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Easy Steps on How to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker, 4 smokers, 2021(Oct)

How to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker? It’s incredibly easy, nothing much is there. So I will be sharing some cool  ideas on smoking salmon in a smoker. 

I have tried to answer all your queries . However if you still have questions feel free to provide feedback.


How to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker (4 different smokers)


#1 How to smoke Salmon on an offset smoker?

Steps :
Step 1: Brine the salmon.

Step 2: Cover it and keep in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

Step 3: After 8 hours, rinse off the excess brine from the salmon and pat them with a paper towel.

Step 4: Apply oil on the skin side of the salmon and keep it on the rack until it dries.

Step 5: Keep your offset smoker ready. Put some charcoal in the chimney and light them. Later you can add wood chunks for flavor.

Step 6: Set the temp up to 180F-220F.

Don’t worry about the temperature; it will go down below 180. You can cook with a low and slow temp process. Just keep an eye on it.

Step 7: keep salmon on the grill rack and close the lid. Also, a little bit open the smokestack lid.

You can check the internal temp after 30 minutes or after one hour. If you are cooking outside and it’s windy, do not open the lid too much.

Step 8: You can apply syrup between cooking if the salmon is drying.

Do not trust the built-in thermometer. Use a meat probe. When it will give you a beautiful shine and smoke and reach internal temperature 130-140 degrees, that means done.

Also, you can check with your fingers or knife to easily flake the meat away.

So it takes a maximum of two hours to cook.

#2 How to smoke Salmon in a Pitboss Vertical smoker?

It’s effortless to smoke salmon on a Pitboss Vertical smoker. We did it with my friend a couple of weeks ago.

So here I’m sharing as I cooked on a Pitboss.

All brining, curing, drying and seasoning processes are the same. You can check out this article I have mentioned already.

Step 1: Keep your smoker ready and fill the water pan with water.

Step 2: Set your smoker at 150 degrees F and put the salmon on a rack.

Let it run for about an hour at the same temperature.

Step 3: You can put some glaze between smoking.

Step 4: After one hour, turn the temperature from 150F to 175F.

You can apply glaze on salmon 2 to 3 times while smoking.

Step 5: After two hours, you should check the internal temp after every 20/25 minutes.

You will get juicy, smokey and flaky salmon within three and half hours. It will take a maximum of 3 and a half hours to cook.

You can store leftovers in the fridge.

#3 How to smoke Salmon in a Masterbuilt smoker?

It is almost the same in all the smokers.Nothing is different from other smokers. Usually, I use Traeger for smoking salmon. But a few times I got the chance to try on Masterbuilt. For me there is not much difference sometimes, I use Masterbuilt.

I had cooked two sockeye salmon fillets at 150 degrees F in my Masterbuilt. It took two hours to cook.

Here are the steps in sort-

Step 1: Prepare liquid or dry brine with salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, black pepper etc.

Step 2: Brine all around the Salmon in the pan.

Step 3: Wrap the brined salmon and keep it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 4: After the curing process, remove from the refrigerator and rinse all fillets under cool water.

Step 5: Pat them and dry them out with a paper towel.

Step 6: Rub the oil on the skin side of the salmon and put it on the rack. Let it sit and form a nice pellicle for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 7: It’s time to keep smoking. Set the temperature at 150 degrees F.

Step 8: Add some of your favourite chips.

Step 9: Keep your salmon tray in the smoker.

Step 10: After one hour or before, you can season with plenty of syrup, some thyme and minced garlic for moisture and glaze.

Let them cook for one hour.

Step 11: You can take out your salmon after two and half hours from the smoker. Make sure the internal temperature is 140F.

You can smoke in low temps. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillet. Brining and curing processes are the same. So don’t be restless.

#4 How to smoke Salmon on a Bradley smoker?

I do not own any Bradley smoker. One of my friends has Bradley, and he allowed me to smoke with his smoker.

I loved Bradley’s smoking process. You can set temp, cook time and smoke time, and it shut down automatically in time. I am actually planning to add one to my lists. Amazing smoker.

So let’s start….how I have done.

Curing the Salmon:

Mix all common ingredients like kosher salt, brown sugar and your favourite optional ingredients like pepper, garlic/onion powder etc. For a wet cure, you have to add water; otherwise no need.

Marinade your fillet with mixed ingredients and keep it in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. It’s really up to you.

Dry out:

After the curing process, rinse each of them under cool water.
Pat them with a paper towel, then let them dry for two to three hours.

How to smoke salmon in smoker
Dry Brine

Smokin:

Preheat your smoker up to 280F and then drop it down when you put salmon in a smoker.

