Smoked Salmon How To

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

An easy to follow, step by step guide to smoking salmon.  A rub that makes the most delicious, moist smoked salmon ever.  

How to Smoke Salmon

For as long as I can remember, I have loved smoked fish.  This rub would work on all sorts of fish, but today, I am sharing it with my favorite, salmon.  There is just something about smoked salmon that I adore.  First off, look at the color! It’s just beautiful.  A nice piece of this fish, some crackers, maybe even some cheese or even just cream cheese, and you have appetizers that will disappear in a flash.

How to Smoke Salmon

^^Love It?  PIN It! ^^

Smoked Salmon Pasta
Smoked salmon and capers in this light pasta that is on the table in about 20 minutes.

Last week I shared a recipe for Smoked Salmon Pasta.  It’s so easy to make, it’s almost silly.  Literally – dinner done from start to finish in less than 20 minutes.  I’m not sure why I did this “backwards,” but I shared the pasta then the main component, smoked salmon.  I never said I was the smartest woman … but either way, you are getting both recipes today!

We celebrated my Son’s graduation from University of Nebraska at Lincoln this past weekend.  I am one proud mama, guys.  He worked so hard, and got his degree, and even landed a job at his top pick for employers after school.  We had our family and a few of his friends over for cocktails and lots of appetizers.  He requested Chips & Salsa from our Mexican grocery store, Jalapeño Poppers, A meat and cheese tray, hamburger dip made by his God-Mother, a relish tray (this kid loves his veggies!) this smoked salmon, and for his sweet tooth, his favorite Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies and Bubblegum Cupcakes.  Never a shortage of good food.

I am going to show you easy step by step instructions to get these amazing results for Smoked Salmon.


What do I need to make this Smoked Salmon?

  • 2.5- 3 pound salmon filet
  • brown and granulated sugar
  • molasass
  • kosher salt
  • black peppercorns

Smoked Salmon Rub

This recipe I am using uses dark brown sugar.  I went to the pantry, and only had light brown sugar.  I added some molasses to the light brown sugar and was so pleased with the results, I will do it this way every time.  The flavor was just so much better.

Smoked Salmon How To

Granulated sugar, brown sugar, molasses, kosher salt and fresh black peppercorns.

Smoked Salmon How To

This makes your rub.  Get it all stirred together using a fork.

Smoked Salmon How To

Lay two pieces of heavy duty foil on your counter, top it with a piece of plastic wrap, big enough to hold your salmon filet.  Sprinkle half of your rub and spread it on the plastic wrap, then lay your salmon filet on top. I always buy my salmon filets at Costco.  They are reasonable, and you get a nice big piece.  If your salmon has skin on one side, that will be on the bottom.

Smoked Salmon How To

Sprinkle and coat the top of the salmon with the remaining rub.

Smoked Salmon How To

Wrap the salmon up tightly on a cookie sheet, and place it in the fridge.  In 12 hours, flip it over.  Back in the fridge for another 12 hours.

Smoked Salmon How To

Now it’s time to rinse it.  Plus it’s funny to say “I really need to go, I’ve got to go home and wash my salmon.” — yes, that really happened.  and Yes, I got some strange looks!  After you wash it, pat it dry on both side, return it to the cookie sheet and place it in a cool dry place over night.  (not the fridge)

How to Smoke Salmon

When it’s time to smoke your salmon, place it on a couple layers of heavy duty foil with the edges turned up.  We used Alder pellets to smoke the salmon, but mesquite works well, too.  The temperature on the smoker  was set to 200 degrees.

How to Smoke Salmon

It’s done when the thickest part of the salmon hits an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  This was done in about 2 hours.

How to Smoke Salmon

You can plate it and eat it right away, or chill it before eating.  It’s delicious both ways.

How to Smoke Salmon

Keep any leftovers in the fridge. It’s amazing stirred into whipped cream cheese and spread on bagels, or in that smoked salmon pasta I spoke of earlier.

How to Smoke Salmon

Who’s ready to smoke some salmon??


Smoked Salmon being flaked
4.37 from 11 votes
Print Recipe

Smoked Salmon How To

An easy to follow, step by step guide to smoking salmon.  A rub that makes the most delicious, moist smoked salmon ever.  Use in recipes or as an appetizer.
Prep Time36 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time38 minutes
Course: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar mixed with 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh coarsely ground black peppercorns
  • 2.5-3 pound salmon filet


  • Mix brown sugar and molasses together, mix in peppercorns, granulated sugar and kosher salt.
  • Lay two long sheets of foil flat on a cookie sheet, top with plastic wrap, and sprinkle half of the rub over the wrap. Place salmon, skin side down, on the rub. Top the salmon evenly with the rest of the rub. wrap it tightly, and place the salmon in the fridge.
  • in 12 hours, flip it over. (this is where you really need that cookie sheet, some will leak out, that's okay) In 12 hours remove from the foil wrap and rinse the salmon under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, and return to clean cookie sheet.
  • Place in a cool dry place overnight. (not the fridge)
  • Using Alder or Mesquite pellets, get smoker to 200 degrees. Place salmon on a couple of pieces of heavy duty foil with the edges curled up, place it on preheated smoker, and in one hour check the internal temperature of the fish.
  • It took about 2 hours for ours to be done. The salmon is done when the internal temperature is 160 degrees in the thickest part of the fish.
  • Cool salmon to room temperature, or chill before serving.
  • Store remaining in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Adapted from Alton Brown

Similar Posts


  1. Sounds fantastic, but is there a way to do this without a smoker? I do not even have a BB-Q any more –due to downsizing to a smaller home.

    1. It is!! Sounds crazy right? I put it in the basement. It’s cool down there, but not “Cold.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.