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Honey Smoked Salmon

How to Make Honey Smoked Salmon includes the best smoked salmon brine recipe and how to eat and serve the best honey smoked salmon.
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword honey smoked salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Marinate 8 hours
Total Time 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • smoker


  • 2-3 pound salmon filet
  • Honey or Pure Maple Syrup, for basting


  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup kosher salt


  • Water
  • Wood Chunks or chips, pre-soaked, or pellets (whichever your smoker uses)


  • Check the fillet to make sure all of the pin bones have been removed.
  • Place the fillet, skin side down, in a large plastic or glass container.
  • Prepare the brine by combining the dark brown sugar and kosher salt with the water.
  • Pour the brine over the fillet and allow to cure for at least 4 hours in the fridge. (I usually prepare the night before and let the salmon cure overnight). If the brine doesn't cover the entire fillet, double the brine recipe. It's important the entire salmon be submerged in the brine.
  • Once cured, remove the fillet from the brine and place, skin side down, on a cooling rack. (I like to place a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath to catch any juices that may drip off).
  • Gently pat the salmon dry and place back in the fridge to dry for at least 2-4 hours. If possible, place fillet directly under a ceiling fan that's on high, to speed up the process. It's important to make sure the fish isn’t kept at room temperature for too long. Ultimately, the fillet needs to develop a pellicle (a shiny skin that seals the fillet and gives the smoke a sticky surface to adhere to.
  • When fish is ready, put a light coating of oil on salmon to prevent it from sticking to the grates.
  • Smoke the salmon for about 2 hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, basting the fillet with honey or maple syrup every 40 minutes or so, until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Then carefully remove salmon from the smoker.
  • Serve immediately as a main dish with peppercorns or capers. You can also allow maple or honey smoked salmon to rest and prepare it to be stored for future recipes.
  • Enjoy!


Frequently Asked Questions:
What will I need to complete this recipe?
You will need the following ingredients:
Salmon Filet
Pure Maple Syrup
Dark Brown Sugar
Kosher Salt
You will need the following supplies: (blogger, feel free to use your Amazon affiliate links for this section)
Airtight/Sealable Container
Large Baking Tray
Large Cooling Rack
Meat Thermometer
Wood Chips/Chunks/Pellets (whatever your smoker is designed for)
How do I store the Smoked Salmon?
Once the salmon has rested, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 7-10 days. If you vacuum pack the fish, it will easily last up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze the fish and it will keep for about a year.
Do I have to use kosher salt?
Yes. Regular table salt can be iodized, and this will add a metallic flavor to the filet.
Do I have to use a specific kind of wood?
No! We love to use different kinds of wood as each variety lends its own unique flavor. We chose cherry for this recipe to lend a bit of sweetness to pair with the maple syrup and brown sugar.
Low and slow is the best way to smoke meats. This really allows the flavor of the seasonings and the wood to penetrate into the fish.
Always make sure to check the steam pot and fill with water as needed. It is important to maintain a high moisture level within the smoker.
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