This is a hot smoked salmon recipe that’s slowly cooked in a pellet grill or electric smoker that has been drizzled in sweet soy sauce for a truly indulgent experience.
This hot-smoked salmon is delicious and so versatile that you will be making this recipe again and again. It is cooked in a hot smoking process that can layer be served cold as well.
This is the best smoked salmon recipe because it’s so versatile that you can impress guests with delicious pasta, add luxury to your salads, or simply add to a crostini for a fancy appetizer.
I use Pit Boss pellet smoker for my salmon and each time I have been really impressed with the results. Not only does the wild salmon tail have a gorgeous sticky glaze, but it is also juicy, flaky, and full of smoke flavor. The popular Traeger smoker pellet grill works very similarly.
Depending on what wood pellets you use will vary the flavor immensely. The best wood pellet flavor is apple in my opinion because it adds a hint of sweetness. The original pellet flavor is also good for this salmon as it is already so rich in flavor and a plain smoky flavor only enhances the salmon. I have also used cherry wood pellets and that was a favorite for the boys.
You may have noticed I also use the saw in this recipe in my oven-baked salmon recipe. We love it serving the sweet and salty sauce on salmon and it’s a favorite go-to flavor.
Salmon is one of the best sources of protein and is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be good to ease inflammation and help prevent heart disease. Salmon is also low in saturated fat content and cholesterol.
Ultimately hot smoked salmon is good for you. With the recommendation to have one serving of oily fish per week, this crowd-pleasing recipe could be the answer. However, the excess salt from the soy sauce, brining, or other sauces added to salmon can make them unhealthy.
- Frozen or Fresh Salmon, thawed
- Brown Sugar
- Black Pepper
- Soy Sauce
How Long to Thaw Frozen Salmon
If you are using frozen salmon, thaw it in cold water to avoid adding too much heat. Most seafood is delicate when it comes to heat and can begin to cook in hot water.
How Much Per Person
Generally, 4 ounces is an adequate portion per person. If you use a 1.5-pound salmon tail in this recipe it should serve 4 people with a little left over for a snack.
How long does it take to smoke salmon?
The smoking process does not take too long. I preheat my Pit Boss pellet smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on how thick the thickest part of the fish is. The trick is to cook it at a lower temperature so that it does not cook too fast and overcook the salmon fillet.
Cooking it at a higher temperature would cause it to cook too quickly on the outside and the thickest part would be undercooked.
Usually, a 2-pound salmon will take around 40 minutes. A lot of recipes brine smoked salmon. All in all, it can take up to an hour and a half with the cooling down time.
How to Smoke Salmon in an Electric Smoker
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees. You can use apple, cherry, or pecan pellets/wood chips (my personal favorite for this recipe is apple.)
- Clean the salmon and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Rub the flesh side of the salmon with the dry rub.
- Oil the smoker grates or wire rack or use a baking sheet if you are worried about sticking.
- Place salmon skin side down directly on the oiled grates and cook until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- To check for doneness without an internal thermometer, peel back a few layers of salmon to see that the center is no longer translucent. It also flakes nicely with a fork when it’s done.
- Remove from the smoker and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- While it rests, make the sauce. Combine brown sugar and soy sauce in a microwave-safe small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and cook for an additional 15-20 seconds until the sugar is dissolved and well blended.
- Drizzle the sauce over top of the salmon for a delicious sweet and salty flavor.
How to Tell When It’s Done
My recommendation is to treat yourself to an internal meat thermometer, they are easy to use and take away any confusion. If you have one, once the internal temperature of the fish has reached 140 degrees the smoked salmon is done.
To check if the smoked salmon is properly cooked without a food thermometer, simply peel back the layers to check that it is no longer translucent and inside the salmon’s natural layers flake under your fork.
How to Serve Smoked Salmon
Slice it into salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each, and drizzle the brown sugar sauce over top.
