Being from the Pacific Northwest, I love salmon, specifically smoked salmon. Even more than that, I love it when my dear husband brines and smokes it for me. We often use this recipe…happy smoking!

Prep 24 hr∙ Cook 2 hr


  • 1 c kosher salt or morton’s tender quick curing salt
  • 2 c dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (heaping) coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp celery salt


Mix all ingredients together well. I use a fork to make sure everything is stirred together well.

Can use it right away or store in an airtight container.


Cut salmon into fillet-size pieces (about the size of your hand or palm. Leave the skin on and rinse well under cold water.

Drain and pat as dry as possible with paper towels. Place salmon, skin-side-down in a plastic tray (I use a meat lug). You’ll want something with high sides to hold all the moisture that will be drawn out of the fish.

Completely cover the salmon with the dry brine mixture. Be sure to pat mix around the sides as well. You want to cover up as much of the meat as possible. Cover the tray/fish with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge or a very cold place for 24 hours.

Remove plastic wrap and thoroughly rinse fish under cold water. Remove as much of the brine as possible from the fish. Dry the fillets with paper towels (you want it as dry as possible). Let sit on a tray for 2-3 hours or until a sticky pellicle can be seen/felt on the skin of the fish.

Bring the smoker up to 200 degrees. Use ONLY alder wood chips when smoking fish. Get the smoker smoking and, working quickly, put the trays of fish in the smoker. Smoke for 2 hours and allow the temperature to come down to 70 or below.