Hot Smoked Salmon

This recipe comes from John Faber who has refined this recipe over the years. This recipe is easy and fast and will surely delight your friends. "Crumble this smoked salmon on a salad with Dijon Mustard or throw it into Fettuccine Alfredo."  See the last part of this recipe for Salmon Candy or Jerky. Consistency in your smoking across batches is very important . John recommends you take note of any variations you make to this recipe.


2 Fish (Salmon or Albacore) – about 12-14 pounds each

Dry Brine:
4 cups Light Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Salt (Kosher or Canning salt – no iodine)
1 Tablespoon of Dill, Southwest Seasoning, Chili powder,
    Garlic, Cayenne – not too much! 
You can make up a lot of this ahead of time and just store it in gallon ziplock bags.

Other Required items:
PAM cooking spray
Gallon Zip-Lock bags
Casserole pan or other container to hold fish in refrigerator
Fish De-boning Pliers (available at Home Chef)  or Hemostat
Apple/Alder mix of wood chips. Or use just Alder for a stronger flavor. Bags of this are available at most tackle shops or go to Lazzario’s in Burlingame, CA for Sweet Alder. Any other wood will have creosote in it that will ruin your fish!
Big Chief Smoker (others will work but its harder) with 2 Pans to hold wood chips. This will hold about 50 pounds of fish.
Vacuum Sealer (FoodSaver or better) with Wide roll of sealer material (not bags)
Ample room in refrigerator or use a spare/second refrigerator.

Prepare the Fish:
Scale the fish by shooting a water hose at it from the back to the head. Filet and De-Bone the fish using Pliers. Leave the skin on! Crosscut into 2 finger width strips.

Brine the fish:
Scoop 2 cups of dry brine into 1 gallon zip-lock bags. Mix the filets with brine; shake enough to distribute brine over fish.

Put bags into casserole dish or container to keep from rolling around the refrigerator.

Flip bags to mix up brine every few hours.  Brine will turn into a liquid as the water is pulled from the fish.

Brine for 24 hours. Maximum of 2 days brine time!


Spray racks with PAM cooking spray

Dry fish skin down for 2 hours on smoker racks inside shut off smoker.

3 Pans of wood chips maximum - total of 8-14 hours depending on how hot it is outdoors. During the summer heat do only at night. 130 degrees is a good temperature but don’t rely on any kind of thermometer. Never open the smoker to check it. Thin filet pieces go at the top of the smoker!

When done, turn off heat and cool the fish in the smoker.

 Trimming and Storage:

Remove skin from fish with a sharp thick knife – not a filet knife. Remove any remaining bones. Trim and Cut the fish into package size chunks.

Vacuum seal: Cut roll of material into 10“ lengths. Slice sideways to make 2 bags out of each length of a roll. Its best to double seal each seam. Always ensure a good seal.

Canning: follow the directions on your canning equipment.

Label: Print labels or use a Sharpie on  Avery Labels. Indicate the date the fish was smoked and any other credits you want to share.  A nice label makes for awesome gifts.


Skin the fish first. Slice into jerky size strips and marinate for a lot longer – up to 3 days. Be sure not to rinse off the brine.  For spicy jerky, use more salt and more spices in mixture. Still put some sugar in to balance flavor and hold the brine to the fish.

Dry the fish thoroughly before smoking. Spray PAM thoroughly before racking. Use a hair dryer on the fish if you like. Baste the fish with the leftover brine during smoking for extra candy or jerky taste.

Squaw Candy – cut a side of fish into long strips – the entire length of the fish. Same procedure, just much more carefully. Consider hanging these inside the smoker with some sort of sticks across the top. This has not been tried at home – let us know how well it works!

 Suggestions? Email