Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill

Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill

Learning to smoke salmon on a pellet grill takes very little time to master the basics. Do you crave the irresistible taste of smoked salmon that rivals your favorite restaurant? You’re not alone in your quest for that perfect home-smoked fish. This guide will teach you to smoke salmon and will not leave you guessing about smoking techniques. As you learn how easy it is to smoke salmon, your confidence will grow.

With years of grilling wisdom and countless salmon successes (and a few learning experiences), we’ve refined a foolproof method tailored for pellet grill owners. Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of grilling or you’re the neighborhood’s smoke whisperer, this guide speaks directly to you.

Consider me your grilling buddy, armed with wit and a trusty pellet grill, here to guide you through every step. Let’s turn that daunting task into a victory dance around the grill.

Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill

How long should I smoke salmon at 225F?

Preheat your smoker to 225F(107C)and season your salmon filets. You should smoke your salmon for 45-60 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145F. You can add some fresh lemon juice as a flavor enhancer.

Do you wash salmon before you smoke it?

Absolutely! Even though you may brine your salmon before you smoke it, you will still want to wash and dry the filets before smoking. This will get rid of any excess salt or spices that may have clumped up while resting. It will help ensure a more even flavor on your filets.

Can you leave smoked salmon in the refrigerator overnight?

Yes! You can keep smoked salmon for about one week in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for up to three months, it is best to place it in a vacuum-sealed container but that is not mandatory.

Selecting The Right Salmon To Smoke On A Pellet Grill

The first step for creating the best salmon dish is to select the right fish. When choosing your salmon look for a filet that is a deep orange or red in color. This is an indicator the fish is fresh, you want the freshest fish you can get. Most often wild-caught salmon will give you the best flavor.

Prepare Your Salmon For Smoking

Before you smoke your salmon on a pellet grill, it is necessary to prepare your salmon correctly. Take a pair of tweezers and look for any bones that may have been missed and remove them. After removing any bones rinse your salmon thoroughly, and pat your filet dry with paper towels. Once you have removed any bones and rinsed your salmon it is time to go to the next step.

Brining The Salmon To Smoke On A Pellet Grill

Brining your salmon is a key step to having a flavorful dish. The process of brining will help infuse more flavor while keeping the salmon moist. Making a brine solution for your salmon is very easy to do. I will share this recipe later in this article. Your brine will have kosher salt, and sugar, along with your choice of herbs and spices in water. Place your salmon in a large container or zip lock bag, and cover your salmon completely. Once you have your salmon in your brine solution place it in the refrigerator for at least one hour. You will not want to brine your salmon for more than four hours, this leads to over-salting your fish.

Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill

Preparing Your Pellet Grill

As your salmon is brining you have the perfect opportunity to be sure your grill is clean and ready to go. Be sure that grill grates are free of any debris and clean. Fill your hopper with the flavor of wood pellets you prefer such as hickory, maple, apple, cherry, or mesquite. Each flavored wood pellet has a unique flavor, choose one that complements the salmon. Preheat your grill to 225F(107C). This low and slow-method will give you the best results smoking your salmon.

Drying The Salmon After Brining

After you have brined your salmon filets, remove them from the brine and rinse them in cold water thoroughly. This rids your filets of any excess salt or clumps of flavorings. Pat them dry with paper towels and place on a wire rack for about an hour. This allows a thin coating called perricle to form. This thin, tacky layer allows the smoke to stick to your filets for that great flavor you are looking to enjoy.

Time For The Smoke

Now that the filets have dried, it is time to put them on the grill to absorb that delicious smoky flavor you enjoy. Place the filets on the grill grates, be sure to leave room so they don’t touch. Close the lid so the smoking can begin. Depending upon the size of the filets it will take 1.5-3 hours for your salmon to be done. Keep your temperature consistent at 225F(107C) throughout the smoking process.

Consistent Temperature

You will want to keep your temperature as close to 225F(107C) as possible. If your pellet grill has a probe to keep track of the internal temperature then you should have no problems knowing when it reaches 145F(63C). Once it reaches this temperature, your salmon is done. You may take it off if it is slightly under since your salmon filets will still cook for a few minutes as it rests. To smoke salmon on a pellet grill you will need to have a consistent temperature throughout the process.

If you don’t have a meat probe on your pellet grill, after about 1 hour 20 minutes take your digital thermometer to check the internal temperature. Keep in mind the thickness of your filets and the amount of smoke flavor you desire.

Resting And Serving

Once your salmon has reached the internal temperature, remove it from the grill. This is called resting. Allow your filets to rest so they can reabsorb the juices that have been released in the smoking process. Not only will this help your salmon filets remain tender, juicy, and succulent it also allows the flavors to come together for a fantastic meal.

Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill

The time has come to finally taste your freshly smoked salmon filets. You can serve this dish alone or you can add it to other dishes such as appetizers. If you should thinly slice your filest against the grain on a platter, showing off the beautiful texture becoming the star of the show.

There are a number of items you can pair smoked salmon with depending upon the event. To gain a deeper appreciation of smoked salmon try pairing with some of these items for a smoky adventure that will amaze even the most discriminating of palates. This is a partial list of classic pairings, cream cheese, bagels, thinly sliced red onion, capers or pickled vegetables.

