If you are looking for the best salmon for smoking, then knowing its types, tenderness, taste will certainly add up to choosing the right one for your need.

In short there are five kinds such as King, Sockeye, Silver, Pink and Chum..

All of these kinds look similar to each other with bright silver and darker colored backs.

It becomes challenging to identify in their initial stage; Even the seasonal fishermen find it difficult to do so…

Lets try to dig in…,

Salmon Fish
Salmon Fish.

Best Salmon for Smoking

Recommended Reading:
– Discover the Best Wood for Smoked Salmon: Find out which woods I swear by for that perfect smoky flavor.
– Master the Technique with How to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker: Follow my step-by-step guide to smoking salmon like a pro.

1. King/Chinook (Best for Smoking)

King salmon is by far the best salmon for smoking. The main reasons for its popularity in cooking are its oil content, deep red color and its flavor.

Typically the length of this salmon varies within the length of 36 inches and weighs around 30 pounds. But they can grow more significant than that, too. 

They have bright silver bodies with bluish-grey colored backs. more minor irregular spots found in the back dorsal..

Its fins and upper and lower portion of the tail are thin, bony, and covered in scales, with a curved shape that tapers to a point. Distinctively it has a black mouth and black gums. We need to pay special attention to identifying this..

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2. Coho/Silver

Coho salmon is lower in fats than Sockeye and King Salmon. However it has enough oils to be ready for smoking.

The length varies from 24-30 inches and weighs around 8-12 pounds. They have a beautiful bright coloration with a greenish-blue back.

However, the spots on the silver salmon are more uniform in appearance and are usually on the upper section of the tail. It has a black mouth and white gums at the base of the teeth..

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3. Sockeye/Red

Sockeye salmon has higher oil content than the coho salmon..

The flesh is denser when we compare it with other salmon. It holds well during the smoking process. Personally I like king salmon more than sockeye..

However I know many people who prefer the other way around.
They measure around 18-31 inches and 4-15 pounds on average.

They are super easy to recognize during the spawning phase as they are slightly humped back and have a deep brilliant scarlet colored body with a green head.

Another way to acknowledge this includes a dark blue to even bluish-black colored back with no distinct spot on the back..

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4. Pink/Humpy

I don’t prefer it much because of its tenderness. However smoking this is really quick and can be handled even with very less charcoal.

I usually smoke it in an hour or two for this salmon..

It is counted as the smallest of the pacific salmon.

Measuring around 20-25 inches and weighing about three and a half to 5 pounds before undergoing metamorphosis.

It has a bright silver with a greenish back and large dark spots over the body and its tail fin. These have small scales compared with others.

During spawning, males develop a large hump on their back. The upper body turns into dark greenish grey and lower into white…

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5. Chum/Dog

This one is the last in my list. I have seen people rarely using it.
The chum/dog measures around 24-28 inches long and weighs 10-13 pounds, with males much larger than the females. They are found in bright silver out in the ocean.

They have grey backs with a slightly yellowish-green coloration on the sides, which are hardly noticeable when fresh.

One great thing about this is it has a vast eye pupil that covers almost the entire eye.

They are the fastest among all to change in the spawning colors.

They quickly change from silver into a dinosaur looking coloration.

The male develops enormous canine teeth, which can be used for making a fabulous necklace.

They have a unique look in their spawning colors..

Some of this can go big up to 58 inches and up to 126 pounds..


How to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker


# What is the best salmon for hot smoking?

  • Ora King Salmon – For hot smoking Ora king is the best choice due to its high fat content, flavorful flakes.
  • Sockeye Salmon – It is of deep red color and intense flavour, slightly lean and firm texture. I can say that when you use hot smoking it tastes delicious.
  • Coho or pink Salmon – Coho has a subtler taste and medium fat conten. You can add it for hot smoking.
  • Atlantic Salmon – This farm-raised salmon has lower fat content that is good for hot smoking.

# Is sockeye salmon good for smoking?

Yes, It is one of the kinds which is denser than other salmon types. It has a high oil content and stays firm during the process of cooking the best salmon for cold smoking..

# How long does it take to smoke salmon?

It depends on the internal temperature. Suppose you heat it around 145 F, which is the general temperature for the salmon, then you have to cook for half an hour.

It ensures the killing of bacteria too…

# Can you smoke Atlantic salmon?

Yes, you can smoke Atlantic salmon. It is rich in nutrients, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids etc..

# Where does the best salmon come from?

The best salmon comes from the countries along with the Pacific Oceans..

When discussing the varieties of the salmon, the best of all of them is King, also known as Chinook. It has high oil content, butterfly texture and is rich in omega 3. It is also regarded as one of the most flavorful flesh..

# Where can you find Atlantic salmon around the world?

The top three countries in the world that produce the bulk of Atlantic salmon are the United Kingdom, Chile and Canada.

# Is it permissible for me to smoke farm-raised salmon?

Yes, it is. Farmed salmon has a more delightful flavor, and is oilier. Also some believe that it is even tastier than wild salmon…

# How long to smoke salmon at 180?

It takes 3 to 4 hours to smoke salmon at 180.

# How long to smoke salmon at 225?

At 225 °F, takes 1 to 2 hours until it reaches 145 °F.

# What is the best salmon for smoking electric smoker?

There is no such salmon fish which is smoked only in electric smoker…I have tried King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Atlantic Salmon in my Musterbuilt so far.

# Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the appropriate kind of salmon is essential for creating great flavor and texture when smoking salmon..

There is a salmon selection to fit your taste preferences, whether you prefer rich and fatty options like King or Chinook salmon or milder choices like Sockeye or Coho salmon.

You may further improve your smoking experience by keeping things like freshness, source, and sustainability in mind..

So, pick the best salmon to smoke, light your smoker, and get ready to tuck into some delectable smoked salmon treats..