Smoked Salmon


Matt Miller / Northwoods Smokehouse
YS640 owner


Matt Miller spends a lot of time on nearby Lake Superior, where there is an abundance of fresh salmon. He has developed a process of smoking salmon that focuses on using locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. The fresher the ingredients, Matt says, the better the outcome.

Here’s how Matt smokes salmon on his YS640:

My process for smoking salmon is fairly simple. It starts with sourcing local quality ingredients and proteins. It’s not all that difficult to get fresh salmon living on Lake Superior. I spend a lot of time on beautiful Lake Superior. 

My process starts with making sure all bones are out of the salmon filets. Once deboned, I mix my dry brine using a 2:1 ratio brown sugar/kosher salt base. (Other ingredients can be added to the brine according to preference.) I put a thin layer of dry brine on the bottom of a Tupperware container and place salmon portions on top. What’s next is what I feel separates me from others in the area for smoked salmon: I source locally-made raw honey and as pure and high-grade maple syrup as I can find. I drizzle a thin layer of the syrup and honey over the salmon, then cover the layer with more dry brine and then repeat the steps until done. I let the salmon brine in the fridge for at least 24 hours. I rinse under cold water and place on drying racks to form a pellicle. Once the pellicle is nice and sticky feeling, I start the smoker and only use alder wood pellets. I smoke at 160-165° until a nice deep red color develops. Every hour I brush on a raw honey/maple syrup mix for an incredible glaze. When I smoke this salmon, it never lasts long. The rich smoke flavor complemented by the sweet honey/maple syrup glaze is to die for.

You can add anything to the top of the salmon while smoking as well like fresh cracked pepper, Cajun seasoning, or even lemon pepper.

4 thoughts on “Smoked Salmon

    • Lower temps are better for smoking salmon, but 180 is definitely within a good range. You want to smoke it until it develops a nice, deep color and hits about 135-140 internal temp. Watch it. Should be about 2-3 hours.

  1. I always cold smoke my salmon, I don’t want to cook it, I just want it to develop the deep rich color that Jeff mentioned. I do however is a liquid brine, but since I have Heart patients in my household, I cut the salt back to about 1/4 of what I traditionally use.

    I’ve usually used the 1:1:1 ratio with Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, and Salt, but as I stated above, I have cut the salt back so it would look like

    1 cup Brown Sugar, (Light or Dark)
    1 cup Granulated Sugar
    1/4 cup of Iodized Salt (Or Kosher if you prefer)

    I don’t have a set time on how long it takes, I watch mine by eye, and when I have hit that nice deep rich color, I poke it with a toothpick to see if it looks consistent all the way through.

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