Smoked Salmon Recipe

While dreaming of the upcoming summer months I have been thinking about fish and new ways to prepare them.  We recently looked at some smoked recipes.  We don't have a smoker and wanted to try smoking salmon or trout on our gas barbecue grill.  We found a few different recipes and created our own from a combination of them.  Here is what we settled on for a smoked salmon recipe:

Ingredients for the brine:
3 salmon fillets, approx 1lb. total
1qt. water
Plain salt: 3/8 cup
Brown sugar:  3/8 cup
Old Bay seasoning:  3 teaspoons
Garlic:  2 teaspoons
Basil, oregano, parsley to taste-  2 “shakes”
Your choice of wood chips, we used Hickory

The first step it to make the brine.  The brine is an important step in the smoking process.  The salts and sugar in the brine help to allow the fish to dry as cooks while still retaining the moist flavor.  The brine will serve like a marinade to soak the fish in prior to smoking.
To get the brine started boil ¼ of the total water in a covered pot.  Once boiling remove from heat and add all the spices other than salt and brown sugar.  Let steep for ten minutes.  After ten minutes mix with the rest of the water, salt and brown sugar.  Marinate fish fillets in this brine for about an hour.  

While the fish is in the brine, soak 4-5 cups of wood chips in water for an hour.  Then wrap the wood chips in foil and poke some holes in the top.  I set the grill up with the grate out of one side.  I placed the foil packet of wood chips directly over the left burner.  I started the burner under the wood chips about fifteen minutes before the fish was done in the brine.
Once the hour is over and you are ready to put the fish on the grill remove it from the brine and rinse it in tap water.  Then carefully set the fillets on the grate being careful that they don't fall apart.
We placed them on the right side of the grill on foil to reduce sticking.  I also used a meat thermometer in the thickest piece of fish to monitor the internal temperature.
I used the built in thermometer to keep the grill temperature around 225 degrees.  This required some adjustment through out the cook time due to winds and the woods chips catching on fire a couple times.  I was aiming for a internal meat temperature of about 165 degrees.  Over all it took about 90 minutes for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

The salmon finally finished.

The final salmon turned out great!  It had a very distinct flavor that gave it much more character than just a normal baked salmon.  We served it up with some scalloped potatoes and okra.  If you want to give this recipe a try remember that you can adjust the taste by leaving the fish in the brine longer, or rinsing it off in tap water before placing it on the grill.
Happy Smoking!


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