Home cured and smoked salmon

Home cured and smoked salmon

Home cured and smoked salmon

Cooking surfaces

BBQ Temperature

Main ingredient

Cook Type


Cold Smoke

Home curing and smoking your own salmon has to be one of the most rewarding recipes you could possibly try. Even better, it is probably one of the easiest.

The process of curing is about removing moisture from the meat or fish you are curing in order to kill bacteria. For meats the curing process will take days, weeks or years, however for fish fillets curing times are hours. During the curing process you can add flavouring to your meat or fish by adding ingredients like fennel, black pepper, dill or even vodka and gin.

I cure my salmon with a 50/50 salt/sugar mix adding some crushed fennel to the mix. There are two options for curing:

  1. Weigh the salt so you have just the right amount to cure the salmon. This method will take longer to extract the moisture but the extended curing time will allow more flavour to develop if you’re using seasonings.
  2. Time based curing where your fish is completely covered in your cure and you determine the moisture content of your food by how long you leave it. This method allows much faster cures as moisture will be drawn out of the food much more quickly. The down side though is your seasonings will have less time for their flavours to penetrate the food.

I cure all of my salmon using the second method.

I use the ProQ Cold Smoke Generator (CSG) and wood dust to smoke my salmon. The CSG is a simple device that allows a very slow burn of wood dust, generating smoke, but not emitting much heat at all. Smoking like this in the Egg will not raise the internal temperature more than a few degrees. You’re aiming to keep the temperature inside the Egg below 30°C but ideally less than 20°C.

The length of time you smoke your food for determines how light or heavy the smoke flavour is. The choice of your wood dust will also affect the flavour with some wood smokes being more subtle than others. A good all rounder is oak, the one I use the most.


  • 1 full side of salmon
  • 250g salt (I use PDV salt bought in bulk)
  • 250g sugar (brown or white)
  • 10g coarsely crushed fennel seeds
  • 100g oak wood dust (for the smoker)


  1. Fillet and pin-bone a full side of salmon (or get your fishmonger to do it for you).
  2. Mix the sugar, salt and fennel.
  3. Take a non reactive, flat container to sure the salmon in and sprinkle 1/4 of the mix on the base of the container.
  4. Place you fillet on top of the cure, skin side down.
  5. Now cover the fillet with the remainder of the cure.
  6. Place the container into the fridge and allow to cure for 4 hours for a moist cured salmon. Should you want a firmer texture you can extend the curing time, experiment with cures up to 24 hours.
  7. Once cured, take the fillet and wash off all the cure under cold water. Pat dry the the fillet and place in a flat container and place back into the fridge overnight to allow the skin to dry and a pellicle to form (sticky surface to the salmon).
  8. Set up your cold smoke generator with oak dust (or your desired wood flavour). Place this on to the fire grate in your Big Green Egg.
  9. Place the stainless steel grid into your Egg and place the salmon directly onto the grid.
  10. Close the lid of your Egg and open the bottom draft door about 3cm and the top daisy wheel about 1/2cm. You’re looking for smoke to sit within the dome but little wisps escape.
  11. Leave the salmon to cold smoke for up to 8 hours.
  12. Once the salmon is smoked place either into a bag or vac pac it and place into the fridge for 2 days to allow the smoke flavour to mellow.
  13. After 2 days your salmon is ready to slice thinly and serve. It’s easier to slice towards the tail end, starting at the tail end of the fillet.


Home smoked salmon will last a few weeks if kept in a sealed bag in a fridge. I vac pac mine and have eaten it after more than 1.5 months with no ill effects.

Server your salmon with coarsely ground black pepper and slices of lemon.

The ProQ Cold Smoke Generator is available online. HotSmoked.co.uk are my favourite vendor as their service is excellent and their choice of wood dusts fabulous.

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