You can use nine alder or any bisquettes.

Set the temperature at 180F, set the cooking time and smoke time at 3 hours.

After 3 hours, your Bradley will automatically shut down.

And it is done. Effortless. Isn’t it?

Let’s discuss smoked salmon. These are the most common questions asked so far.

How to smoke salmon in smoker
Smoking Salmon

Difference between Hot Smoked Salmon and Cold Smoked Salmon

Hot Smoked Salmon:


Hot smoked salmon is a wet brine that has water and mixed ingredients. Salmon have to pass through this process to get some flavor, moisture, texture and saltiness.

Hot smoked salmon smoked at, or above, 120°F for 6 to 12 hours.

Hot smoked salmon is much smokier and flaky. It looks like a fully cooked texture.

You can re-warm them because they’ve already passed through the heat.

Hot cooked salmon does not sell as sliced. You can get this vacuum-sealed, and you can store it at room temperature for a long time.

You can eat it with any creamy salad and sandwich. Also, it is used in other hot dishes, for example, pasta, quiche, chowder and omelettes etc.

Cold Smoked Salmon:


Cold smoked salmon is dry-cured in salt, brown sugar and other mixed ingredients.

Many people cure it for several days to draw out moisture. But it is not compulsory. Usually, you can brine for 8 to 12 hours.

Cold smoked salmon smoked at, or below, 80°F for 6 to 12 hrs.

The cold-smoked process doesn’t cook salmon with high heat. It is formed only by low temperatures and smoke.

That is why its colour is pinkish, and its texture looks like raw meat, smooth and silky.

The cold smoker Salmon is great to provide a fresher and less smoky flavour.

You can preserve cold-smoked salmon for a long time, 1 to 30 days, and you can store it in the refrigerator.

You can eat it with scrambled eggs, bagel and cheese, veggies, lemon wedges, and a homemade baguette. There are so many recipes with cold-smoked salmon.

How to Brine and cure Salmon for smoking?

The fish will need to cure for several hours. This brining and curing process removes some of the moisture from the salmon. In this process, salmon absorb the salt, which helps to preserve the salmon.

The curing process takes at least 8 to 12 hours. It would be best not to cure your salmon for a long time; otherwise, it will be much saltier.

Ingredients:

For Dry Brine:

1. Brown sugar

2. Kosher salt

3. Black pepper(optional)

4. Paprika(optional)

5. Onion powder/herb(optional)

6. Garlic powder/herb(optional)

7. Utensils

For Wet Brine Cure:

1. Use the same dry ingredients

2. Water

Dry Brining and Curing process:

Step 1: Take all your ingredients in a bowl and mix them.

The ingredients should depend on how much salmon you have.

Step 2: keep salmon with mixed ingredients in a pan.

Spread some mixed ingredients on the base of a plastic or glassware pan. Then keep the salmon, and spread some more mixed ingredients on top and around the edges of the fillet. 

Step 3: Wrap

Cover the salmon with plastic wrap.

Step 4: Keep in the refrigerator for 8 hrs or overnight.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

After curing, take out the salmon from your refrigerator. Rinse all salt and sugar off with cool water and pat them to dry with a paper towel.

Step 6: Air Drying

Place the fillet at room temperature or ventilated place from one and half hours to two hours. 

Some people leave it out for up to three hours. If you want, you can keep it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

Place on a drying rack over a baking sheet. Silicone baking sheets would be better because they don’t stick to the grill or apply oil on the rack.

You can use a fan to dry your salmon.

When salmon gets sticky on the top and forms a nice pellicle, that means it is ready to absorb the smoke flavor.

Wet Brining and Curing process:
How to smoke salmon in smoker
Wet brine

Step 1: Mix water and ingredients.

Take enough water that salmon can drown completely and stir nicely. You can use a little warm water so that the ingredients dissolve in water quickly. But don’t keep salmon in warm water. So if you are using warm water, then use ice. Otherwise, use cold water.

Step 2: Put the fillet in mixed water.

Use a container or zip-lock bag. Ensure that all the salmon stays below the surface.

Step 3: Curing

Keep a container or zip-lock bag along with the salmon inside the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.

Step 4: Rinse and pat them.

Take it out from the fridge and rinse each piece with cool water.

Step 5: Air drying

Lay them on a paper towel and dry thoroughly.

After the drying process, arrange them on an oiled rack and let them sit for a couple of hours.

The dry-curing process is very effective in preservation. But when it comes to wet curing, you can not ignore the flavor.

Air Drying
Air Drying

What is the best way to smoke Salmon?

You have two main ways to smoke salmon – hot smoking and cold smoking.

