Maple Smoked Salmon

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Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think!  This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!

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Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!We had an absolute blast last weekend!  Two of our best friends in the world drove up from Philly to visit us, and we just hung out the entire weekend.  We met these friends back when all four of us were in grad school in Atlanta.  Actually, to be more accurate, my wife met them on her first day of grad school.  I still remember when she came home and told me that we all needed to hang out…she had a hunch that we would all get along.  Well, let’s just say that hunch was accurate, and we’ve become lifelong friends!

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!Times have changed since those days back in Atlanta, but it seems like there’s never a gap with good friends.  Know what I mean?  Back then, we would get together and chat about the best places to go for pizza and beers in Atlanta.  Now, we get together and talk about the best brand of sippy cups for our sons.  (Well, our soon-to-be son as his due date is in early November.)  Back then, we’d get together and rent water slides for our birthdays.  Now, we get together and go shopping at home improvement stores.  (Seriously.  We spent part of the day Sunday installing a new railing in our basement.)

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!Even though our topics of conversation have changed, we still enjoy the same activities.  We still watched lots of college football.  We also pulled out the smoker and made a bunch of delicious smoked meats.  Nothing beats a cool Saturday in the Fall with college football on tv and the smoker cooking away on the back porch!

You guys know that I love to grill and smoke pretty much anything and everything, right?  I recently had the chance to check out the brand new Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker, and of course I jumped at the opportunity!  I’m all about easy when it comes to smoked meats, and this smoker is seriously easy.  Forget checking the fire and constantly watching the temperature.  This digital smoker maintains the correct smoking temperature for you.  Yup, this bad boy pretty much cooks the food for you.  It’s like having a sous chef working outdoors while you sit inside and watch football!

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!So how does the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker know when your food is done?  You simply insert the digital probe into the thickest part of the meat.  Once the probe reaches the target temperature, the smoker just switches over to a warming mode.  That means you can put your food in the smoker and walk away.  Once the game is over (or you’re done installing a handrail in your basement *ahem* *ahem*), then you can just grab your food and you’re ready to eat!

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard in the past about electric smokers is that you have to constantly feed them with wood chips.  You can forget that chore with this smoker!  The larger smoker box in the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker means that it can run 8x longer than other smokers before needing to be refilled.  8x!

Maple Smoked Salmon

After our friends left, I decided to pull the smoker out again and challenge myself with a new recipe.  Smoked salmon.  I’d never smoked salmon before, and I wanted to give it a whirl.  One of my wife’s favorite restaurants in Atlanta always had a smoked salmon dip on the menu, and it’s still one of our go-to ‘fancy’ appetizers when we have company over.  It is important to note that hot-smoked salmon is very different than the cold-smoked version that is common in Europe.  However, both versions are delicious, and this Maple Smoked Salmon didn’t last long around here!

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!Although maple sugaring season occurs in the Spring here in upstate New York, I always associate maple with the flavors of Autumn.  So I decided to use a bit of maple syrup in this recipe.  The slight hint of maple-y sweetness was a great complement to the smoked flavor of the salmon.

Smoking salmon can totally be done at home, and I can now check that one off my bucket list!  The only trick about smoking salmon is that you need to let it soak in a brine overnight.  Then the next day, the salmon needs to sit out for a couple of hours until the skin becomes tacky.  Once that happens, it’s ready for the smoker!  I popped that salmon into the smoker and went off to rake leaves.  The smell of that salmon smoking was incredibly alluring, and by the time the yard was clean, I was ready to dig in!

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!What are your plans for the Fall?  Might I suggest grabbing a Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker?  It does all the work for you, so you can have delicious dinners ready to go with very little work.  Authentic, slow-smoked food that requires almost no effort?  Sign me up!  That means you’ll have plenty of time to watch football, rake leaves and install handrails in your basement.

The Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker is available on Amazon and at select retailers.

Have you ever smoked meat before?

What’s your favorite thing to do on Saturday afternoons in the Fall?

Love smoked salmon?  Try these other recipes, too!

Smoked Salmon Potato Salad

Smoked Salmon & Chipotle Cream Cheese Spread

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!

Maple Smoked Salmon

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Refrigeration Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 16 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 412kcal


  • 3-5 pound salmon filet, 1” thick and skin on

For the Brine

For the Rub


  • Using a large bowl, whisk all of the brine ingredients together until dissolved. Pour mixture into a large glass baking dish. Place salmon in the dish skin side up. (Note: If necessary, add more water until the salmon is completely covered with liquid.)
  • Cover dish and place in refrigerator overnight, or 10-12 hours.
  • Remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry; discard the brine.
  • Place salmon in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the flesh is tacky to the touch. This will take 1-3 hours depending on the humidity in the air, but you can use a small fan on low speed to help speed up the process. (Note: The salt from the brine will prevent the salmon from spoiling.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and black pepper. Brush this mixture evenly over the top of the salmon.
  • Prepare the smoker to a temperature of 165°F. Fill smoker with wood chips (Tip: I recommend cherry or apple chips for salmon.)
  • Brush the cooking grates of the smoker lightly with vegetable oil; place the salmon filet (skin-side down) sideways across the grates.
  • Smoke for 1-3 hours, or until the thickest portion of the salmon reaches 145°F. (Note: Cooking time will vary greatly based on the thickness of your salmon. The temperature probe is very helpful to knowing when the salmon is done!)
  • Remove grate from smoker and place a sheet pan on top of the salmon. Flip the salmon over and then carefully remove the cooking grate.

Making smoked salmon at home is easier than you might think! This Maple Smoked Salmon is one of our favorites!

