How to Smoke Brined Salmon

smoked salmon image by Natalia Bratslavsky from

Smoked salmon brine keeps meat fresh and ready to pop in your mouth at a moment's notice for days. Though the brining process actually preserves the fish, smoking adds that woody flavor that makes this the perfect topping on a cracker. Adding apple juice to your brine sweetens the deal. Keeping the salmon in the brine longer than 24 hours starts to remove the fishy taste, but the food will stay better in the fridge. Cook the salmon just a bit before adding to the smoker to remove any chance of botulism.

Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, apple juice and water to a large container and stir well. Cut the salmon fillets into 4-inch pieces and add to the mixture. Seal and refrigerate for one-to-two days, depending on how much flavor you wish to add to the salmon.

Remove fish from the brine. Rinse briefly in cold water to remove excess brine and pat the fillets dry.

Cook fillets in an oven set to 350 F for 15 minutes. Prepare the smoker with hickory or wood chips, depending on whether you want the added hickory flavor. Heat the smoker to about 90 F.

Add the fillets to the smoker, directly on the rack. Heat for 2 hours, then decrease the heat to 150 degrees. Smoke for an additional 6 hours. If fillets are thicker than 1 inch, smoke for 2 more hours.