Hot smoked salmon can be reheated and is great in pasta dishes. You can also serve it hot in a bowl with rice, vegetables, and toasted sesame seeds. It can also be refrigerated and served cold for other recipes like cold smoked salmon crostini appetizers.
My husband’s favorite way to eat smoked salmon is with smoked cream cheese on a cracker.
How to Serve Smoked Salmon with Crackers
As I mentioned, my husband loves having hot smoked salmon on crackers, it can be his midnight snack of choice. He sometimes likes to keep it simple and add a little smoked cream cheese and just flake the salmon on top of the crackers.
Try adding a slice of avocado to a cracker and then add a little of the salmon on top with a squeeze of lemon… it’s heaven.
For some truly tasty treats, I like to mix some of the hot smoked salmon, with a little cream cheese, mayo, and a squeeze of lemon. The quantities are personal preference, I tend to have 2 parts salmon to 1 part cream cheese and 1 part mayo. Mix it all together and spread it onto crackers.
If you want to elevate this you can add a few capers, add a splash of hot sauce and sprinkle paprika on top. This also works well as a dip for breadsticks or carrot sticks. Oh and as always, this salmon is always amazing when a squeeze of lemon is added!
What to Eat with Smoked Salmon
This mouth-watering salmon is so versatile I can’t imagine there are many dishes it wouldn’t improve upon. Depending on what pellets you use in your smoker it can have a subtle array of different flavors. Let’s look into some of my favorite ways to showcase this recipe.
- Scrambled eggs with hot smoked salmon and spinach (stir in a dollop of yogurt once the eggs are off the heat) and add a squeeze of lemon.
- Salmon Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- Breadcrumb caesar salad with salmon instead of chicken
- Smoked salmon Fettuccine Alfredo (my Olive Garden copycat recipe!)
- Simply add to mac and cheese
My personal favorite is a lemony creamy pasta as the citrus really highlights the beautiful flavor of the salmon, and the creamy pasta works well with this hot smoked salmon. Pasta is also a good choice if you are having wine with this as it pairs beautifully.
There are so many dishes you can add this smoked salmon and they will become an instant favorite. I love my smoker so much and keep making this recipe as it is a proper crowd-pleaser.
What Wine Goes with Smoked Salmon
You will want to pair it with a full-bodied white wine and to truly highlight the subtle flavors of the smoked salmon choose an oak-aged wine. Chardonnay, Marsanne, or a White Rioja work well.Go for a sparkling rosé too to get the most out of the rich smoked flavors, most rosé sparkling wines will pair well. If you see sparkling rosé with Garnacha or Pinot Noir I would choose them.
How to Store Smoked Salmon
You can store hot smoked salmon in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. If you can vacuum seal it, this is the best option. You can wrap it in plastic wrap or use a zip-lock bag. If freezing, separate it out into individual portions and place them into freezer bags.
How long does smoked salmon last in the fridge?
Smoked salmon will last up to a week in a fridge and 6 months in a freezer. I like to separate out salmon filet portions and freeze them so I can defrost them overnight and serve the hot smoked salmon with scrambled eggs in the morning. It’s a good way to impress guests without much effort.
It also works well for meal prep for the whole week. Add in a side of veggies or rice pilaf and it’s great to eat at lunch every day.
How To: Easy Smoked Salmon Recipe in Electric Smoker
- 2 pounds Whole Salmon Fillet
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees. Use apple,cherry, or pecan pellets/wood chips.
- Clean salmon and pat dry.
- In a bowl, combine brown sugar,salt, and pepper. Rub flesh side of salmon with dry mixture.
- Place the salmon directly on the smoker grates and cook until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- To check for doneness without aninternal thermometer, peel back a few layers of salmon to see that the center is no longer translucent. It also flakes nicely with a fork when it’s done.
- Remove from smoker and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While it rests, make the sauce. Combine brown sugar and soy sauce in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and cook an additional 15-20 seconds until sugar is dissolved and well blended.
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