Smoked Salmon Brine Recipie

alaska Drift Away blog 135 salmon brine

Smoked Salmon Brine Recipie

Summer is fast approaching! A recent trip to the freezer greeted me with a nice supply of salmon left over from last year. I love smoking the remainder of my salmon in the spring to make room for a new summer supply. There are many ways to brine and smoke salmon just ask Uncle Google. A quick search will leave you with overwhelming options. Through some research and trial and error I have come up with a formula that works well for me. So here it is!


~ 6-8 whole salmon fillets (fills my master built smoker perfect)

1 c. non-iodinized salt
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 qts water


3-4 bay leaves
2 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp old bay seasoning
5 crushed dried red chillies


1 bottle white whine
2lbs brown sugar

Mix the brine and seasoning in a large vessel ( I use a 5 gallon bucket), Cut the salmon into 1″ strips the entire length of the fillet and add them to the bucket. Marinate for a minimum of 12 hrs. Remove salmon from marinate, rinse with cold water, and set aside. Meanwhile slowly heat the white whine and disolve the brown sugar into a syrup. Let this cool before adding the salmon to the mix. Let the salmon soak in the syrup for 1 hour. Remove and place skin side down on the smoking rack ( take the racks out of the smoker) Let air dry until a candy glaze is over the fillet. Now it is time to smoke!

Smoking Salmon

I absolutely love Cold Smoking salmon and leave it in the smoker for 48 hrs at ~90 degrees using alder for the wood. Now many store-bought smokers have trouble heating at 90 due to the heating element usually running at 100 degrees for it’s the lowest setting. Fortunately, there are a few simple aftermarket redneck modifications that can turn most units into a cold smoker, which I will illustrate in our next blog.