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Hot Smoked Salmon temp & time??

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I've looked at numerous posts on this site, as well as other sites, and there doesn't appear to be any general concensus on the temp and time for hot smoking salmon. I've seen smoker temps anywhere from 200*-225*. Finished internal temps from 140* - 165*, and smoking times anywhere from 2 - 6 hours. Any salmon experts out there that could help narrow down these ranges??
post #2 of 35
Have never smoked salmon and by no means am I an expert. But trout I normally do 225, and dont even concern myself with times or temps, when it's as flaky I think it should be, its done.
post #3 of 35
Sorry, I can't help much either. I usually go for Lox style smoked at about 155 degrees in the smoker. I've never used a temp probe on fish either, just by look and texture.
post #4 of 35
I'm in the same boat, I've never smoked Salmon before, but I have grilled a ton of it. Any temp around 225 should be good and check to see how flakey it is after a hour or so. Rememeber that Salmon can be cooked to different internal temps depending on how you like it, but any internal temp over 145° is done in my book.
post #5 of 35
Like others said, it's a texture thing. When salmon flakes easily in the thicker parts, it's done. A temp probe won't reliably work, not enough meat, and you'll tear up a fillet trying it. Any smoking temp above 100 is considered a "hot" smoke...it's said. I do my salmon about 180 give or take 10. Took almost 3 hours last batch I did.
post #6 of 35
I just did one last week, it was about half a filet, roughly 2lbs I think. Maybe a little less, followed Erain's recipe for soaking and curing and then threw it on the smoke vault at about 225 for an hour. Turned out perfecto!
post #7 of 35
Jason, I'm not a salmon "expert" but I've done some at home and at work(I was a chef). I would smoke at around 200* and when you reach in to check it and it is firm and tends to flake(crack)apart with a gentle touch it's done.IMHO. Hope this helps and keep on smoking!!!
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help. Now I just need to get the fish to try this out. Lake-Link is reporting good numbers of King's hitting off the piers in Sheboygan, WI (Lake Michigan) so looks like I'm headed out this weekend to get me a couple fresh ones. I'm guessing a good sized brown trout would cook up the same way (do you brine them the same way), so hopefully I get the sampler basket of fish to try.
post #9 of 35
I've smoked my fair share of Salmon. I usually only smoke it in the cooler parts of the year to maintain otherwise hard to get temps, usually when the ambient temps range between 40 to 45ish. I have only used fridge for smoking fish as I think its easier to maintain those lower temps.

I like to start my salmon off low. Around 90 to 110 degrees smoking with an alder and apple mix. I'll smoke it say 8 to 10 hours then start to bring up my temp until the salmon starts to flake, holding my unit temp to about 150 or so. I maintain this temp until the fish holds firm but before it starts to get dry on the edges.

in maintaining a cooler temp the meat will hold a nice pink color however it's cooked, not actually cold smoked as the temp is raised toward the end to cook the fish nicely.

Here is the brine I like to use.

In a 5 gal bucket add:
3 gal. Distilled water
3 cups Morton’s Kosher Salt (2 cups for less salty)
1 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbls. Garlic Powder
1 lb. Honey
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worchester Sauce
post #10 of 35

Hey Colojohn, I would love some help. I'm a newbie to "real" smoking. I've done smoked salmon a bunch with a little chief (electric, no temp control - and have no idea what temp it cooks at, uses fine wood pieces and I just smoke until I like the texture). I just got a 40" masterbuilt propane smoker. I tried to follow Jeff Phillips recipe in his Smoking Meat cookbook for salmon - brined for 2 hrs, supposed to smoke for 4-5 hrs at 140 degrees. Problem is I couldn't get my smoker to stay that low, and on it's lowest setting it wanted to be around 180+. I tried cracking the door to bring down the temp, which I have no idea if that's ok to do or not. In any case, had big swings of temp as I tried to keep the temp down, difficulty getting much smoke, and took 5 hrs to get to 140 IT. In the end the outside of the salmon was dry/leathery - kinda like the skin of a hot dog - which is definitely not how I want it to turn out, and tasted kind of bland. 

I plan to go back to the brine I've used for the little chief, and brine over night for more flavor. Guess I'm wondering if it's worth fighting against the temp of my smoker, or just accept that it'll be at 180+, keep the door closed, and go for less time? Also, any opinions on having water in the water pan or not? I'm not looking for jerky smoked salmon, but want "appetizer" smoked salmon (ie moist smoked but a little harder/drier), and also to know how to do dinner smoked salmon and have it turn out moist but tasty. 

Thanks for any feedback! 

post #11 of 35
Red, I have myself a propane as well and agree with the temp control. Are you using a water pan at all? I'm assuming your vents are opened full. I personally wouldn't open the door anymore than needed because your smokes leaves directly out it without having the opportunity to get to your meat.

