Hot-Smoked Salmon on Weber Grill

My friend James taught me how to hot smoke salmon.  Hot-smoking is like grilling, but with a wood-chip-smoking phase.  This is different from cold smoking that is much slower and uses lower temperatures (and usually can't be done on a traditional grill).
And more importantly, it's not hard to do and doesn't require special equipment. Use a standard Weber grill (although one with a hinged grill inside will help but isn't necessary).  Pick up some alder wood chips and charcoal and you're ready to go!
So delicious! This is good hot, cold, on sandwiches, in soup or sushi/temaki rolls.

Hot Smoked Salmon Method:
Rinse 1-3.5 lbs of salmon fillet in water.

Place salmon, skin down on foil on a baking sheet.  Pat dry with paper towel. Fold sides of aluminum foil to make a tray.

Generously spread spice rub/mix over salmon.  The spice rub should contain salt, sugar and black pepper. I like smoked paprika too! Here's my spice mix:
4 TB paprika or smoked paprika
2 TB white sugar
1/2 tea onion powder
1 tea salt

Let the salmon sit at room temp with the spice rub on it for 20 minutes while you work on lighting the grill (I've read it is best to cook seafood when it is at room temp anyway).

Get a generous amount of coals/briquettes going in a chimney starter.  You want to have enough so your fire is strong when you shut the vents for the 5 minute smoking at the beginning. Too few coals and the smoking time will extinguish the fire. 

Once flames are shooting 5-7+ inches out the top of the chimney starter, then pour half of the hot coals on each side of the BBQ grate, leaving 8-10 inch pathway through the middle of the grate where the salmon will sit.

Get ready by putting the salmon and foil onto the top grate of the grill.

Pour several large handfuls (approx 4 C?) of alder wood chips directly on the hot coals.

Immediately place the top grill with salmon on the grill. The salmon should not be over the coals- you're going for indirect heat.

Close the lid over the grill. Close all vents (top and bottom). Set timer for 5 minutes. Assuming you had enough coals and they were hot and flaming then this will not extinguish the fire- it will get the wood chips to smoke and infuse the salmon. 

After 5 minutes, open the vents (top and bottom).  Set another timer to check the salmon in 7-10 minutes.

You will cook the salmon until done, approx 10-25 minutes in total after the initial 5 minute smoking. The time depends on the heat of your grill/coals and the size/thickness of the salmon fillet.


Swiss Army Mom said...

Hi Tammy- glad the smoked salmon turned out, it looks delicious. We'll have to try your rub too! James

Tammy said...

Amazingly it did turn out although the fire was weakened a bit too much after the smoking phase- next time we'll have more coals and bigger flames :)