Best Masterbuilt Smoked Salmon: Easy Tasty Recipe

Have you ever tried to find a good salmon recipe for smoking, only to be disappointed by complicated instructions or lackluster results? I know I have. But fear not, my fellow home cooks! I have discovered the holy grail of smoked salmon recipes: the Masterbuilt smoker salmon recipe.

How to smoke the best salmon in a Masterbuilt smoker?

Served salmon fillets
A beaty to behold, right?

Alright, let’s dive into the basics, shall we? Picture a Masterbuilt smoker – a nifty tool crafted for those eager to conquer the smoking game. These trusty companions promise a lip-smacking BBQ experience you won’t forget. Now, why would we choose a Masterbuilt smoker for our beloved salmon? Simple – it’s the perfect match for achieving that flawlessly smoked salmon every single time. So, let’s gear up and get smokin’!

Equipment you’ll need

Wood chips
Wood chips. Alder or maple are classic, but you can try out cherry or pecan chips too.

For this delicious Masterbuilt smoker salmon recipe, you’ll need just a few pieces of equipment:

  • A Masterbuilt smoker (propane, electric, or charcoal): This is the star of the show and will be used to smoke the salmon to perfection.
  • Alder or maple wood chips: These will add that smoky flavor to the salmon. Think of them as the supporting actors in this delicious production.
  • Oil: This will be used to lightly grease the cooking racks to prevent the salmon from sticking.
  • Tin foil: This will be used to wrap the salmon and keep it moist during the smoking process.
  • A large bowl or small bucket: This will be used to mix the brine for the salmon.
  • A cooling rack (wire rack): This will be used to air-dry the salmon after it has been brined.

Ingredients you’ll need

Salmon fillets with garlic and lemon
Salmon fillets, the hero of the recipe. Pick a fresh one and opt for wild salmon if you have the choice.

For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Salmon fillets (the fresher, the better!)
  • Birch or maple syrup (to make the salmon shine)

For the brine:

  • Cool water (we don’t want it too warm!)
  • Brown sugar (sweetness to balance the salt)
  • Kosher salt (the star of the brine)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (for that zesty kick)
Lemon zest
Use fresh lemon zest to get the most out of your fish.

Kosher salt is used in this recipe because it has a larger grain size than regular table salt. This means that it dissolves more slowly and doesn’t penetrate as deeply into the salmon, resulting in a milder saltiness. Additionally, kosher salt is free of additives like iodine and anti-caking agents, which can sometimes impart an off flavor to the food.

Picking salmon fillets for this recipe? No worries! You can use any type like Sockeye, Atlantic, or King salmon. Just remember that each variety might affect the smoking time a tad, so stay on your toes and adjust as needed.

Second, it’s generally a good idea to get wild salmon rather than farmed salmon. Wild salmon tends to have a better flavor and texture than farmed salmon. Additionally, try to use fresh salmon rather than frozen if possible. Fresh salmon will give you the best results.

How to smoke the perfect salmon?

Lemon, salt and sugar bowls
Kosher salt, brown sugar and lemons are pretty much all you need.
  1. First things first, let’s make the brine. Combine the water, brown sugar, kosher salt, and lemon zest in a non-reactive container. Once it’s mixed well, gently place your salmon fillets in the brine. Make sure they’re completely covered. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 – 8 hours. Thicker fillets might need up to 36 hours, but don’t go over 48 hours or they’ll be too salty!
  2. When the brining is done, take out your salmon and give it a quick rinse. Pat it dry. Place it on a cooling rack with skin facing down. 
  3. Now, let it air-dry in a cool, breezy spot for 2 to 4 hours. Or, you can let it chill out in the fridge overnight.  The goal is to get that shiny pellicle, which is like a superhero cape for your salmon.
  4. Time to fire up the smoker! But first, give your salmon’s skin a little oil massage to prevent sticking. Start with a smaller fire and gradually increase. Begin smoking at 140-150°F for an hour, and then crank it up to 175°F for another hour or two. Don’t forget to put water in your drip pan to keep the temperature low.
  5. Every hour, baste the salmon with birch or maple syrup. You want the salmon’s internal temperature to be around 130-140°F. Be careful with the heat! Too much heat can make your salmon cry white, gooey albumin tears.
  6. Check the fish every 30 minutes. it is done when flaky.
  7. Once your salmon is smoked to perfection, let it rest on the cooling rack for an hour. Wrap it up in plastic before putting it in the fridge. Smoking duration varies greatly depending on the thickness, but you are looking for roughly 2-4 hours.
Smoking salmon fillets
Art is being created here!

While not strictly necessary, using a meat thermometer can help you determine when the salmon is done. The internal temperature of the salmon should reach 140°F when it is fully cooked.

Variations and alterations

Feeling adventurous? Try out different wood chips to give your salmon a unique flavor. Although alder and maple chips are recommended, cherry or pecan chips might just rock your taste buds!

Brine-ing It On: If you find the original brine too salty, use 1/3 less salt or ditch it altogether. You can also experiment with a dry brine (1 part kosher salt, 2 parts sugar) or a wet brine (water, brown sugar, salt, and spices). For a simpler mix, use 2 parts brown sugar, 1 part salt, and 1/4 part black pepper.

Tips & Tricks

Kosher salt
Kosher salt is the best choice because it is not too aggressive.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Masterbuilt Smoked Salmon recipe.

Use fresh salmon

Fresh salmon fillets are your best bet for flavor and texture.

Rinse the fish well

Rinse salmon well after brining to wash off extra salt.

Let it air dry sufficiently

Let salmon air-dry for 2 hours after brining to form a pellicle, which helps the smoke stick better and boosts flavor.

