How to Smoke Salmon

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Wondering How to Smoke Salmon? This a simple way to enjoy a restaurant favorite on your smoker or on your grill. Try this smoked salmon recipe today.

There are so many easy ways to make salmon at home that I find myself making it more often. Have you had a chance to try this air fryer salmon with honey mustard glaze? It’s an absolute must.

Or, if you’d like another type of seafood, lemon garlic shrimp is bursting with flavor, truly better than any restaurant. A one-skillet meal, made in just 20 minutes!

smoked salmon on a plate

Smoked Salmon

This smoked salmon recipe is the type you cook on your smoker or grill, smoked to perfection. It’s not the type used in lox that you enjoy on bagels.

Sometimes people shy away from cooking salmon on a grill or smoker because they worry about it being too dry. If you follow my tips below, this salmon comes out moist and full of flavor.

Smoked Salmon ingredients

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Seasoned salmon

What is the best type of salmon to smoke?

The most important thing to look for when choosing salmon is that you get the freshest possible piece of fish. The salmon should not smelly fishy. And, the eyes should be relatively clear. 

  • Farm-raised salmon is raised in a farm or pen in the ocean. The fat content in this type of salmon is often higher and the fish itself is larger. This is the best type for smoking because the extra fat helps keep the salmon tender.
  • Wild salmon is caught on a line. It has spent its life in its natural habitat. This type of salmon is much leaner and will cook faster.

Just adjust your cooking time based on the type of salmon you choose.

Salmon on the smoker

How to make smoked salmon

Just follow this recipe for the best way to make salmon on your pellet grill.

  • Fill your pellet smoker with apple pellets.
  • Preheat smoker to 225°F.
  • Place your salmon on a tray. I like the marinade tray from William Sonoma. 
  • Using two paper towels, pat the salmon dry.
  • Combine the spices for the rub, whisking until well combined.
  • Cook the salmon until the internal temperature reads 145F. This will take about 55 minutes.
  • Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes before you serve it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Seasoned butter spooned over smoked salmon

What can I add to salmon for extra flavor?

When we take the salmon off the grill, we often drizzle a bit of seasoned butter over the top. Just add a bit of chopped chives and garlic to melted butter and add that to your salmon before you serve it.

How do you eat smoked salmon?

You can serve it as a filet for your main course at dinner. Or, you can flake it and make a salmon salad. Why not try it in your favorite seafood pasta salad instead of tuna or shrimp?

How do you store leftovers?

If you have leftover salmon, you can store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Choose a shallow container or wrap it with tin foil to keep it from drying out. Use your leftovers within 3 days.

If you want to keep it for longer than 3 days, you will need to freeze it. Cooked salmon can be frozen for up to three months as long as it has been wrapped tightly in tin foil.

Smoked salmon flecked

More recipes for your smoker

If you liked this smoked salmon recipe and want to try a few more, here are some of my favorites.

Smoked baked beans is the first of our smoker recipes! These tender beans with bacon are the perfect side dish! Make this recipe using any smoker.

Making a smoked baked potato is one of the easiest smoker recipes around! This recipe is a must-make; you’ll love the flavor of smoked potatoes!

Smoked tri-tip is flavorful, juicy, and so tender, it will melt in your mouth. Use this recipe to make beef tip roast on any type of smoker!

Smoked chicken quarters are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside. Make this smoker recipe using any type of smoker!


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piece of pink salmon on black fork

How to Smoke Salmon

Donna Elick
Smoked salmon is a simple way to enjoy a favorite restaurant dish. Try this smoked salmon recipe today for the most flavorful salmon ever.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Microwave, Smoker
Servings 8


  • 5 pounds salmon, 4-5 pounds


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Seasoned Butter

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed


  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Choose your favorite wood, I am using apple but you can use whatever you prefer. Using a mellow wood is best like oak, maple, pecan or alder. 
  • Unwrap your salmon and put it on a platter or if it is too big use a cookie sheet with sides. I like using the marinade tray from William Sonoma.
  • Take 2 paper towels and pat the whole salmon dry. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine the spices for the rub. Whisk until all combined.
  • Sprinkle the rub on the salmon and gently rub until the salmon coated all over. Set aside. 
  • Place the salmon skin side down on the grates on the smoker.
  • Insert the probe thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, about 50-55 minutes.
  • Once the salmon reaches temperature, remove from the smoker. Allow the salmon to rest for 10 minutes.

Seasoned Butter

  • Peel your garlic clove and mash them. *NOTE* For seasoned butter we also love using Gilroy Garlic when we do not want to use garlic cloves.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • Add smashed garlic and chopped chives.
  • Mix well and set aside.

Donna’s Notes

Soak some wood chip. 3-4 hunks. Choose your favorite wood, I am using apple but you can use whatever you prefer. Using a mellow wood is best like oak, maple, pecan or alder.
Go prep your BBQ indirect method and bring the heat to 225°F.
Once at temperature, put your soaked smoking chip into the charcoal and set for indirect heat. If you have a Big Green Egg, this mean the convEGGtor legs up.
Put the salmon in the middle (skin side down) and cook until internal temperature reaches 145°F, about 55 minutes.
Once the salmon reaches temperature take it off the grill. Allow the salmon to rest for 10 minutes.
Serve with seasoned butter.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 457cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 171mg | Sodium: 461mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Closeup of Smoked Salmon

Originally published March 2021

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