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  1. Man, I so want to get on of those smokers. If I could just fit it somewhere in the apt…
    I’m jealous that you got such cool gadgets!
    BTW the salmon looks incredible…

    1. Thanks, Mike! And I know you live in the city, but this smoker isn’t all that huge…I bet you could get it into your apartment. Just throw a tablecloth over it when you’re not using it, stick a lamp on it and call it a side table. 🙂 It’d be the first time a side table ever cooked you dinner I bet! Thanks, Mike!

  2. Dang – this smokers is the MacDaddy of all smokers! It’s EPIC! I gotta agree with Mike – that salmon looks so darn good! If I had some of that salmon smoking, I might not loathe rakutting (raking the leaves and cutting the grass at the same time) as much! In fact, I might actually enjoy doing it that I’d stop procrasti-hiking just about every Fall Saturday when it’s not raining here in the ATL!
    Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend, David!

    1. Rakutting! I like that! We are most definitely in the raking season up here. Did you know one year I had the genius idea of trying to mow my leaves? It kinda worked, but I had to stop like every 20 feet to empty the mulching bags…and we have a big mower. Plan fail. But this smoked salmon is most definitely not plan fail…it turned out so awesome. And so easy! We did indeed have an awesome weekend, Shashi…hope you did, too! (P.S. Curling is back…so expect to hear some curling stories coming out sometime soon!)

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! This was definitely one checked off of my foodie bucket list…and I was amazed at how easy (and delicious!) the salmon was to smoke. Hope you had an awesome weekend!

  3. Hi David! I really, really like smoked fish! We have two charcoal smokers and when Gary decides to use them he fills them both with a variety of beef, chicken and seafood. Sometimes he will also put in cheese. My best friend and I became friends 45 years ago, we’ve been through it all! You and Laura have a great weekend! 🙂

    1. Smoked cheese! Dorothy! That is the best idea ever. I’ve made a smoked queso recipe before, and it turned out great. But how do you smoke cheese without melting it? I assume you’ve got it on a super low temperature? I’m totally intrigued now! 🙂

      1. Hi David! It is good! Low and slow and a harder type cheese like Cheddar, Swiss and it should be an 8 ounce block. The temp can not go above 90 degrees and mesquite is not recommended. Applewood Is a great choice. Length of time I’m not sure about since Gary never times anything (which drives me crazy). The other thing is to wrap it well in saran after smoking and let it “mellow” in the frig for a week. However sneaking a taste is permitted! 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!

        1. Ok awesome! Smoked cheddar is one of my favorite smoked cheeses, so this will be a fun project. Thank you so much for the tips on this one. I suspect that I am going to be eating LOTS of smoked cheeses coming up…maybe I’ll give out smoked cheese for Christmas gifts this year. 😉 Thanks again for the idea and the details!

    1. Yes, there are totally smokers like this, Manali! And they’re incredibly easy to use! I mean I made hot smoked salmon on my back porch…how awesome is that?? 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness! This salmon looks fabulous! And maple syrup? (Passed out). I even feel the way it smells and tastes. I wish I had a piece of this in my next food parcel you’re going to send me, David. Just hinting. David, if you send it to me, I’ll promise to put away my lavender, for a month. Anyways I’ve already got a number of lavender recipes to post, ha-ha:) That’s impeccable job!

    1. Wait, you’ll put away your lavender if I send you some maple smoked salmon? I’m calling lies on that one, Ben! You know you can’t go a month without lavender. You’d shrivel up into nothing! Haha! But yes, I had a blast making this salmon…and the maple glaze on top is delicious! 🙂

    1. Ohh, whole grain mustard with the maple? Now I’m intrigued! Next time I make this smoked salmon (which will probably be pretty soon), I’m totally mixing some mustard into that glaze. Thanks for the idea, Dannii!

  5. Hi David! I’m back – forgot to mention that you put the cheese directly on the top rack in your smoker. Hey, at my age I can’t be expected to remember everything. 🙂

  6. This is totally game changer- Smoked salmon is one of my all time favorite foods and it’s also one of the most expensive- I never thought to smoke it yourself!

    I was chatting to some mates back home the other day and discussing how our topic of conversations would change but would always include some random (perhaps intoxicated) memory.

    1. You are totally right, Arman! Smoked salmon is so expensive…and it’s incredibly easy to make yourself at home. Granted, this is hot-smoked salmon. The cold-smoked version that you find all over Europe is whole different ballgame. But I’m perfectly happy with this hot-smoked version. That salmon didn’t last long around here!

  7. This is a killer post and I am so jealous of that smoker. My electric smoker is like a small refrigerator called the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse. Works for us, but that one is a beauty.
    I smoke salmon quite often and you’re right in that the salmon needs to develop a shiny skin which is called pellicle. The pellicle seals and creates a sticky surface on the fish for the smoke to adhere to, this should take 4 hours and is vital to do.

    Nice post and I just happen to have some Vermont Maple syrup… ahem, thanks again! 🙂 #WolfPackSmokes

    1. Thanks, Kevin! I agree…smoking salmon is amazing! And now that you have some of the real deal Holyfield maple syrup, you should get out there and smoke this weekend! 🙂

    1. It’s a really good one, Kim! And I still have a little stash of Vermont syrup from our trip, too…we treat that stuff like liquid gold around here! 🙂

  8. Hi David! Gary just remembered that he would wrap the chunk of cheese in cheesecloth. Thought I’d pass that on. 🙂

    1. Ooo…good tip! I really appreciate you coming back to share that, Dorothy. If we didn’t have all sorts of baby projects this weekend, then I’d probably be out there smoking some cheese! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Terry! I haven’t smoked a lot of fish (yet!), but I’ve smoked all sorts of other meats. Brisket and pulled pork are two of my go-to ideas, and we always keep some in the freezer for easy weeknight meals in the middle of winter. 🙂

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