My chicken breast get the exact same way as your salmon did. Leather or hot dog casing outside and my girlfriend absolutely hates it. I'll keep trying different ways to prevent it but have not found it yet.
post #12 of 35
Redrobyn - I'm having the exact same dilemma with trying to keep temperature low enough. The recipe I was following today indicated a low temp of a 100 for two hours, then 140 for two, finished with 175 for two, but I found that challenging to say the least. I have a Masterbuilt cookmaster and have smoked salmon twice before with moderate success. Problem is, I didn't write anything down and my memory is unreliable. However, in each case I have used different salmon - first sockeye, then coho and now today a small pink that I brined overnight. I think the temps then were considerably higher but as I was relying on the built in gauge I wasn't really sure. I do remember the last time i had a ton of the white gooey fat oozing out but I now have a dual probe thermometer (ET-733) and so have been trying to manage temps on the assumption that the thermometer is accurate, which I believe it is. But - I have the burner on the lowest setting, the vents fully open, water in the pan, and that wasn't enough so I did crack the door about an inch and managed to maintain some semblance of steady temp. But still, some wild fluctuation.

The other thing is that I have been doing this only a short while, tried pulled pork, chicken, beef previously, and in each case wrapped the wood chips in foil. In this case, and with temp so low, it was touch and go on combustion and so I wonder if I've missed out on some of the smoke clinging to that nice tacky pellicle early on before the pieces got a little drier. I'm currently 5 degrees away from a finish IT of 145 as I write this, and so will soon discover what went right and what went wrong!
post #13 of 35

Thanks for the detailed info, Dan. There is a good bunch of us out here who appreciate one who has had success sharing their knowledge with us. Most of us are here to learn. Don't let some HOT DOG step on your toes. Again, keep the info coming. Thanks again, Ernie

post #14 of 35
Today I smoked a 2½ lb wild caught salmon that I brined for 7 hrs & cut into 3 pieces.
It was fairly thick for a wild salmon at 1½" at its thickest part.
I have a Cookshack Smoker.
I believe the smoker (weather, etc) makes a huge difference in time for smoking anything but the Cookshack Smokers are electric, so it's a "set it & forget it-type" (love it!) & mine's in my garage.
That being said, the internal temperature of any food should be consistent with any smoker or process.
In my smoker, farmed, brined, salmon filets take 1 hour from fridge to unpreheated smoker set to 200 degrees.
Wild salmon take slightly less time*, (usually because they are thinner & leaner) about 45 min at 200.
*the wild salmon today took 1 hr, I believe because it was unusually thick for a wild salmon.
Either way, my experience is that it's perfectly done at an internal temp of 126. This is what I measured today and it is very nice even at the tapered ends.
Until today, I have not taken or known what the internal temp was but it certainly makes it easier & I will note that 126 in the center thickest part is perfect.
I use a remote thermometer so I don't let heat out to check the temp.
Hope this helps. There is nothing worse than spending $50 bucks on wild caught salmon only to over cook it & have dry fish!
post #15 of 35

For what it's worth, I eat a lot of salmon living here in Alaska. The cook depends on the type of salmon. I generally like to keep the temperature around 230. The best way I use to tell when the salmon is done properly is that it flakes and when I stick a knife into the flesh it is warm but NOT hot. Salmon will dry out in a hurry and readily takes in smoke. I like to smoke it over alder for 45 mins low and slow and then wrap with rub, lemon juice, grated ginger and clarified butter in foil OR searing it quickly with the same ingredients on a cast iron skillet. Personal preference here, but I also do not cook with the skin on. I also primarily cook with Red (sockeye) or Silver (coho) salmon. I prefer to bake Kings, and if I have fresh pinks they smoke fine, but are softer than the others. Red salmon have an almost shellfish taste to them while Silvers are more mellow.

post #16 of 35

This was yesterday's smoke. No brine; sprinkled with Konriko Gulf Coast seasoning, dill salt, and black pepper. Smoked offset with briquettes, lump, and apple chunks. Cooked a bit on the hot and fast side, and they'd probably turn dry if left on too long, but they were moist and flaky with not too strong of a smoke flavor.


It was fun to tease Linda's son with a text message that said "smoked salmon" and nothing else.


post #17 of 35

Well I have been smoking mine on a yoder smoker at 150 degrees it normally takes about 3 hours sometimes a little more. I smoke it until it hits 140 to 150. When it hits about 130 degrees or so I glaze it and let it cook the rest of the way.

post #18 of 35

I am not an expert by any means but I have smoked quite a lot of salmon in the last several months.

I try to start out very low and increase temps as I go. I use a MES 30 with a PID and can control my temps and time extremely close witht he exception of the lowest setting when the ambient temps are pushing my desired temp in the smoker, then it is tough.

100°-120°F for 1-2 hours, then increase to

140° for 2-4 hours, then increase to

175° for 1-2 hours to finish


I use a Maverick ET 732 and food probe and I take my fish off when the thickest piece reaches 145 IT.


Hope this helps.

post #19 of 35

Hi depends on what you want.  We smoke at 225 in Bradley electric - I cut into serving size pieces and arrange on the rack.  For a moist salmon I bring it to an internal temp od 120 to 125 (about 25- 30 min.) and then let is rest for 15 Min before serving, it is tender moist and the salmon flavor is good and the smokey flavor is subtle but there for sure.  If I do a whole filet it may take 2 hours to bring it to the same temp. For dry preserved Salmon filet 6 to 8 hours internal temp probably 160.  But regardless our guest rave about that little electric smoker taste. Good luck and good eating too, Checkitoutguy

post #20 of 35
215 until temp hits 143-145 for me. It doesn't take long.
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