Hot Smoked Salmon
About the recipe
Curing or brining the salmon will help draw out some the natural moisture prior to cooking. Allowing it to dry overnight forms a pellicle on top of the fish, which helps the smoke adhere. Also, seasoning with the lemon pepper while the fish is still warm will allow the spice to better stick to the outside of the fish.
If you prefer cold smoked salmon, place a pan of ice immediately underneath the salmon. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 90 degrees during the smoking process.
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 16 hours and 0 minutes
6 (8-ounce) portions skin-off salmon fillets
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon pepper seasoning (optional)
Wood chips (hickory, Applewood, Cherrywood, and pecan wood are all good), soaked in water
In a large pot, combine water, salt, and sugars. Stir vigorously until sugars have dissolved and salt is dispersed. Add the salmon and completely submerge, refrigerated, for up to 2 hours. If your pot will not fit in the refrigerator, add ice cubes to maintain a temperature of below 40 degrees.
Remove salmon from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack and refrigerate uncovered overnight, approximately 12 hours.
Place the rack inside of an outdoor smoking rig. Fill the box touching the heating element with soaked wood chips and light. Close the door and allow the salmon to smoke at 180 degrees for approximately one hour.
Remove from the smoker and season as desired with lemon pepper.
Cool at room temperature, then pack into vacuum-sealed bags.