Best Smoked Salmon

Written by Mike Futia | Updated October 1, 2023

This smoked salmon is my all-time favorite seafood recipe to cook on my Traeger. I've smoked plenty of salmon in my life, and this is the recipe I keep going back to.

smoked salmon on foil

How To Make Smoked Salmon

Amazing smoked salmon starts with perfectly fresh, wild-caught salmon. If you're going to go to the effort to make smoked salmon, go all-out and find the best piece of fish you can get your hands on.

Then we're moving on to our dry brine. Smoked salmon takes a lot of patience, and for the best results, you should brine your salmon for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours if you have the time, and depending on the thickness of your fish.

smoked salmon done

After the curing process, we're applying our homemade salmon rub with a light marinade, and then smoking at 225F on our Traeger until its perfectly cooked, about 45 minutes. 

Serve with a side of smoked corn on the cob and a smoked baked beans, and you've got yourself an amazing weekend meal!

Smoked Salmon Ingredients

Serving Size: 4 people

  • Salmon Filet (3 pounds). Buy the best salmon you can. Sockeye and Atlantic salmon work well with this recipe.
  • Dry rub (2 tbsp). We used our homemade salmon dry rub, which includes brown sugar, pepper, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, lime zest, and mustard powder.

For the dry brine

  • Brown sugar (1 cup)
  • Kosher salt (1/2 cup)
  • Black pepper (1 tbsp)

For the marinade

  • Honey (1/3 cup)
  • Brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • Juice of 1 lime.

The Directions

raw salmon

1. Combine dry brine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Apply liberally to both sides of the salmon. Put the salmon on a wire rack in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 

2. When you're done with the dry-brining process, remove the salmon from the fridge, and apply the dry rub and marinade. Allow the salmon to rest for at least 10 minutes.

salmon on traeger

3. Place the salmon skin-side down on a pre-heated 225F smoker and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F, which should take around 45 minutes, depending on how big your salmon is.

smoked salmon on foil

4. Once the salmon is done, remove from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve with some dill sauce and ENJOY!

Cooking Temperature & Time

  • Cooking Temperature. We smoked this salmon at 225F on the Traeger until it hits an internal temperature of 125F. 
  • Cooking Time. This smoked salmon took about 45 minutes to cook on the Traeger. 

Salmon Smoking Tips

  • Choosing your salmon. Make sure to choose a high-quality salmon. If you can, buy wild-caught. Though farm-raised can work as well.
  • Don't rinse your salmon! Lots of smoked salmon recipes call for rinsing the dry brine off your salmon. Don't do that. It can cause bacteria to spread. [source]
  • Don't overcook the salmon. Overcooked salmon doesn't taste great! Be sure to watch the internal temperature of the fish with an internal thermometer, and pull it off the smoker when it reaches 125F.
  • Pellet flavor. We like to use fruity pellet flavors with our smoked salmon, so something like cherry or apple.
  • The doneness test. The best way to know your salmon is done is to use a meat thermometer. You can also use the "flake test" where the salmon should easily flake off when you pull at it with a fork.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What's The Best Temperature To Smoke Salmon?

The best temperature to smoke salmon is 225F, which allows the fish to cook evenly without drying out.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke Salmon?

It takes about 45 minutes to smoke salmon at 225F. This will vary on the thickness of your salmon.

What Wood Pellets Should I Use For Smoked Salmon?

When smoking fish, I prefer to use lighter, fruity pellet flavors like apple and cherry. The best wood for smoking salmon includes cedar, alder, and apple.

How Do I Store Smoked Salmon?

You can store your smoked salmon in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and freeze it for up to 2 months.

Sides Dishes & Serving Suggestions For Smoked Salmon

smoked baked beans

A flavorful side dish that adds a hearty and savory element to the meal.

smoked mac and cheese

A classic comfort food that pairs nicely with the salmon.

smoked corn on the cob with a pork chop

A summer classic that goes perfectly with fish.

Recommended Tools & Equipment

  • Traeger Grill. I love my Traeger 780 for all things smoking!
  • Pellets. I've really been digging the pellets from BBQ'ers Delight.
  • Meat Thermometer. I use this MEATER to keep an eye on the internal temp during the cook, and then just to be sure, I also check it with this Thermapen One at the end of the cook just to be extra sure.
smoked salmon on foil

Best Smoked Salmon

Discover your new favorite dish with our easy and delicious smoked salmon recipe. Packed with flavor, it's the perfect meal for any occasion.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Calories 346 kcal

Ingredients
  

Salmon

  • 1 filet salmon 3 pounds
  • 2 tbsp seasoning

Dry Brine

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 lime juiced

Instructions
 

  • Combine dry brine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Apply liberally to both sides of the salmon. Put the salmon on a wire rack in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 
  • When you're done with the dry-brining process, remove the salmon from the fridge, and apply the dry rub and marinade. Allow the salmon to rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • Place the salmon skin-side down on a pre-heated 225F smoker and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F, which should take around 45 minutes, depending on how big your salmon is.
  • Once the salmon is done, remove from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve with some dill sauce and ENJOY!

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 91gProtein: 1gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 14167mgPotassium: 230mgFiber: 4gSugar: 83gVitamin A: 142IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 191mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mike Futia

Hello, I'm Mike Futia, a passionate griller and BBQ enthusiast. I'm the creator of Grill Frenzy, and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge of grilling and smoking with you. I believe that BBQ and grilling should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, I'm here to guide you on your grilling journey. Welcome!


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