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This is by far my favorite recipe and method for smoking salmon on the Big Green Egg. Completely reminds me of the way my grandfather used to do it and it’s so easy! You just have to plan ahead and follow some key steps. This recipe is great for gifts – during the holiday season, I usually smoke 8-10 full salmon using this recipe and just vacuum seal the portions to give away.

Dry Brined Smoked Salmon Recipe


1) Make the Dry Brine for 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

2) Apply Brine to Salmon
I’ve learned over time to portion out the salmon filets – allows for better coverage for the brine and while smoking. Additionally, when you give some away, you don’t have to give away a huge fillet! The “brine” will be dry when it goes on – but while the fillets are marinating, the brine will begin to remove the moisture from the salmon, resulting in a liquid brine after a few hours.

3) Refrigerate the Salmon for 12-24 hours in the Brine
Once the salmon has been in the brine for 12-24 hours, remove and rinse. Place back in the fridge to dry for another 12-24 hours. I prefer to set my salmon on cookie cooling racks in the fridge while they dry out. Provides maximum coverage area. After drying, the salmon will have an almost hard exterior skin on it – that’s when you know it’s time to smoke it! The “pellicle” that forms during the drying process is key for smoking/flavor so don’t skip this!

4) Smoke the salmon!
For my Big Green Egg setup, I don’t use any wood chips for the salmon – just straight lump. I get the BGE going and the fire up to about 400 before I add the plate setter and get the dome temp down to about 225-250. Then I put the tiered grate on the BGE (two tier swing grate from Ceramic Grill Works) and place the salmon on that. Now just close the lid and wait for 3-4 hours. After that, check the salmon for color. If it’s nice and golden – then it’s ready to go.

Smoked Salmon Recipe Photos

  • Smoking Salmon on the Big Green Egg
  • Applying Dry Brine TO Salmon




  1. Once you have your salmon on the BGE do you shut everything down and let it smoke while the fire goes out using just the residual heat?

    • Paul –
      No, for hot smoking, I just keep it as low as possible, sub 225 if I can get it there. If I need lower, I’ll use the Amazen pellet smoker for just pure smoke

  2. In the 4th picture that is captioned: refrigerate the Salmon for 24 hours in the Brine. It
    Looks like the Brine is liquid but you don’t mention what the liquid is. What is the brine?

  3. Does the salmon need to be refrigerated after smoking? How long is the salmon good for after smoking? Thanks

  4. I have tried the hot smoking and have found the salmon gets way over cooked. I have started using the a-maze-n smoker box using wood pellets on my green egg and have ended up with a wonderfully flavorful and moist salmon, not dry and rubbery. I brine the salmon overnight and dry it well, then lay out on rack on a sheet pan in the refrigerator another overnight for a pellicle to form (kind of a dry shiny skin). I cold smoke it for 6 hours or so then finish with a bit of heat at the end to make sure the salmon is cooked through. I like using fruitwood, my favorite being a pear/Applewood mix that a-maze-n offers. This has also worked great with fresh trout.

  5. This is the worst salmon i have ever made or eaten. We threw the salmon away because it was too salty and too dried. BIG waste of time on this recipe. Never ever going to cure a perfectly good salmon again.

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