How to make hot-smoke salmon in (2020)

Making the smoked salmon that you buy in the supermarket is a long process that requires specialist equipment and a lot of outside space. This quicker hot-smoked version can be done in most home kitchens and requires nothing more than a baking tray with a rack and some wood chips. Hickory, oak or applewood chips are ideal for hot smoked salmon and will all lend a slightly different flavour to the fish, so it’s worth experimenting. Rubbing the salmon fillets with oil before cooking gives the smoke something to stick to and intensifies the flavour.


  • 2 salmon fillets, each weighing 200g
  • 50g of sea salt
  • 50g of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of oil


Mix together the salt and sugar and sprinkle liberally over the fish on all sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes


Wash the cure from the salmon with cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Leave the fish uncovered in the fridge for an hour until completely dry


Rub the fish with oil to coat


Set up a stove-top smoker or a deep baking tray (which you don’t mind getting marked by the fire), line with foil and cover the bottom in wood chips


Place the salmon onto a wire rack over the baking tray then either place the lid on or cover with foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the fish


Put the tray over a medium heat until the chips begin to smoke (you will see a little smoke coming out of the edges) then remove from the heat and leave to smoke for around 20 minutes


Carefully lift the salmon from the smoker. It should be an opaque pink and a metal skewer should easily go through the fish. If the fillets require more cooking, transfer to a hot oven for a few minutes


You can either serve straight away or leave to cool and store wrapped in the fridge for a day. To reheat, just wrap in foil and heat in the oven until warmed through

Serving suggestions

Agnar Sverisson marinades his salmon in salt, sugar, lemon, fennel and dill seeds before smoking and serving with cucumber and a yoghurt dressing. Marcello Tully’s Hot smoked salmon potato salad with asparagus and horseradish dressing makes for a simple summer lunch or try Nathan Outlaw’s Baked leeks and smoked salmon with cheese sauce for a tasty midweek supper.

Hot-smoking gives you full-flavored, fully cooked fish

There are two distinct types of smoked salmon: hot and cold. This doesn’t refer to the temperature at which the fish is served; it refers to the temperature of the smokehouse or oven. Both styles begin with fresh salmon and go through a three-part process: curing, drying, and smoking. Cold-smoked salmon is rarely, if ever, heated higher than 90°F, which results in a soft, pliable texture. Hot-smoked salmon is actually cooked at temperatures that get as high as 160°F in my recipe, higher in other recipes. Hot-smoked salmon has a full, smoky flavor and a firmer texture than cold-smoked salmon.

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