People have different ideas and opinions on smoking Salmon. But it’s not a big thing. After all, it’s just smoked salmon. So do not make it complicated.

Just keep three things in mind to cook salmon in the best way.

Brine> Use a mix of kosher salt and brown sugar.

Use the suitable wood chips> Choose the wood chips which are best for salmon.

Avoid overcooking> You should not overcook your salmon. Set the temperature at 225 F, and the internal temperature should be 140 F. High temperatures will dry your salmon.

How to smoke Salmon at home without a smoker?

So here are the steps :

Step 1: Take two fry pans.

Keep a small sheet of tin foil on the bottom of the one-pan where salmon will sit, and the other pan to ignite the chips.

Step 2: Now ignite the chips. It will take a few minutes.

Step 3: Flip the chips restlessly at least three or four times until the chips develop a good smoke.

Step 4: Now replace the smoking chips with another pan.

Drop a few more wood chips in the bottom of the foil pan.

Step 5: Place a small rack over the pan top.

Step 6: Put the seasoned salmon on the rack and cover it with the lid.

Step 7: Keep the Salmon along with the pan in the oven at 280 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. 

Step 8: After 15 to 20 minutes, you can serve to eat.

How long do you smoke Salmon?

Cooking time depends on the temperature and thickness of the salmon.

Ensure that 140-150°F internal temperature. Do not follow the exact time.

In my Traeger, it takes 2 hours 45 minutes at 180F- 225F.

Common cases:

How long to smoke salmon at 150?

2 and Half Hours.

How long to smoke salmon at 165?

2 and Half hours

How long to smoke salmon at 175?

2 hours 15 min.

How long to smoke salmon at 180?

2 hours.

How long does it take to smoke salmon at 225?

1 hour

How long to smoke salmon at 250?

1 hour

How long to smoke salmon at 350?

30 minutes

What to Serve with Smoked Salmon?

Smoked salmon is delicious food, and it gives us plentiful protein, which is harmless.

Here are some ideas to serve and eat smoked salmon-

  • Take a slice of smoked salmon and garnish with fresh herbs, fresh peas, lemon wedges.
  • You can toss it with pasta.
  • You can add it to fresh greens or lettuce salad.
  • Use it for breakfast with scrambled eggs.
  • Some people love to eat white bread.
  • You can make sandwiches with smoked salmon. For example –
  • Smoked Salmon Avocado Sandwiches.
  • Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Sandwiches.

Tips for Smoked Salmon.

1. Remove pin bones that might still be in the fillet. Use fish bone tweezers to remove.

2. Purchase your fillet with skin because salmon is tender and flaky. The skin helps to place on the grates.

3. Don’t overcook. Keep on an eye salmon should not overcook or smoke.

4. Use wireless remote digital cooking food meat thermometer.
Because sometimes, a built-in thermometer doesn’t show an accurate temperature.

5. Use a water pan with water which helps you to control the heat.

FAQ

How long do you smoke Salmon on an electric smoker?

Smoke Salmon between 150-180F temperature until it reaches an internal temperature of 135-140F.
Smoking at low temperatures, salmon will remain moist and won’t overcook.
But lower smoker temperature will take longer to smoke.

What is the ideal temperature to smoke Salmon?

The ideal temp is 150-180F to smoke.

Can you smoke Salmon at home?

Do I need to brine Smoked Salmon?

If you will smoke with fresh good quality salmon, then there is no need to brine for flavor or moisture. Because fresh salmon has an incredible flavor. But one condition is there; you won’t cook much.

What to do with leftover smoked Salmon?

You can try recipes with leftover smoked salmon, or you can store them for several weeks.

What type of wood is best for smoking Salmon?

I prefer to use alder for my salmon. Apple, cherry, oak or maple also does a good job.
Best wood for Salmon: Alder chips
You can try: Apple and Cherry also.
I would never prefer mesquite, hickory etc. The key is that salmon doesn’t cook in solid flavor.

Can Smoked Salmon be cooked?

You can cook hot salmon while cold salmon is not considered cooked.

How long does Smoked Salmon last?

Hot smoked salmon lasts 6-7 days in the refrigerator if you purchase fresh salmon and smoke right away.

Can I freeze Smoked Salmon?

Yes, you can. Put your hot salmon in a zip-lock freezer bag and keep it in the fridge. You can save this bag in your water bowl also.

Can I baste salmon while smoking?

Yes, you can baste with maple syrup or juice.

What equipment do you need to use for smoking Salmon?

1. Smoker
2. Chips or pellets(Alder)
3. Foil
4. Sheet Pan
5. Fish tweezers
6. Instant Read Probe Thermometer
7. Wireless Grill Thermometer


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