DIY Sensational Smoked Salmon

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I tend to BBQ a lot in the summer and love to spend time outdoors, whenever possible. This dish, could be created on the BBQ but I learned to make it on the stove-top, and that’s the way we do it ~ with great results. Here’s one we make every chance we get:
DIY Sensational Smoked Salmon. It’s SO good!

Fresh Smoked Salmon ~ wild!

Fresh Smoked Salmon with dilly yogurt, capers + Horseradish infused Cole Slaw **

Are you a fan of fresh fish? Maybe you are a great adventurer in the kitchen. Maybe you can manage ‘fish n’ chips’, if you’re like some of my friends, but are not fond of grilled or ‘whole fish’. Then there’s those fish heads!
This isn’t an issue for me, but as someone who enjoys a lot of fish, prepared different ways, I know I’ve found a winner — when this is a hit with everyone who has tried it. From the picky eater to the most daring, the response has been a unanimous “YUM”!!  Not a salmon fan? That’s fine. Try trout or another fish– with skin on, works best.

At first glance, this may sound like a very involved recipe. I’ve made it as straight-forward as possible, after making this many times, I’m hoping that you’ll try it…and send me any questions or feedback!

Here we go:


You will need:
1 Bamboo steamer (we used 9” for 2 portions and 12” for 4 portions)
A bag of wood chips (a 2lb bag will lasts us all season)
Hickory, Maple, Apple etc.
We have been using Hickory with great results.
Purchase salmon filets with skin on if possible – the thicker the better
NOTE: this recipe needs to be started at least 9 hours in advance.

1. Make a brine.
Add the following to a ceramic bowl or casserole dish.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 tbsp sea salt
3 cups hot water (not boiling water; hot enough to dissolve the sugar and salt. Not looking for poached salmon.

2. Place filets in the brine, skin side up. Place plate on top to keep the fish submerged. Allow the fish to be in the brine in the fridge for 8 hours minimum.

Then, about 2 hours before meal-time ~

Salmon in steamer skin side down

3. Remove the fish from the brine and immediately place in the steamer, skin side down. Leave in the steamer (with lid on or off) for 1 hour. Do not rinse the fish – just out of brine and into the steamer.

4. Line a pot with tin foil – a pot which will accommodate the steamer on top.. ie.. slightly bigger than the circumference of the steamer

5. Place 2 handfuls of wood chips (apple,hickory, maple etc.—we used hickory wood)  onto the foil in the pot.

6.Turn a burner on high.

7. Place pot on the burner. Watch carefully. When you see the smoke start to emit from the wood chips. If you gently blow on the wood chips and see red embers glowing, smoke increases…

Steamer on Pot with hickory chips

8. Add ½ cup of water and immediately place the bamboo steamer with lid on, directly on the wood chips for 30 minutes. Resist peeking as will allow steam to escape.

Almost done!

Almost done!

9. At 30 minutes, remove the entire steamer/lid onto a board and allow the fish to rest undisturbed in the steamer. At this point, you can sneak a peek! Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

10. At this point, you can serve it immediately if wanting to eat it hot or 30-40 minutes later as a warm dish.

Alternatively, it can be served at room temp or cold, later.

The skin probably will remain on the steamer (nature’s own non-stick remedy)

Fresh Smoked Wild Salmon

We have served it both ways. We have used wild salmon, wild pickerel, and wild trout, on different occasions.  This recipe seems to work best using firm fish with ‘skin on’.  For example, I wouldn’t choose sole or cod for this recipe.
ADDITIONALLY:  I normally add herbs, and capers when making this with salmon. Sometimes, time permitting, I make a herbed-cream cheese or herb-infused yogurt sauce.  It’s easy to do. Truthfully? This fish tastes so good that guests proclaim it to be THE best fish they’ve eaten.  I’ve even made this for friends who aren’t ‘fish eaters’ who have become ‘converts’! Try this special ‘kicked up’ cole slaw recipe from here.





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