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Dry Brined Smoked Salmon

Dry Brined Smoked Salmon

1 fillet, ~ 2-3lbs

Dry Brine

2 cups of brown sugar

¼ cup kosher salt

1 tbsp course ground black pepper


½ cup apricot or your preferred preserves, heated to a syrup consistency.


Thoroughly combine all the dry brine ingredients inside a large mixing bowl and set aside. Next, prepare a large baking dish for the salmon to brine in. Place a coating of the dry brine in the bottom of the baking dish, enough to cover the entire bottom of the fillet. Place the fillet in the dish and coat the entire fillet, top and all sides thoroughly. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap to seal it and place the baking dish in the refrigerator for 4 hours. After 4 hours remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Note the amount of liquid that came out of the fillet during the dry brining period. Thoroughly rinse the dry brine off the fillet and pat it dry with paper towels. Be careful because the fillet is very delicate at this time and if you are not careful it can break apart. Place the fillet on a drying rack, a regular kitchen rack will do, and allow to air dry for 2 hours. This will form what’s called the pellicle or a skin on the fillet which allows the smoke to stick to the fillet better.

Now fire up your smoker to 150 – 160 degrees F and place the fillet in the smoker. If you have a thermometer, place the probe into the salmon and monitor the temperature while cooking. If you don’t have a thermometer with a probe check the temperature of the fillet after 30 minutes. These take around an hour to cook. The finished temperature is 145 degrees F.  If after 1 hour the fillet is not at 145 degrees F, keep cooking until it is. Once at temperature, remove the fillet from the smoker and place on a kitchen rack, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Once rested,