Hot Smoked Salmon Technique - Chef Pete's version


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
I had a side of salmon in my freezer for sometime and was not sure how to prepare it. Over the past couple months ChefTalk has (with the help of our platform partners Community Hired ) upgraded our articles. That is when I found something from the archives from Chef P pete

Making Hot Smoked Salmon

Pretty much followed his technique just changed up the brine herb a bit. I would love to hear other's technique and tips on hot smoking salmon. In particular what ratio do you use for your brine and how long do you brine and smoke?

I threw some star anise in my brine

Whole side of salmon I get from Aldi they have great prices on fresh salmon believe it or not!

Salmon gets a salty sweet bath (a little over an hour)

After the brine it went into the fridge to dry and I put some dry spices on.

The next day I put it in the smoker

I smoked it for about 30 minutes

Like P pete I got distracted and let is smoke a little too long but it still tasted great

Joined Nov 5, 2007
Very nice! I hot smoked a huge 5 - 6 pound slab of salmon for some summertime BBQ party some years ago, served with a tart and spicy apple and red onion chutney. About 90% of the fish was gone within the first half hour of it sitting on the table. Unfortunately I think the only copy of the recipe I used was on the old wasatchfoodies website, and I've not yet been able to extract the recipes forum from there out of the old database yet.

Anyway, salmon has been on my mind the last couple of days. I was looking for a picture of something and saw this one:


Pretty sure that is some tea cured salmon with hand whisked mayo on it. As I recall this was a really good plate, and has me wanting to do more salmon.

Thanks for the additional inspiration!



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Joined Mar 29, 2002
I don't brine, I do a brown sugar, salt, black pepper cure for four hours. Rinse. Then smoke for two hours at 250. I like how the cure and longer smoke firms it up as the shorter times are mushy to my taste.

I skip the booze and smoke longer.
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Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Nicko, awesome job!!! The great thing about hot smoking salmon is even if you slightly overcook it, with the brine and natural fattiness it can still come out moist and not dry. I also really like the addition of the star anise.
Joined Mar 1, 2017
I have to agree......the salmon at Aldi's is quite good...probably the best in terms of quality and price you're going to find outside of a fish monger.

I prefer a minimalist approach to hot smoking salmon. Generous salt and pepper and let the grill and smoke do the rest. 30-35 minutes at around 300-325 for a 1.5 in thick filet with a beautiful Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner or even a light, fruity Pinot Noir.

Cheers! :)
Joined May 5, 2010
Great pics nicko. I have been smoking fresh Lake Huron Kings for more than 20 years.
I make a vodka cold smoked salmon that people go ga-ga for.
Although I brine and smoke 10-12 sides at once my basic recipe includes:
2 cups Kosher Salt,
4 gallons water,
2 1/2 cups vodka,
1 thinly sliced yellow onion,
3 garlic cloves smashed,
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns,
and 1 cup white sugar

My brining time depends on the thickness of the sides. Some can be quite thick. About 2-2 1/2 hours
After rinsing, I place them on trays set on a table with a fan blowing on them to form the pellicle.
Since I cold smoke, the process can take as long as 5 days. I have a free-standing smokehouse. Every one of those 5 days, I'm up at the crack of dawn to re-kindle the fire from the day before. I have no temperature controls, so experience showed me the best way.
I'll bet if I had a small home size smoker, I'd screw it up the first few times.

Cheers Chef
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Nicko, I do mine like Phatch. The only difference is I brine overnight. the most important thing is to make sure the salmon temp gets up to 155 degrees. In my case when I get some smoke on the salmon I wrap it all in alum foil and pop it in the oven to get to the 155 degrees. This way it steams a bit and doesn't stay in the dry heat to finish. I heat seal the portions and freeze. They last a long time this way.......Great job on yours it looks wonderful......I also use a Bradley smoker....... Smoked for 1hr and 20 min at 120 degrees and 1 hr at 140 degrees.

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Joined Nov 5, 2007
I'll bet if I had a small home size smoker, I'd screw it up the first few times.

It can take some getting used to. I have an old offset barrel.


Back when I was doing a vintage sports car racing club, I'd haul it out to events to cook up some good eats.

For cold smoking I put a small electric hot plate in the firebox, put some wood chinks in an old frying pan and set them on the heat. I get the smoldering going with a propane torch, the hot plate only has enough power to keep it going, not enough to start the process. It is simple, straightforward and produces good results. Tomatoes, chilis, and the block of Stilton blue cheese I did was *fantastic*.

ANyway, when I hosted the monthly challenge with 'Wood" as the theme I was hoping to see more fish, both hot and cold smoked. I remember as a kid in southwest Michigan that when my dad went on business trips to Chicago he would often come back with a few packages of smoked chub. I was only 7 or 8 years old then, didn't know the difference between hot or cold, but I do know that he and I were the only two in the family that ate it!

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