Experimentation is always a new way of finding different items to add to your brine for a completely new flavor such as adding maple syrup or honey for a touch of sweetness. Perhaps you find cracked black pepper or dill more to your liking. Your options are limitless.

My Final Thoughts

Smoking salmon is a great way to add to the number of items you can smoke on pellet grill. By following this guide, you will find you are producing a dish that many restaurants would be envious of. Remember the fresher the salmon the better the flavor, always choose one that is of high-quality. Brine your salmon properly so you can infuse more smoke into your dish.

Easy Way To Smoke Salmon

Brine Recipe For Salmon

This is a common recipe for brining salmon

  • 4 cups cool water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • zest of 1 lemon

This brine recipe can be found on Hey Grill Hey


22 responses to “Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill”

  1. Demi Foster Avatar
    Demi Foster

    The article “Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill” is an excellent resource for any salmon enthusiast or grill aficionado looking to elevate their culinary skills. The article provides a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide that takes readers through the process of smoking salmon to perfection on a pellet grill.

    One of the strengths of this article is its clear and detailed step-by-step instructions. From preparing the salmon fillets and brine to setting up the pellet grill and achieving the ideal smoking temperature, every aspect is meticulously explained. The inclusion of specific measurements, times, and temperatures ensures precision and consistent results.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      This article was designed to educate those who have never smoked salmon and for the experienced griller. By following these simple step-by-step directions you will be able to prepare restaurant-quality food without the restaurant prices.

      Everyone who grills always looks for tips that make their grilling experience better. At times, this may be reminders of following the steps for the best results.


  2. Dave Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this detailed step-by-step guide on how to smoke salmon on a pellet grill. As someone who appreciates the art of grilling and smoking, I can offer my own experience and insights on this topic. Smoking salmon is an exceptional way to elevate its flavors and create a delicious culinary experience. I have experimented with smoking salmon on a pellet grill and have found it to be a rewarding and enjoyable process.

    One aspect that stands out to me is the importance of preparing the salmon properly before smoking. From selecting fresh, high-quality fish to properly seasoning and marinating it, each step contributes to the final result. Your guide does an excellent job of outlining these essential preparations, ensuring that readers can achieve the best possible outcome.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise and providing this comprehensive guide on smoking salmon. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone looking to delve into the world of pellet grill smoking and create delectable, restaurant-quality smoked salmon at home.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I agree that smoking salmon is indeed an enjoyable way to prepare great-tasting food. You get so much more flavor from the salmon when you smoke it correctly.

      As with any food, it is necessary to prepare it well before you begin the cooking process. Washing or rinsing the salmon is no different. One aspect of cleaning the salmon is to find any small bones that are left to prevent a choking hazard. Keep grilling my friend.


  3. Steve Steve Avatar
    Steve Steve

    The “Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill” on Thrill for the Grill is a comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial that will elevate your grilling skills. The article provides a detailed breakdown of the entire smoking process, from selecting the right salmon to preparing it for the grill. It walks you through the necessary ingredients, seasoning options, and the ideal temperature and cooking time for perfectly smoked salmon. The step-by-step instructions ensure that even beginners can achieve delicious results. Additionally, the article offers helpful tips and tricks to enhance the flavor and texture of your smoked salmon. Whether you’re a seasoned griller or just starting out, this guide will enable you to create mouthwatering smoked salmon that will impress your family and friends.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      This article uses easy-to-understand language that makes it easy for everyone to learn from. Following the steps the way they are written almost guarantees you will be successful when you smoke salmon. As you gain experience, you will find more ways to enhance the flavor of your scrumptious dish.


  4. mike Avatar

    Great article, Jerry! As an avid griller and seafood enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed your step-by-step guide to smoking salmon on a pellet grill. It’s always satisfying to create delicious smoked salmon at home, and your instructions make it accessible for beginners and seasoned grill masters alike.

    I particularly appreciated your emphasis on selecting the right salmon. The deep orange or red color indicates freshness, and I couldn’t agree more that wild-caught salmon offers the best flavor. It’s crucial to start with quality ingredients for the best results.

    Your brining technique is spot on. Brining not only enhances the flavor but also keeps the salmon moist during the smoking process. The brine recipe you provided seems simple and effective, incorporating kosher salt, sugars, and a touch of lemon zest. I can’t wait to try it out!

    I found your tips on preparing the pellet grill and drying the salmon after brining very helpful. Consistent temperature is key for smoking, and your recommendation to maintain 225F throughout the process ensures the perfect balance of smokiness. Allowing the salmon to form a thin coating called perricle before smoking is a great tip to maximize flavor absorption.

    I do have a couple of questions for you. Firstly, have you tried experimenting with different wood pellet flavors for smoking salmon? If so, which one would you say complements the salmon’s taste the best? Secondly, besides the classic pairings you mentioned, do you have any unique recommendations for serving smoked salmon? I’m always open to trying new flavor combinations.

