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+ servings
a filet of salmon with seasoning

Easy Homemade Smoked Salmon

If you enjoy the rich earthy smokiness of a good smoked fish, Easy Homemade Smoked Salmon needs to be your next kitchen conquest!
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Prep Time: 16 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 17 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold smoked, cured salmon, gravlox, healthy fish preparation, healthy fish recipes, hot smoked, lox, plank smoking, salmon, salmon candy, smoked salmon, smoked salmon filet recipe, smoked salmon recipes, smoking, smoking salmon in a smoker
Servings: 6 servings based on a 2-pound filet
Calories: 327kcal
Cost: $4.33 per serving

Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.

Equipment

  • smoker, gas grill, stovetop smoker, charcoal grill, or electric smoker

Ingredients

Ingredients for Easy Homemade Smoked Salmon

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt may be Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 pounds salmon fillet skin-on, boneless

Instructions

The Method

    prepping the salmon

    • Put the peppercorns and coriander seeds through a spice mill to grind. Alternatively, crush them using a mortar and pestle.
    • Combine sugar, salt, crushed peppercorns and crushed coriander in a small bowl. 
    • Sprinkle a handful of the mixture, about 1/4 in total, in the bottom of a 9x13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside.
    • Thoroughly rinse and pat the salmon very dry. Place salmon, skin-side down, in the prepared baking dish.
    • Spread the remaining sugar peppercorn mixture over the salmon. Pat it down and cover the flesh of the fish entirely. Cover the entire baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 10 to 12 hours.

    for the smoke

    • Remove the salmon from the baking dish and discard liquids. Rinse the fish under very cold water to remove the sugar peppercorn mixture. Again pat dry with paper toweling both top and bottom..
    • Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet by covering it with foil. Set a rack to fit the baking sheet on top.
    • Place the salmon on the rack and refrigerate uncovered until the surface looks shiny and lightly glazed, about 2 hours.

    for gas grill smoking

    • Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over very low heat, about 225°F. See my notes above for how to set a gas grill for indirect heat.
    • Add 1 handful of wood chips to a smoker box and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, place the rinsed and dried salmon fillet skin-side down over indirect heat.
    • Close the lid. Maintain 225°F throughout the smoke. Cook until salmon is firm to the touch and has a golden brown sheen. It should be slightly pink all the way to its middle, about 1 hour.

    for charcoal grill smoking

    • Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking over very low heat, about 225°F. Add 1 wood chunk such as hickory or pecan to the charcoal and replace the lid.
    • When the wood begins to smoke, place salmon fillet skin-side down over indirect heat.
    • Replace the lid. Maintain 225°F throughout the smoke. Cook until salmon is firm to the touch and has a golden brown sheen. It should be slightly pink all the way to its middle, about 1 hour.

    for a traditional smoker

    • Prepare a traditional smoker for indirect cooking over very low heat, about 225°F. If using a barrel smoker, ensure water pan is full once coals are lit. Add 1 wood chunk such as hickory or pecan to the charcoal and replace the lid.
    • When the wood begins to smoke, place salmon fillet skin-side down over indirect heat or in the case of a barrel smoker, directly on the cooking grate.
    • Replace the lid. Maintain 225°F throughout the smoke. Cook until salmon is firm to the touch and has a golden brown sheen. It should be slightly pink all the way to its middle, about 1 hour.

    for a stovetop smoker or electric smoker * cook time drops with these appliances to approximately 30 minutes

    • Follow the manufacturers instructions for smoking fish. Pay close attention as the cooking time is reduced by half.

    Notes

    The biggest tip I can impart to you is to start with the BEST side of salmon you are able to purchase. Price does NOT represent quality. Know: when the fish was caught, if it was wild or farmed, if farmed what it was fed, waters of origin, and if it's been on ice for a few days or more than a week. FRESH IS BEST.
    If you plan to use portions of the salmon you are smoking for later recipes, I recommend first adding the salmon to a container and wrapping the container in plastic. Fish wrapped directly in plastic can acquire a slimy film.
    After smoking, the salmon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Frozen, it will last up to 1 month.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 9506mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

    Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.