Friday, October 8, 2021

Smoked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub

Hot smoked salmon with a lemon pepper mustard glaze absolutely melts in your mouth. Serve this flavorful dish as an easy appetizer or entree!

There are two different methods for smoking this tasty fish, but I prefer both the flavor and texture that come from hot smoking a filet.

If you aren’t a fan of the tangy glaze in this dish, I have another recipe that uses a simple spice blend instead.

Or, prepare your fish in the air fryer if you’re short on time. It won’t have that delicious smoky flavor, but it will be ready to eat in just 10 minutes!

Want to learn more about the difference between hot and cold smoking salmon? Keep reading to find out!

Smoked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub with a fork in it

Smoked Salmon - Tips and Tricks

  • Use kosher salt. Regular table salt can be iodized, which will add an unpleasant metallic flavor to the fish.
  • Prevent sticking. Be sure to lightly oil the smoker grates so you can remove the cooked filet without it tearing. Or, place the filet on a sheet of foil so it’s easier to transfer on and off the heat.
  • Keep an eye on the steam pot. It’s important to maintain a high level of moisture inside the smoker, so check it periodically and fill it with more water as needed.
  • Let it rest! This extra time allows the muscles to relax and the juices to redistribute throughout the filet, creating perfectly tender and juicy bites.
smoked salmon ingredients

Serving Suggestions

Hot smoked salmon can be served as an appetizer with crackers and cream cheese spread or as an entree with your choice of sides. It’s also delicious on salad with a tangy vinaigrette.

You could also flake some off and combine it with mayo or Greek yogurt for lunch. Eat it with crackers or make a sandwich with your favorite toasted bread.

hot smoked salmon with mustard smeared on it

What You’ll Need For This Recipe
  • Smoker - Wood pellet varieties allow extra flavor to be infused into whatever you’re smoking.
  • Your favorite wood chips - I love this blend and use it for just about everything.
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil if you don’t want to place the fish directly on the grates
  • Instant Read Thermometer - Insert the probe through the side into the thickest part of the filet for the most accurate reading.
smoked salmon with lemon pepper seasoning

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

How do I store smoked salmon?

Once it has rested, wrap the filet in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

It will easily last up to 3 weeks if vacuum packed. You can also freeze it for up to a year, then thaw it in the refrigerator before serving.

Is there a specific wood I should use?

Not particularly. Fruit woods (like cherry or apple) tend to pair really nicely with fish, but each variety lends its own unique flavor.

hot smoked salmon on a sheet pan

What’s the difference between hot and cold smoking salmon?

As you could guess from the name, the temperature! The method is essentially the same, but the difference in temperature determines the texture of the fish.

Hot smoked salmon is cooked above 120°F, creating a flaky texture (similar to baking) and a noticeable smoky flavor.

Instead, cold smoking the fish creates a smoother, silkier texture with a fresher and less smoky flavor.


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smoked salmon with a fork in it on a plate - wide

Yield: 4
Author: Donna Elick
Smoked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub

Smoked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub

Hot smoked salmon with a lemon pepper mustard glaze absolutely melts in your mouth. Serve this flavorful dish as an easy appetizer or entree!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 2 MinInactive time: 8 HourTotal time: 8 H & 12 M


  • 3 pound salmon filet
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
For Smoking
  • Water
  • Wood chunks or chips, pre-soaked, or pellets (whichever your smoker uses)


  1. Check the filet to make sure all of the pin bones have been removed.
  2. Make sure the salmon filet is clean and pat dry.
  3. Prepare the flesh side of the salmon with mustard and season generously with the salt and lemon pepper seasoning.
  4. When the salmon is ready, put a light coating of oil on the salmon skin or spray the grates with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the grates. You can also place the salmon on a sheet of aluminum foil (I like to do this so I can just grab the foil when I’m removing the filet from the smoker and I don’t have to worry about tearing the fish)
  5. Smoke the salmon for about 90 minutes at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Once it has reached temp, carefully remove the salmon from the smoker. Allow the salmon to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Rub close up

Originally published October 2021

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