    Overall, your article is informative and well-written, providing a comprehensive guide to smoking salmon on a pellet grill. I appreciate the effort you put into sharing your expertise and tips with your readers. I’m excited to put your instructions into practice and create mouthwatering smoked salmon at home. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!


    M.T. Wolf

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I prefer cherry or apple pellets on my grill when smoking salmon. They give the salmon a sweeter flavor with Mediterranean couscous and Mexican sweet corn. I also will grill some asparagus for a side.


  5. Anastazja Avatar

    I love salmon and have been grilling it for a long time.  However, I am always looking for new technics and recipes.  Smoking the Salmon is a new process for me so I appreciate these instructions.  I am particularly interested in trying the brining. I have always rubbed spices into the fillet before grilling.  Your method seems to infuse the spices better intot the fish as well as adding some moisture.  Thanks for these tips.  I have signed up to receive any other grilling articles that you publish.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      Brining the salmon helps infuse the flavor more deeply but if you are comfortable with just using a dry rub that is fine as well. It is a matter of what your preference is.


  6. Bob Solley Avatar
    Bob Solley

    Finding your site made me hungry!  Smoked salmon is one of my favorites.  I love the detail you provide.

    I also love the visuals, and I can taste the salmon now.  Cooking anything on the grill always makes the food taste so much better.

    The detail you provide is excellent.  I think you’ve got everything covered, from acquiring this lovely fish to preparation, then to serving, and finally to eating.

    Having your own pic displayed makes your site more personal.  Love that.

    Your site is well laid out and very informative.

    Is having salmon smoked a better way to eat it?

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      In my opinion, smoking salmon is the best way to eat it. It is a tradition that has been passed down from close to the beginning of time. You will find that when you smoke salmon not only do you get a great-tasting dish but when you pair it with other foods that are grilled your meal is one that many people will be envious of.


  7. pasindu dimanka Avatar
    pasindu dimanka

    The article on “Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill” by Thrill for the Grill provides a fantastic resource for anyone looking to master the art of smoking salmon.

    I must say, this article is a comprehensive and well-structured guide that takes readers through each step of the smoking process. Your clear instructions, accompanied by vivid images, make it easy to follow along and replicate the techniques described.

    “Step-by-Step Guide to Smoke Salmon on a Pellet Grill” is an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced grillers. Whether you’re new to smoking or looking to refine your skills, this article provides a wealth of information and guidance. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to create mouthwatering, perfectly smoked salmon right in their own backyard.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      Following the steps should help elevate smoking salmon to a whole new level. Each of us has different tastes. I would encourage you to try these steps and enjoy entering a new world of flavor. You will become the envy of your friends and family.


  8. Dierdre Avatar

    This site give good advice on grilling and smoking salmon.  I am not a great fan of salmon but my husband is and I can use this information to prepare his catch.   From choosing the fight fish to showing how to prepare the brine this site is straightforward, clearly describing what to do.  We have a pellet grill so I will have to try the recipe provided.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I am sure once your husband masters smoking salmon, you will not want it prepared any other way. The steps are easy to follow and will help you take your dish to the next level.


  9. Michel Maling Avatar
    Michel Maling

    So are you saying that the lighter pink salmon is not as fresh as the bolder colored salmon? I didn’t know this, in fact I always thought it was the other way around. 
    Some great tips here on both cooking and storing salmon. I will definitely try brining my salmon next time around. 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      There are some salmon that are lighter in color but the flavor is not as pronounced as with the darker-colored salmon. Many people have thought the lighter color was the freshest but sadly it is not. I hope you enjoy the next time you prepare your salmon. I am sure you will find it to be outstanding.


  10. Andrej and Luka Avatar
    Andrej and Luka

    Very nice blog, the text provides a step-by-step guide on how to smoke salmon on a pellet grill. It covers topics such as the smoking time and temperature, washing the salmon before smoking, selecting the right salmon, preparing the salmon for smoking, brining the salmon, preparing the pellet grill, drying the salmon after brining, smoking the salmon, maintaining a consistent temperature, resting the salmon, and serving suggestions. The guide emphasizes the importance of fresh salmon and proper brining for flavor infusion. It also encourages experimentation with different ingredients for unique flavors. Overall, the guide aims to help readers achieve mouthwatering results when smoking salmon on a pellet grill.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I hope when following the instructions you have a dish you want to prepare often. Following the steps will make your dish that much more enjoyable.


  11. Dale Avatar

    I love salmon. Whether cooked on a grill, in the oven, smoked, in pasta dishes or basically anyway you can have it, it’s delicious. 

    And so healthy. I will eat salmon almost every day. This post for smoking your salmon is great. I wasn’t sure how to brine salmon, that step is great and sounds like it’s well worth it. 

    The video was also very informative. Should we experiment with the cooking times and temperatures for cooking with our own grill? I guess this would depend a little on the individual smoker and the flavors that are to your liking too. 

    Thanks again. 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      Now that you have a good brine recipe, you should find that smoking your salmon will reach new heights. Trying different times and temperatures will change the flavor and texture of your salmon. Keep experimenting until you find that one-flavored wood pellet, time smoked, and your preferred flavors. Experimentation is the key to creating a dish unlike what anyone else has.


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