Experiment with temperatures

Play with smoking temperatures! Some prefer low (140-150°F) to keep fish moist, while others go higher (165°F). Start the smoker hot, then lower to your desired temp.

Thickness matters for doneness

If you’re serving a mixed crowd with different preferences, you can cater to both the medium-cooked and well-done fans with one fillet. You see, the tail end of the fillet is thinner than the head, so it’ll cook faster. As a result, when you serve your masterpiece, you can offer the tail end to those who like their fish a tad more cooked, while the head end will please those who prefer a more medium-cooked delight. It’s a win-win for everyone! Just remember to keep an eye on the cooking process, so you don’t end up with overcooked fish.

Frequently asked questions

Smoked salmon fillet
Simply a perfection. Digital thermometer helps you nail it time and again.

I know you might have some questions about the recipe, so I’ve put together a list of the most common ones and their answers.

What to serve the smoked salmon with?

Want to take your smoked salmon to the next level? Serve it with a scrumptious garlic baguette! The buttery, garlicky goodness of the bread complements the smoky, savory salmon perfectly. Plus, it’s super easy to make: just slice a baguette, spread some garlic butter (a mix of softened butter, minced garlic, and parsley), and toast it in the oven until golden brown. Your guests will be begging for more, and it’ll turn your smoked salmon feast into a memorable culinary experience!

Frozen salmon fillets, yay or nay for this recipe?

While you can use frozen salmon, fresh is the way to go for top-notch flavor and texture. But if you’re working with frozen, make sure to thaw it nicely in the fridge before diving into the recipe.

Wood chips – can I mix it up a bit?

Of course! Alder and maple wood chips are our faves for this one, but don’t hesitate to play around with cherry or pecan wood chips. Who knows, you might discover a flavor combo that knocks your socks off!

When will I know my salmon is ready to wow my taste buds?

Your salmon is good to go when it’s flaky and hits an internal temp of 140°F. Whip out your trusty meat thermometer to check it out. And for food safety’s sake, let it hang at that temp for 30 minutes before digging in. Keep an eye on your masterpiece to avoid overcooking – nobody likes dry salmon!

How do I store leftover salmon?

Fresh and smoked salmon fillets
Fresh and smoked salmon fillets.

Got some leftover smoked salmon? Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, tightly wrapped. Need longer? Freeze it for up to 3 months, and thaw in the fridge before using.

Happy smoking!

I genuinely hope you’ll give this smoked salmon recipe a try. It’s a delightful dish that I believe you’ll enjoy, and sharing the love for good food is what we’re all about here. Don’t forget to explore my other recipes – there’s a whole menu of tasty ideas waiting for you! So go ahead, become an ace in your own kitchen with this smoked salmon. Happy cooking, fellow apron aces!

Sliced smoked salmon fillet on a baguette

Masterbuilt smoker salmon

7737f8c28c2cc5158e14eaf64d376635Apron Ace
Have you ever tried to find a good salmon recipe for smoking, only to be disappointed by complicated instructions or lackluster results? I know I have. But fear not, my fellow home cooks! I have discovered the holy grail of smoked salmon recipes: the Masterbuilt smoker salmon recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting times 10 hours
Total Time 13 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 429 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Masterbuilt smoker
  • 1 wood chips
  • 1 tin foil
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 cooling rack

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lbs salmon (the fresher, the better!)
  • ½ cup birch or maple syrup

For the brine

  • 4 cups water (cool)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • cup kosher salt
  • 1 lemon zest (zest on 1 lemon)

Instructions
 

  • Let's make the brine. Combine the water, brown sugar, kosher salt, and lemon zest in a non-reactive container. Once it's mixed well, gently place your salmon fillets in the brine. Make sure they're completely covered. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 – 8 hours. Thicker fillets might need up to 36 hours, but don't go over 48 hours or they'll be too salty!
  • When the brining is done, take out your salmon and give it a quick rinse. Pat it dry. Place it on a cooling rack with skin facing down.
  • Now, let it air-dry in a cool, breezy spot for 2 to 4 hours. Or, you can let it chill out in the fridge overnight.  The goal is to get that shiny pellicle, which is like a superhero cape for your salmon.
  • Time to fire up the smoker! But first, give your salmon's skin a little oil massage to prevent sticking. Start with a smaller fire and gradually increase. Begin smoking at 140-150°F for an hour, and then crank it up to 175°F for another hour or two. Don't forget to put water in your drip pan to keep the temperature low.
  • Every hour, baste the salmon with birch or maple syrup. You want the salmon's internal temperature to be around 130-140°F. Be careful with the heat! Too much heat can make your salmon cry white, gooey albumin tears.
  • Check the fish every 30 minutes. it is done when flaky.
  • Once your salmon is smoked to perfection, let it rest on the cooling rack for an hour.
  • Wrap it up in plastic before putting it in the fridge. Enjoy it within 10 days, or vacuum-seal it for up to 3 weeks, or freeze it for up to a year.

Notes

  • Use fresh salmon for the best results.
  • Rinse salmon well after brining to remove excess salt.
  • The salmon should air-dry sufficiently after brining to form a pellicle, enhancing flavor.
  • Adjust smoking temperatures based on your preference. Some prefer low temperatures (140-150°F) to keep the fish moist, while others prefer higher temperatures (165°F).
  • The thickness of the salmon will influence the cooking time.
  • Feel free to experiment with different wood chips to add unique flavors to your salmon.

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 45gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 4827mgPotassium: 1177mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 91IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Masterbuilt, Salmon, Smoking
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