How to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill
Smoked salmon is one of my favorite dishes that I make it at least once a week. My husband and my kids love it when I add new things and make my recipe. However, people’s tastes are different, and they smoke salmon in various ways; some of them are good. If you have a pellet grill, making new recipes with smoked salmon will be easy for you.
Smoked salmon on a pellet grill is the very easiest and freshest technique to get delicious food. You can make either hot smoking or cold smoking. After smoking it, you can eat it just plain or make it a smoked salmon salad, depending on your taste. Today I will give you a recipe for easy and tender smoked salmon.
- 1 How to Smoke Salmon On a Pellet Grill
- 2 Other Methods of Smoking Salmon (Hot Smoked & More)
Types of Salmon
Before making any dish, you need to know the types of salmon so you can make several styles and to achieve the height taste of smoked salmon fillet, cooking on a wood pellet grill is best. Farm-raised salmon are more significant than other salmon because they don’t do much work or hang out in the water.
Wild salmon have a natural habitat. They are leaner fish and very tasty when you smoked them. They will cook faster than farm-raised salmon.
Ingredients You Will Need for Smoking
- A wood pellet grill
- A box of kosher salt. Regular table salt will disturb the flavor of smoked salmon
- Something sweet ( if you are a sweet lover) like maple syrup or honey or sugar
- A large plastic container to use two different brine
- A wire rack
- A basting brush
- Black pepper
- One large side of salmon
- 1 tsp onion
- Olive oil
How to Smoke Salmon On a Pellet Grill
Cooking salmon on a pellet grill means enhancing the smoked salmon flavor, and it will be cooked quickly. If you can use the best wood pellet for smoking salmon, the heat will be perfect for the overall cooking. Then, you just have to maintain the recipe.
Wood pellets get hotter (with pat dry) quickly, and you can control the temperature of these electric grills as per your choice. Pellets only make little ash when it was burning the fish. It is free of flare-ups, uneven zones, etc.
Traeger smoker seems better to me. You can smoke salmon easily with it. The smoker automatically sets the exact temperature to make the salmon perfectly smoked. You can also increase or decrease the temperature (internal temp). Before using it, you need to prepare the salmon, which requires three steps, the cure, the dry brine, and the smoke.
The Cure for Smoked Salmon
You can either make the dry salmon cure or the wet cure. They both are the same thing. The cure is straightforward as you can add stuff with your choice. Add leaves, thyme, chiles, onion, and many more. For a wet cure, use sugar, salt, and water to deploy it.
The kosher salt will make the fish stay moist for a long time, and to boost the preservation, add sugar to it. Sugar also grows bacteria on salmon, so it can hold water and make the wet salmon cure. You do not need to add water to keep it wet. You can add vodka or apple cider vinegar to make it damp or brined cure.
Wet curing can make lots of flavors, but dry curing is best for preservation. However, it takes a little more time than a wet cure, and it only needs three ingredients like brown sugar, black pepper, and kosher salt to make the dry cure.
Just combine all the brine ingredients on a nonreactive container, lay your salmon fillet, put the half mixture on the top and the other half on the downside, the spread evenly. Wrap the salmon with plastic wrap, then keep it in a fridge for at least 8 to 12 hours.
Please do not keep it in the fridge for 48 hours; otherwise, the salmon will be too salty. Place a heavy can or bottle on the top to weigh down the fish.
Dry Brine Smoked Salmon Recipe
After 12 hours, take the fish out of the brine and let it dry out overnight. This smoked salmon recipe technique allows the wood pellet grill to cook the fish more efficiently.
Now rinse the dry cure mixture, then dry it and set it on the cooling rack. Do all these processes under the ceiling fan or in a cool area. Place the fish in the refrigerator overnight. This will make the salmon skin shiny, which is called the pellicle. It makes the fillet surface sticky, so when you smoke the fillet, it enhanced the taste.
Smoke the Salmon
Take the fillet from the refrigerator and slice the skin with some oil. The oil prevents stickiness when you put it on the smoker rack. Do not make this too hot to smoke the fish. Set the temperate at 225 Fahrenheit and smoke it for a maximum of 3 to 4 hours. First of all, make a small fire then increase the internal temperature gradually.
If you have fire enabled grill, set the low temperature to soak the smoky flavor from your salmon.
Preheat the grill and close the lid for 5 to 10 minutes. Put some water in your drip pan to keep the temperature mild to keep the internal temperature steady for a slow cook.
Remember, keep the skin side down and put the salmon directly on the grill grate. 1 hour later, pour some maple syrup or honey on the salmon. Keep repeating this process after every hour so that the fish won’t have albumin. Do not smoke the salmon at too high heat; otherwise, the fillet will bleed.
After the fish is smoked, let it rest for some time, then slice it thin and eat. You will surely enjoy it with your friends and family.
Flavorful Smoked Salmon
If you ever tried this recipe, then you will have a flavorful smoked salmon. You can use maple syrup with the skin slide with just the prep time of 15 mins for having one of the tastiest salmon. Some people would use lemon or orange flavors for different fragrances. My advice is to use a good smoothie blender and make them yourself for the raw flavor.
When the internal temperature reaches its limit, you will enjoy it with cream cheese and salmon fillet. Some people would increase the taste with a bit of sweet using brown sugar. My personal favorite is to avoid it.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Salmon at 225?
When you are done with cured and dried, smoke the fish at least 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using Traeger, it will take 3 to 4 hours to smoke completely. It also depends on the size of the salmon. If the size is 1 to 1.1/2 pounds, it will take roughly 1 hour.
Other Methods of Smoking Salmon (Hot Smoked & More)
There are many ways to smoke salmon, one of them is cold smoke. Cold smoke means you have to cook at lower than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, cold smoke is still not famous to the people, and there are possibilities to not properly cooked the inside of the fish if you are not careful enough.
It is only possible to cook a massive slice of hot smoking properly. The temperature should not be less than 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the hot smoked salmon. Also, you can reheat the hot smoked salmon and keep it in your fridge for a longer time.
Do You Have to Brine Salmon Before Smoking?
The curing and brining process depends on when you want to preserve it. If you brine the salmon before refrigerating it, it will be preserved for a long time in the fridge and won’t be going bad.
The fillet will absorb salt, and salt slows spoilage. Salt also draws out excess moisture and reduces at least 15% weight of the piece. It kills harmful bacteria so that the salmon will keep fresh for a long time.
Brine makes the salmon look reddish and glossy that increases the decoration looks. Less moisture means the fillet will be smoked perfectly. It also holds the natural flavor and saves the fillet from dry out.
How to Smoke Salmon Without a Smoker
It is possible to smoke salmon without a smoker properly. You can use oven smoking salmon techniques. Just wrap the foil to the baking tray and put the salmon on the wrack. Cover it with foil and set it at medium heat. However, it is not easy as a pellet grill; maintaining the perfect smoke is difficult here.