Honey Smoked Salmon

Discussion in 'Fish' started by smoketrax, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Now first I should just disclaim I know many people may prefer differend techniques I share this one because I believe it it a little unique and I have used it for 4 years now as my sole smoked salmon recipe and have never heard a bad review. Well at least not to my face.

    I know many many people prefer a brine for salmon, personally I always use a dry rub, not sure why i chose this way but the results have always really supported it to me.

    I start with a very simple setup:

    1 C salt

    11/2 C brown sugar

    1/2 C White sugar

    2 TB fresh ground pepper. (I am sure that ground peper in any form is fine.)

    1 tsp Cayanne

    1/4 tsp ground cumin

    2 TBS minced garlic

    2 large salmon filets Skin on

    Optional- 6 pieces star anise ground with a morter and pestel. This add's a licoriche hint that is unique but many people fint the taste irritating.

    once the dry rub it mixed I simply mound the entire top of the salmon with it keeping as even thickness as I can, I will sometimes add more brown sugar as I like the rub to completely cover and pink of the salmon. I then set the salmon into a drying tray on an edges cookie sheet and just rest it in my fridge for a min of 12 hours but anything up to 24 should be no problem. Now ehen i remove the salmon from the fridge all of the rub has become moist and now shows the dark brown os the wet brown sugar. This should be washed off in the sink under ice cold water. The outside of the fish now had a stiffness and i just lightly brush as much rub as i can from the fish with my fingers. Since this is not an exact science I try not to be overly picky about some pepper or sugar flecks on the fish. While i let the fish air dry I start my smoker. I have a small square brinkman job that they no longer produce and it usually takes 20 minutes to get my charcoal base and water pan ready which gives the fish time to air dry on my counter.

    I like my smoker to sit right around 180-190 degrees and I wrap my grilling racks with foil before I set my fish inside.

    With my smoker now setup I do my final step on the fish. I spoon about 3 tablespoons of honey onto each filet. I use a basting brush or a spoon to gently coat the entire top of the fish with a thin layer of honey which I then grind pepper over. The amount of peper you use should be done to taste I like to do one filet with only a slight sprinkle and do the second with a heavy coat but you may differ.

    After all of this I set my salmon into the smoker. I smoke it for an average of 7 hours and wait for an internal temp of 145-150 with the intent that the honey seals the outer layer and it usually increases about 10 degrees even after removal. The nice side effect of the honey is it really locks the rub into the salmon with the moisture. The outside is slightly stiff and firm but the inside falls apart with tenderness and flavor. I usually end up giving most of my salmon away, as it is smoked for other people. (I smoked 160 lb's last year 4 filets at a time) I use a foodsaver to seal it with the skin on but after it cools and you refridgerate it to around 40 F you can just peel the skin off.

    I hope I'm not to longwinded and my horrible typing skills have not interferred. As I just smoked 36 lbs last week and failed to take pictures I will add some when I smoke my next salmon.

    Good Smoking, I hope this helps or intrigues someone.


    Edit: So much for making a perfect and neat first post.... Hickory wood I smoke my salmon with hickory....
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Nick, Your recipe sounds great. I am filings for future reference. I have done Dry Cure as well and think it works great. It is especially great at firming the fish and killing any bacteria. Your temps sound good but I am a little surprised it is taking 7 hours to get to 145*F. I trust your Thermometers are accurate? Oh well it is what it is, I've seen some crazy things happen when Smoking. Looking forward to some pics...JJ
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  3. Well 7 hours is more approximate for me but I get most of my fish from an indian buddy on the reservation on the colombia river, and usually I smoke 12 lb filets with the foul underneath they tend to take a lot longer with a 3"deep filet but i like the look in the end result.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    12 Pound... 3" Filets!!!! Holy Smokes...That is some Sweet A$$ Salmon! No wonder it takes awhile! Very cool, I would love to see your next Smoke of them Bad Boys!...[​IMG]...JJ
  5. Should be just a week or so, waiting for the big ones to swim the rivers up here. honestly it's all sue to the fisherman, you can get some wonderful salmon from the colombia up here but the best spots are on the reservations so only the natives can fish em.
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am also one of those guys who always uses a dry rub on my salmon. I am going to give a wet brine a shot one of these times though just so I have a comparison and who knows maybe I will like it better.
  7. Sounds good and thanks for sharing the recipe. 12 lb 3" thick salmon...wonderful!
  8. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Sounds tasty. I've never tried honey before. Those sound like some beastly Sal's. I'd love to see some pics if you have any! Are you fly fishing or spin casting? Sounds like  a blast, any steelhead?  Upload some fishing pics!!!

  9. kadoka

    kadoka Smoke Blower

    Nice 1st post Nick.Luv to see pics soon. BTW your invited to my house anytime 
  10. Thanks for the recipe it is filed away to be tried!! Can't wait to see pics of those fillets!!
  11. This recipe looks really good. I am smoking a bunch of salmon this weekend and I am going to use this recipe.
  12. I used that recipe and the salmon turned out wonderful.
  13. cowboyup2u

    cowboyup2u Newbie

    That recipe sounds really good.I cant wait to try it out.

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