Growing up, fish was always on the table. My grandparents live just off a river and we would spend every evening fishing and even spent our vacations fishing. My grandfather would smoke fish using some metal box contraption that he put together and it always came out delicious. When I started to explore recipes for my eggs, I decided that hot smoking a salmon like my grandfather did was definitely something that I wanted to do.
Smoking a salmon is a process – I started on Tuesday to smoke it on Saturday.
How to Smoke Salmon – Hot Smoking Guide
Day 1: Get the fish. I picked mine up at Sam’s Club – it was only $20 for a 4lb fillet.
Day 2: Wednesday night, I made the dry brine and applied it to the salmon – both sides since it was skinless. Once the salmon was well rubbed, it went into the fridge for 24 hours.
Dry Brine for Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 chopped clove of garlic
- 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 crumbled dried bay leaf
Day 3: Thursday night, I removed the salmon from the brine, rinsed it well and then put it back in the fridge to air dry for another 24 hours. It actually dried for about 36 hours, which is fine. The picture below shows you the texture the salmon begins to take after the cure and wash. Drying like this forms the pellicule “skin” that will later help with smoke adhesion.
Day 4: Smoking day! I set up the big green egg for indirect heat using the plate setter and I put soaked apple wood chips over the lump before I got the fish on. When I started the egg, it creeped up to almost 500 degrees, adding the plate setter got it down to around 300 – so I just closed the vents a bit more and waited for it to come down to 200 degrees. Once I hit that, the fish went in. I had to cut the fillet in half to fit properly. The tray was wrapped in foil for easy cleanup. But if you are going to do this, definitely make sure you put the fish on a tray or slab – not directly on the grill. So the salmon went on the BGE at about 9:30 am. You can see the progression of the cook in the photos below – I could have pulled it off after about 5 hours, but like I said, I wanted it like grandpa used to make – so I smoked it a lot longer then you normally would. The results are amazing – I barely got the tray off the grill before people started snacking on it.
I will definitely be making this one again – while it does require a lot of prep, it’s completely worth the work and time. If there is any left on Monday, I’ll be taking some of this into the office for snacks – but I highly doubt it will be around by then, it’s just too tasty.
Hot Smoked Salmon Recipe Photo Gallery