Learn How To Smoke Salmon In An Electric Smoker (Smoked Salmon Recipes Included)

smoked salmon recipe

When it comes to smoking salmon, even the most veteran electric smoker advocates take to online guides to find the best recipes and approaches to smoking the perfect salmon. Including me! But I found its impossible to find a great thorough guide in one spot!

But I smoke salmon often in my smoker.

Like, really often.

Some recipes I have tried come out great. While others were more than just a little bit disappointing. Which is the reason why I decided to list some of the best recipes, and approaches to smoking the perfect smoked salmon in one place.

It’s much easier than you think and you don’t even have to go in search of tips and recipes. Below you’ll find everything in one easy checklist: Everything from deboning tips to scrumptious salmon recipes for your electric smoker.

Here’s how:

How To Prepare Your Salmon

This part you’ll do the day before you want to smoke salmon. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy.

Step 1: Clean The Salmon

Clean the Salmon

  • Debone The Salmon – You’ll find deboned salmon easily and while it’s more expensive it makes for even more effortless preparation. Believe me, deboning salmon takes some time and skill and it’s unnecessary to put yourself through that effort.
  • Rinse The Salmon
  • Pad It Dry
  • Check For Bones

Step 2: Apply Brine

Prepare the brine and apply to the salmon

First, mix 2 cups of sugar for every one cup of Kosher salt.

Place a thick layer of salt on the bottom of a tray

Layer the salmon pieces one on top of the other, like this:

Salmon and Sugar Mix copy

The most important is the sugar: salt ratio which should be 2 cups of sugar for every 1 cup of Kosher salt.

Step 3: Place Your Salmon In The Fridge

    • Plastic wrap the tray. Try and get as much air our as possible
    • Place the Salmon in the fridge for 8 hours.
    • Take out and rinse off the brine!
    • Put non-stick sprey on rack and place salmon on top
    • Let Salmon sit for another two hours

    Now the Salmon is ready 🙂

    Prepare The Smoker

    Is Your Smoker Clean?

    Smoking meat is fun and easy but it requires you to be particular during each step. Cleaning an electric smoker is one of them.

    Make sure all the pieces of left over from your previous smokings are removed. These will affect how your fish will taste and you don’t want that pure flavor of salmon ruined.

    Also, if you haven’t gotten an electric smoker yet, check out this comparison post I put together. Also, here’s one for pellet smokers – they do the job just as well, will a slightly different process.

    Pick Your Wood Chips Carefully

    Pairing is essential when it comes to smoking meat. Fish is one of those meats you can’t be too harsh with so pick milder woods:

    • Cherry wood because sweetness goes well with salmon
    • Fruit tree chips add lovely flavors
    • Alder wood
    • Pecan wood
    • Hickory

    It’s ideal to use more than one type so you get the benefit of multiple flavors in your meat.

    Minimize Your Mess

    Place foil in your drip tray as well as on the floor in front of the smoker. This makes for quick clean up when your meat is done.

    The Smoking Process

    You can see this is a lengthy process since you’re already preparing the day before. But that doesn’t mean it’s complicated, right? On the day, here’s all you have to do:

    • Step 1: Cut the fish into serving sizes
    • Step 2: The Smoker – Take out the rack. Then turn on the smoker and light the wood chips. Wait until it reaches 150°F. Also wait for the smoke to start billowing out because the amount of smoke affects the outcome of the Salmon.
    • Step 3: The Fish – Place the salmon fillets on the smoker’s rack with some space left open around each piece. Work fast when you open the smoker’s door and place the rack inside. You don’t want the heat to escape.
    • Step 4: Cooking time – Your salmon can take about 2 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the pieces.
    • Step 5: Brush Marinade – When you have about 30 minutes left on your smoke time, apply the marinade on top (see below for different marinade options).
    • Step 6: After two hours you are done 🙂

    The Marinade

    There are many different flavors that go well with salmon. Here’s a common favorite recipe you can try.

    Marinade option that’s my favorite: Apricot Jam – Pre melted in the microwave

    Other recipes for marinading your Salmon:

    It’s time to eat!

    Taste The Smoked Salmon!

    If it will help to see all of this in action before you give it a try, watch this video.

    See? It’s quite simple, especially with an electric smoker that does half the job for you. You just need to keep a close eye on the process so do this on a day that’s all about relaxing: Just sit by your smoker, enjoy the aromas and make five start food.

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