, and black pepper. Many recipes also include other herbs and spices, such as garlic, lemon zest, or dill. The amount of spice used depends on your personal taste. Once seasoned, the salmon is ready to be smoked.

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