Smoking Salmon on Pellet Smoker
Smoked salmon is easy to make on a pellet smoker and is a delicious, healthy meal. This recipe for smoked salmon features both a rub and glaze that elevates the flavors.
The simplest way to prepare salmon is with a dry brine, which includes brown sugar and salt. Diamond Crystal kosher salt is preferred over Morton brand, and it has less sodium by volume.
A simple brown sugar salmon brine helps the fish stay juicy and flavorful. This recipe works with all types of salmon, including chinook, sockeye, coho, pink, dolly varden and kokanee salmon.
To make the brine, dissolve the salt and brown sugar in cold water. Add the salmon filets and stir until they are completely covered by the brine mixture. Let the salmon marinate in the brine for about 4 hours.
Once the salmon has cured, remove it from the brine and rinse it. Then, pat it dry with paper towels.
Smoke the salmon for about an hour, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature frequently. Be sure to bring the temperature of your smoker down in the final hour of cooking to prevent overcooking. Let the salmon rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Salmon is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and selenium.
Salmon fillets are easy to prepare on your pellet grill. Start by rinsing the fish and patting it dry. You should also remove any pin bones, if necessary. You can use tweezers to get the job done quickly or cut the section of bone out with your knife for a quicker method.
Curing (or brining) fish has been around for a long time and was invented before refrigerators as a way to preserve the food by drawing out excess moisture, which slows spoilage. Adding salt to the mix enhances flavor and adds texture to your fish.
The rub for this recipe combines brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to create a robust yet balanced flavor. The glaze elevates the salmon even more with a sweet and savory sauce. To finish the dish, top with fried sage leaves for an added pop of color and flavor. Using a pellet smoker for smoking salmon makes the process simple because of the temperature control. Cook your salmon until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F, or until desired doneness.
Salmon is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for heart health and brain function. When smoked, it also has a unique flavor and can be paired with a variety of recipes. This recipe is delicious and simple to make using your pellet grill.
Before smoking, it is important to ensure the grates are clean and oiled. This will prevent the fish from sticking and also protect the grates from rusting. You may also want to rub a paper towel with oil and spread it over the grates before cooking.
To prepare the brine, combine honey, sugar, and salt in a gallon size food safe bag. Place the salmon in the brine and allow to soak for 4 hours. Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Remove the salmon from the brine and set aside. Place on the smoker skin side down and smoke until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Depending on the thickness of your salmon, this could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
Smoked salmon can be served as an entree or appetizer and is also great for adding to dips, salads and other recipes. Hot smoking (as opposed to curing) allows you to cook the salmon at a higher temperature which ensures it reaches the FDA’s recommended internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dry brining salmon is easy on a pellet smoker because it eliminates the need to constantly monitor and adjust the fire and smoke. Using a food safe container, mix the salt, brown sugar and water until fully combined. Place the salmon filets in the brine and make sure they are completely submerged. The salmon should soak in the brine for 4-8 hours.
If desired, baste the salmon 2 -3 times during the cooking process with honey or teriyaki sauce. This will add a nice sweet flavor to the fish. Once the salmon is cooked and has reached an internal temperature of 145 – 150 degrees F, it can be removed from the smoker.
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