Monday, November 7, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon

My brother-in-law went fishing on the Kenai River this summer and brought home his limit of beautiful Kenai River Reds (sockeye).  I have enough to keep me in salmon for the winter.  My husband, on the other hand, really won't eat it.  He said he ate more than his share growing up.  There is one way he will eat it - smoked.  I am amazed every time I make this, it is so easy.

My brother-in-law had all the fish filleted and vacuumed sealed in packages.  They are beautiful.  You can see the little pile of bones in the top right hand side of the picture.  It is so important to take the 3 minutes it takes to pull those bones, you don't want anyone to get one caught in their throat!

 Grab a pair of tweezers and pull them out one at a time, they are all in a row and you can feel them with your finger if you can't see them.  In this fillet, the bones are easy to see and they were easy to pull.

Just a quick brine, you don't want to brine fish too long.  Put it in the brine and then refrigerate.

Next is a hot smoke in the smoker (that part is Dave's job).  During the smoking process I sweep a sweet and spicy baste on the fish and it is wonderful!  I have smoked this in a cold smoker and then cooked it, but Dave has a hot smoker so it is all done in one step.  It is a quick process 2 hours to brine, half an hour to dry out a little and we smoke for 2 hours, you can do it longer or shorter, depends on your smoky level preference.

I use this smoked fish to mix with a cream cheese to make a smooth dip, crumble and toss on pasta, but my favorite way to eat it is just as is, maybe with some crackers.  I have made this for over 20 years and never get tired of it.

Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon:
Salmon Fillets
3 quarts cold water
1 1/2 c salt
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1Tbsp. whole white peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. each whole allspice and whole cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 cloves garlic peeled and split
Stir water through garlic well until sugar and salt dissolve.  Add fish and put in refrigerator for 2 hours.  Rinse fish, rub gently to remove salt.  Blot dry and let stand at room temp. 30 minutes until flesh feels tacky.

Put in smoker and brush with:
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cayenne (optional)
brush every 20-30 minutes until gone.

November 7,    Daylight 7 hours, 13 minutes, 30 sec.     Current Temperature 11ยบ F.


  1. What gorgeous fish! Love smoked salmon and your sweet and spicy recipe looks yummy. If you find yourself overrun with salmon, feel free to ship it south, like to our p.o. box.

  2. The Eric boy is coming home on Friday. Since my wonderful sister brought us some salmon this is what I will be making before the big turkey day! Can't wait......

  3. Well tonight we had the salmon and it was awesome! Smoked it over coals and apple wood chips. This is a great recipe!

  4. Thank you for this! This is the best smoked salmon recipe I've tried!

    1. I'm glad you tried it. It is my all time favorite smoked salmon.

  5. Ditto here! Best recipe EVER! Thank you!

  6. I would like to try your recipe with a king salmon I caught in MI. Could you elaborate on the smoking temp. you use?

  7. Hello Dan,
    I have no idea about the temperature! We have a smoker, you can see it in the picture with my husband. We smoke it a couple of hours until it is done, we go by flake and taste to tell if it is done. Good luck, let me know how yours turns out.

  8. This recipe for Alaskan smoked salmon looks delicious! I'm excited to try out this recipe. I love eating smoked salmon. I've been craving it for the past week. I'm glad that you also posted instructions on how to make it, because I don't have very much cooking experience. These instructions will be very helpful so that I can prepare the salmon according to the recipe.

  9. Just looking at this makes my mouth water. I remember going on a fishing trip with my dad and grandpa as a little girl and they were able to give me the best fishing tips. Maybe I can use these tips to help teach my future children. Who knows, maybe they will turn into great cooks and cook the salmon they catch. Things like this make me happy.

  10. spicy yes, sweat no

  11. Hello Rinne,
    It was no sweat, but I do think the maple syrup makes it sweet! Adjust the amounts of maple syrup and cayenne to your liking.


Please leave a comment or share an idea. Hearing from you really brightens my day.