Cold Smoked Salmon

This is referred to as “cold smoked” because it is smoked at a lower temperature for a short period of time.  You need about 7 hours from start to finish, so keep that in mind.


  • One large, fresh salmon filet (keep the back skin on)
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • 3 Lemons, 3 Limes, and 2 Oranges
  • Dry Rub Spices (salt, pepper, cumin, corriander, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, or others that you like)

Step 1:  Get a large glass or plastic container.  Cut up two lemons, two limes, and two oranges into fourths and place in the container.  Complete the brine by adding 8 cups of water, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Mix together.

Step 2:  Wash off the salmon and be sure any bones are removed.  Place the salmon filet into the brine.  Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and place in fridge for four hours.


Step 3:  Prepare a drying station with a rack and paper towels.  Remove the salmon from the brine, wash off under cold water, then place on the rack and pat dry.

Step 4:  Let the salmon air dry on the rack for about two hours.  A shell will start to form on the fish, this is what you want.  It is sealing in flavor.  Do not break or wash off this shell.


Step 5:  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit under the salmon filet.  Lightly squeeze the remaining lemon and lime over top of the fish.  This adds flavor and gives something for the dry rub to stick to.

Step 6:  Shake your dry rub seasonings over the fish.  Crank up your smoker to 200 degrees.  I use apple wood chips and put some apple cider vinegar and water into the water pan.


Step 7:  When the smoker is at 200 degrees, place the fish in the smoker on the parchment paper sheet.  Smoke for one hour.

Step 8:  Remove the fish from the smoker and let it rest for a bit (10 minutes).  The fish can then be plated.  The outer fish skin will likely stick to the parchment paper, which makes it easy to remove and clean up.

I served it with a slaw of shaved fennel and orange segments tossed in a vinaigrette.
I entered this dish in a local BBQ contest and you can see how it fared…

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