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Home-smoked wild salmon

Turn a fresh piece of fish into a sweet, salty glossy slab fit for the best bagel

By Rob Eshman | June 30, 2022

This is hot-smoked salmon, not lox, which is cold-smoked at a much lower temperature. Hot-smoking, which is much easier for the home cook, results in a bright orange slab that can be used in a salad or pasta, eaten on its own, added to cream cheese for a smoky spread, or sliced on top of a bagel. I own a Traeger,l which allows me to smoke this fish at a low temperature. If you don’t have a home smoker, you can easily fashion one using a wok or heavy pan. This recipe uses a side of salmon, but you can reduce it to make a single filet.



  • 1 whole side wild salmon, 3-4 pounds
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper



  1. Using a sharp knife, cut three slashes in the skin side of the salmon to allow the salt mixture to penetrate. Combine water, salt, sugar and paprika in a Ziploc or glass bowl. Add salmon. Cover with plastic wrap if using a bowl and refrigerate 8-12 hours. Remove the salmon from the brine. Rinse quickly. Place on a wire rack, skin side down, and let dry at room temperature for 2 hours, or place in the refrigerator for 6 hours.


  1. Set smoker to 165 F. Mix rub ingredients together and rub into both sides of the salmon. Smoke for 3 hours. Remove and let cool.

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