Smoked Salmon

The Beag is doing his darnedest to taste a piece of delicious, honey chipotle glazed smoked salmon.



Howdy folks, and thanks for stopping by the website! These days, buying smoked salmon at the market is a sure way to empty your pockets. There’s no reason to pay someone else to smoke salmon when you can do it yourself at home. The video posted on this blog and the recipe, posted below, will walk you through how to brine and smoke salmon. For a fraction of the cost, you’ll have all the smoked salmon you could ever want, and I guarantee it will taste better.

How to Make the Best Smoked Salmon Ever

Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry with a paper towel. The more moisture you can remove from the salmon the more flavor will seep in during the dry brining process.

Tip: Check the entire salmon fillet for discoloration. Cut off any pieces that aren’t a healthy color.

I prefer to keep the skin on my salmon. You can remove the skin or not, but no matter which you choose, make sure you dry both sides well. The more moisture you can pull out of the salmon, the more flavor you’ll get from the brine and the smoker.

Tip: Check the entire fillet for small pin bones. Remove any leftover bones. 

Rub the dry brine all over the entire fillet. The salt in the brine will pull out moisture and replace it with the delicious spices and flavors of the brown-sugar based rub.

Place the fillet in the ice box for at least four hours to cure.

Rinse the Dry Brine off of the Salmon

The reason we rinse the dry brine off of the salmon is to remove the extra salt before we smoke it. Once again, gently pat the salmon dry. Allow the salmon to sit on a wire rack, uncovered, for two hours at room temperature.

Preheat the Smoker to 150-160F.

Fire up your Kent Rollins’ Roughneck Smoker and fill with Fogo Hardwood Lump charcoal and some Alderwood. You’ll want a light wood to add some mild flavor to the smoked salmon.

Smoke at no higher than 160 for 90 -120 minutes. After an hour or so, baste the honey-chipotle mixture all over the salmon. The glaze will caramelize and make the tastiest smoked salmon you’ve ever eaten.

Smoke the salmon until 145 degrees. If you start seeing white bubbles rising up in between the flakes of salmon meat, the good tasting fat is starting to leave the building – you are starting to overcook the meat. Remove from heat and cool. Chow down as soon as you won’t burn your mouth, that’s what we do.

This recipe makes one heck of a good smoked salmon bagel. Toast the bagel and cover both sides in cream cheese. Lay the smoked salmon over the cream cheese, add a slice of red onion and tomato, and top with capers. You’ve got a classic New York style Lox and Cream Cheese bagel for breakfast tomorrow! That assumes, of course, that the smoked salmon will still be left tomorrow morning. You may as well go ahead and have it now, because this smoked salmon will not last long.

A sesame seed bagel rests on a mesquite cutting board, covered in smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, and capers. In the background rests a glazed, smoked salmon filet.

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The Beag is doing his darnedest to taste a piece of delicious, honey chipotle glazed smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 6 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 2 ½ to 3 lb. salmon fillet
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon dill weed
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons chipotle sauce


  • Rinse the salmon with water and dry well with paper towels. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Place the salmon on a large cookie sheet and rub the seasoning in well on both sides. Place the salmon in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 4 hours.
  • Remove the salmon from the fridge and rinse well with water and dry with paper towels. Place the salmon on a wire rack and let set at room temperature for at least 2 hours, uncovered.
  • Preheat the smoker or grill to 160 degrees F. Place the salmon on the smoker and smoke for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the honey and chipotle sauce. When the salmon reaches an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F. , begin basting the salmon, every few minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
  • Remove the filet from the smoker and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm or chilled.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!