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Smoking Salmon – Pellet Grill – Help

  • fishthumper
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 7868

    I have really been craving some smoked fish, and have wanted to try to smoke some on my pellet grill for awhile now. I think this may be the weekend to give it a try. I have a few questions:

    Since I’m going to need to buy salmon to do it, What is the best salmon to smoke?
    What is the best wood type to use?

    feel free to share any recipes you have, any tips, or Info. you care to share.

    Joe Jarl
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 1215

    This thread I’ll be following!

    Posts: 566

    I do the steelhead from Costco pretty often, real good. The regular salmon is good too. I go with a lighter smoke, cherry, pecan type of pellet. Or a mild blend is good. Find a good brine, I think that is the key!!! Add maple syrup to the brine for sure!

    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 7868

    Watching a few video’s. Seems like some prefer a wet brine and others prefer a dry brine. Overall the process looks rather easy. Seems a lot of people are using apple for the wood type.
    I stopped by Costco at lunch and check out salmon options. They had King, Coho, and wild sockeye. The wild caught Sackeye was by far the deepest red coloring. The king was rather pale looking to me. I remember when the fishing was real good on Lake Michigan. We were doing several charter trips a summer. Back then I had freezers full of salmon and these days I’m looking at 20.00 a Lb. at costco.
    Ouch !!!

    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts: 293

    I think the main thing when trying to smoke fish is to make sure you get a “pellicle” formed after you brine them. After your brine them you want to pat them dry and let them rest for a while for this to form. You want the fish to be sticky and this is what the smoke will stick to.

    Posts: 12654

    I would definitely recommend a sweet wood like apple for fish. Fish is so delicate it will taste like trash if you use anything strong. I havent done Salmon, but that is what I would suggest.

    Karry Kyllo
    Posts: 927

    I like a dry brine and prefer Chinook aka King or Atlantic salmon over sockeye or coho for smoking but that’s just me and everyone’s tastes are different. They’re all darn good smoked.
    As far as pellets, my favorite smoke flavor for smoking fish is Alder. Salmon is really easy to smoke on a pellet grill and there are a ton of recipes online.

    cold spring mn
    Posts: 7897

    Here’s the brine I use to smoke salmon from Costco, northern Pike and chicken and turkey legs. I can use the brine for 2 batches.

    I’m a big hickory wood fan

    1. IMG_20230323_162041500-scaled.jpg

    Gregg Gunter
    Posts: 518

    Agree with Kerry. Alder is the best. It’s what is native to salmonids country and has been the go to for thousands of years. We always stopped on the North Shore for smoked whitefish as a kid.

    Posts: 80

    Alder is going to give the “traditional” smoked fish flavor.
    I would use alder way before any other wood.

    Apple, cherry, alder or any combination of the 3 would be tasty also.
    Those 3 seem to mix well.

    Jimmy Jones
    Posts: 688

    I’m in line with alder or apple. I have some Lake Trout in the freezer than will soon be getting done with cherry wood smoke. Salmon, stream Trout or Lake trout will all do better with a sweet wood, but alder is the traditional wood.

    Posts: 40

    You don’t need a fancy recipe. 1 cup canning salt per gallon of cold water. Brine for 8_10 hrs then pat dry and let dry and hr or till tackie. Can use wood you like but you won’t beat maple. Can coat it with maple syrup part way threw smoking for salmon candy. I don’t have to buy it much because I have a neighbor who I do it for half . Been smoking for 45 years and this is what I like best

    Eau Claire, WI
    Posts: 875

    This will give you everything you need to know, I use this for salmon and trout.

    Smoked Trout

    Posts: 1456

    Dont over-complicate. I’ve tried many recipes and keep coming back to the simple dry brine of 1-part sea salt (or kosher) to 4 parts brown sugar. Mix up enough to completely cover your fish – like you’re burying someone in sand at the beach – and put it in the fridge overnight. You’ll notice your dry brine will now be a wet brine. It’s unbelievable how much moisture it draws out of your fish.

    Dont rinse the fish after brining, simply wipe off the excess brine with your fingers, kinda like a squeegee. Then let it rest at room temp for a couple hours so the pellicle forms (a thin crust).

    then smoke with Alder, Apple or Maple. Here’s the cherry on top – heat up some honey in a small pot on the stove so it becomes thinner. Brush it on your salmon the last 15 minutes of the smoke and sprinkle some course ground black pepper on it as well. This not only makes your salmon practically glow and look like something better than what you see at Morey’s, but the flavor will absolutely blow you away.

    Go Spuds
    Posts: 135

    I basically follow ThunderLund’s process to a T—as far as smoke-I like Alder or a Alder/Sugar Maple combo-

    Never tried on my pellet grill–but Ive done it on the weber kettle and weber smokey mountain many times–
    Smoked a bunch from our vacay to AK last summer-Have fun!

    Gregg Gunter
    Posts: 518

    Oh yeah, sugar maple would be good. That reminds me…

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