How to Smoke Salmon

Produced by Marcus Weiner

“Best salmon ever!” Now, that’s what we like to hear. In the Pacific Northwest and especially, Alaska, salmon are seasonally abundant. With generous limits on certain species, it’s super easy to have salmon a multitude of ways. Smoked salmon seems to be everyone’s favorite. But how to smoke salmon is a question frequently asked. The good news is it’s not rocket science. With well-cared-for fish, a Big Chief or Little Chief smoker, and some basic ingredients you probably already have in the house, you can make your own “best salmon ever.” This “How to Smoke Salmon” video by publisher Marcus Weiner shows you everything you need to know—even his own personal-favorite brine recipe. 

Keep in mind that you can smoke anything, but the old phrase, Garbage in, garbage outapplies. Start with good quality fish for the best results. To ensure good quality salmon for the smoker, bonk the fish as soon as you bring it in the boat. A single, well-place whack between the eyes is enough; youre trying to stun the fish, not kill it. You want the fishs heart to still be beating. Then bleed your fish, and keep it cold from then until you are ready to brine the salmon. If you are going to freeze the salmon prior to smoking, we recommend vacuum-packing it.

There are many smoked salmon brine recipes. The one Marcus uses in this video is simple and produces delicious smoked salmon. 

Little Chief and Big Chief smokers by Smokehouse Products are simple, affordable and effective fish smokers. With such generous limits in Alaska, we prefer the Big Chief. Marcuss tip on using Smokehouse ProductsDrying/Grilling Screens will make cleanup a breeze. We always use them when smoking fish. Theyre dishwasher safe, too. 

If your neighbor or a relative asks you how to smoke salmon, you can share the video with them so that they can learn how to smoke salmon, too. Smoked salmon is a tasty and easy appetizer, or can be added to a main dish like Chef Chris Lee’s Smoked Salmon Carbonara recipe.