How to Brine a Grilled Salmon

by Catherine Gilbert ; Updated September 28, 2017

The main ingredients of a good brine for salmon are sugar and salt. Since salmon is a fish high in fat content, it does exceptionally well in a brine which has no additional fat, unlike most marinades. The salt and sugar both alter the protein in the fish, and allow it to easily absorb the water and spices. The combination of the salt, sugar and spices greatly enhance the flavor of the salmon and the brown sugar helps retain the moisture. Most classic recipes for brines recommend demerara brown sugar for its rich flavor and natural sweetness.

Measure sugar and salt and combine in mixing bowl.

Add spices and mix together.

Add soy sauce and water.

Mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.

Place salmon fillets in mixture, skin-side down, making sure they are covered by the brine.

Cover and put in a cool place (preferably refrigerator).

Leave salmon in the brine for 24 hours.

Remove salmon from bowl, place on a rack and allow excess brine to drip off before cooking.


  • Chose a variety of salmon that is high in fat for use in a brine. Farmed Atlantic salmon is a good choice or if using a wild variety, King Pacific salmon works well.

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About the Author

Catherine Gilbert has been a writer/researcher since 2000 and is based on Vancouver Island, B.C. She writes on many topics and has been published in “Island Word," “Be Wild In B.C.” and the "B.C. Historical Federation Journal." She has studied journalism and has an honors bachelor's degree in history and French from York University in Toronto.