Salmon Smoking Time - Jeff's Latest Recipe

Discussion in 'Fish' started by pianov, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. I will be trying out Jeff's latest smoked salmon recipe tomorrow (Sunday) - the one he emailed out a week or two ago. Details are very good in the recipe, except I don't see any reference to how long the smoking step might take. He does state to smoke it until the internal temperature of the salmon is 130 degrees, but for planning purposed, I'd like to have some idea how long that might take.

    I've smoked salmon previously, but never at such a low temp. My filets are small - only a tad over a pound each - probably about a half-inch thick.

    I'm guessing maybe two hours? Anyone have a more experienced guess? Jeff?


    Terry on Tampa Bay (will it ever stop raining?)
  2. old fart

    old fart Fire Starter

    I'm getting ready to make this one as well. I was figuring 2hrs at 225.that's what I did on my last filet.
  3. I'm curious what you thoughts are on the temp. Jeff's recipe states to keep smoker at 160 F. Last time I smoked salmon, I also did it at about 220  F and it sure was good - but the white juice did indeed seep out. I think Jeff's recommended 160 F tends to minimize that. Any thoughts?
  4. old fart

    old fart Fire Starter

    I did a slab a few weeks ago. About 2hrs in the smoker,I didn't brine it.just used salt & pepper.turned out really good. I may try 200 degrees and see how that goes.I don't know if I can get my temp down to the temp he used.
    I will post up later today after it comes out of the smoker.
  5. I smoke my small silver salmon at 150 for 4 to 5 hours. I like my salmon meat a little more done......but still kinda moist.
  6. old fart

    old fart Fire Starter

    I did a slab a few weeks ago, I didn't brine it.just a little salt and pepper. Smoked it at 225 for 2hrs or so.turned out really good. I don't think I can get my temp down to what he smoked it at.I will try 200 and see how it goes.
    brining is done,time to dry.
  7. What was the weight of your small silver salmon filets (or how thick)? Thanks for your input.
  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What Jeff is saying is a very typical process in my books.   I normally start out at 125-130*  for the first hour. Then bump up to 150* for another hour.  Then bump up to 165ish for another hour or until I reach an IT of 140ish.   I feel smoking fish at 225 or anywhere near that is way too hot.  I like it "low and slow".   Lower temps, longer smoking session.
  9. bodbob

    bodbob Fire Starter


    Meathead over at seems pretty averse to smoking salmon at low temps. Here's a quote out of his recipe for smoked salmon. " In fact, any smoking under 200°F is very high risk. You cannot effectively pathogens, especially heat resistant spores, at these cooler temps, and there is even a risk of parasites like tapeworm."  

    I know most of the guys here have been smoking salmon forever and y'all still seem to be ok. Can you shed some light on this for me?


  10. PianoV........My salmon are small like I said. They range about 10" to 14" long and smoke them whole, skin on.....minus the head an guts.
  11. Salmon smoking, following Jeff's recent smoked salmon w/ citrus recipe. Started brining at 5 AM. Rinse and start drying at 9:20 AM. Never did see the clear sticky coating that is supposed to form - but it did look dry. Dried it at room temperature.

    Built a small fire in smoker and shoved hot coals to rear of firebox. Temp hovering at 180 before putting fish in at 1:10 PM.

    20 minutes after putting fish in, cooking chamber (CC) temp was 156 and fish temp was 113. Wow, fish is cooking fast (very thin filets). Cracked open lower door to let air into CC, and temp seems to have stabilized at 147 F.

    Salmon just prior to going in smoker - pic below:

    Salmon filets in smoker:

    My smoker:

    Coolest I've EVER run my smoker - didn't know I could do it!

  12. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I can't really comment on the parasite, tape worm, etc issue.  Now, if I was smoking fresh (never frozen) Salmon, maybe there might be some health issues but all my Salmon which I plan to smoke is frozen first (for months infact)  I just smoked some last weekend which was caught at the end of last Salmon season.   I really can't imagine anything surviving a freezer that long.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  13. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    This is the safest way to go,Freese it for a few weeks.

  14. That really doesn't make a whole lot of sense because even if you cook at 200°F or higher - if you are only cooking the fish to an internal temperature of 130 or 140°F, you'd still have the same risk of no effectively killing any pathogens - whether the CC temp is 150°F or 250°F. I do suppose that at the higher CC temperature it would indeed be more effective at killing pathogens on the surface of the fish. I guess I don't know much beyond that.

    Far out - after another 20 minutes of cooking, things have slowed down:

  15. Hmmmm. Sorry, no more pictures - I was too hungry! Just finished my salmon. Took it out of smoker at about 3:45 PM at 133°F internal temp. The salmon was real good. I wouldn't do backflips over it - but it was quite good. I don't know that it was any better than a good grilled piece of salmon - and grilling sure is easier.

    FWIW, I was able to keep the CC temp down in the 150 to 160°F range all during the smoke. Trick seemed to be to shovel all the wood coals into a pile in the rear of the FB and close the FB vents way down. Some months ago I kinda rebuilt my smoker and sealed most of the leaks in my FB - I doubt that I could have kept my CC temp as low as I did today before the FB sealing.

    I wonder if smoking salmon lends itself better to a larger filet. In Jeff's recipe he did mention that he was smoking filets that were in the two to three pound range - those would be a lot thicker than what I was working with. I might make it a larger filet next time.

    Thanks for all the input.
  16. My take on smoking salmon is that you have to tweek your brine solution till you have it the way you want. You have to find a temperature to smoke at and the smoke time with the size fish you are working with. You will get the taste and texture you want real soon.

     I have been smoking this same size fish for 25 years and I feel I have it nailed down. And I haven't so much as gotten a stomach ache.

    I'm sure there will be furious feed back on this but..........If you brine, with salt, no self respecting botulism bug is going to venture there. At least for the short time you are smoking these fish. The Indians have been smoking for centuries and I am not certain they used a brine.
  17. bodbob

    bodbob Fire Starter

    Good point fith. They probably didn't freeze their salmon for a month before smoking it either. I've done salmon 3 times now, all at below 200 temps and none were frozen before hand, but I sure don't want to make anyone sick. We really don't know if those same Indians didn't fall over occasionally either. It does seem that cooking above or below 200 isn't the criteria for having parasite free fish.

    Thanks for all the input, you guys. I really don't want to have to buy salmon then freeze it for a month before I smoke it, so I guess I'll keep lookin for a definitive answer.


  18. Oh ya...........and to add to this...........if you purchase your salmon at your local meat long has this fish been outa water???? Mine are fresh caught.

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