Smoking Salmon on a Traeger Pellet Grill
Smoked salmon is a delicious, healthy, and versatile addition to your diet. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare with only a few simple ingredients.
The first step is to dry brine the salmon. This is much easier and less messy than wet brining. It also has the added benefit of creating a firmer texture (depending on type of salmon and cooking temperature). Then it’s time to smoke!
The traeger pellet grill is a great option for smoking salmon because it has an easy-to-use interface and the ability to set precise temperatures. It also comes with a variety of different wood pellet options so you can customize the flavor of your fish.
Before you start your traeger pellet smoker, be sure to read the manual and follow the startup process. The specific steps will vary depending on the model of your traeger, but you will generally start by flipping the power switch to “ON” and then setting the desired temperature using the dial. Once your grill is heated, you can start adding wood pellets to the hopper. You will need to use a high-quality hardwood pellet like apple, cherry, maple, or hickory. The smoke produced by these types of wood is sweet and delicious, perfect for smoked salmon.
You’ll also need to prepare your salmon for smoking. This can be done by removing the skin and fins, and patting it dry. You will then coat the salmon in a dry brine, which is a mixture of salt and sugar. The amount of salt and sugar used depends on how much salmon you’re smoking, but it is typically a 1:1 ratio of brown sugar to sea salt or kosher salt. It’s important to let the salmon cure in the brine for no more than 45 minutes or it will be too salty. After the brining, the salmon should be rinsed thoroughly and patted dry. This allows a tacky film called a pellicle to form on the salmon, which helps the smoke adhere to it.
Lastly, you’ll want to prep your smoker for smoking by putting a handful of pellets into the hopper. You can choose from a variety of different flavored pellets, but alder is a popular choice for salmon because it gives a mild and balanced smoke flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the fish. You can also use a fruit-flavored pellet such as cherry or apple to add a sweet flavor to the salmon.
When you’re ready to start cooking your salmon, preheat the smoker to 180 degrees F. It’s important to note that you can only hot smoke salmon, not cold smoke it. Hot smoked salmon is cooked at a higher temperature, which results in flakier fish. Cold smoked salmon is cooked at a lower temperature and results in silkier fish, similar to lox.
Once you’ve preheat the smoker, put your salmon fillets into the smoker and close the lid. After about 4 to 5 minutes, open the lid and baste the salmon with the honey/sugar/water mixture. Do this halfway through the smoking process to add extra sweetness and help prevent sticking. Once the salmon is cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove it from the smoker and enjoy! You can store any leftovers in a plastic or glass container with an airtight lid. They’ll keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
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