My First Attempt at Smoking Salmon

Earlier this summer we were lucky enough to spend some time at the Shivas family floating cabin where we caught a bunch of Chinook salmon thanks to Jim and Nancy’s expert guiding.

Twins First Time Seeing Salmon!
Twins First Time Seeing Salmon!

Now that we have our own smoker it seemed like the time was right to try my hand at smoking my own salmon. Fortunately for us, Janet’s family has perfected a smoked salmon recipe/process over the years and was generous enough to share it with me.

First the salmon is skinned, trimmed of all the brown flesh, and cut into manageable pieces 1-2 inches thick, and around 2-3 inches wide.

Next the salmon is immersed into the Shivas family brine and soaked for roughly 12 hours.

Then the salmon is removed from the brine, rinsed in fresh water and soaked in cold fresh water for at least an hour.

Salmon Soaking in Brine
Salmon Soaking in Fresh Water

After soaking in fresh water the salmon is removed, given another quick rinse in cold fresh water, patted dry and placed on racks to dry for 2 hours. I used a fan to help speed up the process. The salmon is ready for the smoker once a nice pellicle has formed and the salmon has a glossy sheen.

Brined Salmon Drying
Brined Salmon Drying

Pre-heat the smoker to 120F and place the salmon inside the smoker and slowly raise the temperature to 175F over an hour or so. As the temperature climbs the salmon will start to leak albumin, blot that up as well as you can.

Once the smoker is up to 175F it’s time to start the smoke. I used a mix of apple and maple smoke for 5 hours or so.

As the salmon is nearing completion baste each piece on both sides with honey.

Smoked Salmon!
Smoked Salmon!

The end result is fantastic! It’s not quite as good as Jim’s but I’m really happy with the final product and it’s an excellent first attempt.

As a happy by-product, we ended up with some extra honey that had dripped off the salmon during glazing, and combined it with the salmon that stuck to the racks during smoking to get delicious smokey salmon honey!

Salmon Honey
Salmon Honey!

Author: Kyle Maclean

IT Guy during the week, hunter, mountain biker, and snowboarder on the weekends. I was born and raised in Calgary and attended the U of C where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. Shortly after graduating I got a job with Calgary Alternative Support Services as a Systems Analyst and I've been there ever since.

4 thoughts on “My First Attempt at Smoking Salmon”

  1. Sounds great Kyle – I have an amazing brine recipe as well if you like . i have been smoking salmon for years since I was in New Aiyansh on the reserce from 1989 – 1992. I use demerara instead of honey and put it on just before puttng the salmon into the smoker.

    1. I would love to give your recipe a try, I’m very new to smoking any foods, and I’m sure I’ve got lots to learn!

  2. We had an opportunity to taste your smoked salmon Kyle and it was excellent!

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