This apricot and honey smoked salmon recipe is a “hot smoked salmon,” made by smoking salmon over low heat on the Green Mountain Grills pellet grill. It’s one of our most tried-and-true family recipes, inspired by the great “Smoker Jim” in Cayucos!
Honey & Apricot Smoked Salmon Ingredients
- 1 filet fresh wild salmon (we buy ours at Costco)
- Dark brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Apricot Jam or Honey
How to Make Honey Smoked Salmon
The first thing I do is rinse the salmon filets in very cool water on both sides. Then, I just transfer them over to some paper towels to dry.
Next, you want to take your hand and run it down the fillet to see if you feel any little bones protruding through the flesh. If you do, use some pliers or even tweezers to pull them out.
Now that we’ve checked for pin bones, we are going to cut the salmon in sections. I usually cut the filet into about four pieces so it’s easier to brine and cook on the smoker.
To make the dry brine, we are going to mix together 2 cups of dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup of kosher salt. You don’t want to use regular table salt for this. I’m also adding 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper.
In a large casserole dish, spread some of the dry brine on the base. Add the filets of salmon and pack on more of the brown sugar brine so it’s really well coated. Make sure you pack around the edges as well. Try not to leave any of the flesh exposed. Brining sucks out some of the moisture from the fish while infusing it with great flavor.
Now, wrap your dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator anywhere from four to 8 hours. When it’s done, you’ll definitely notice the difference in color.
The next step is to remove the brine. Rinse all of your filets very well under cold running water, making sure to remove all of the brown sugar and salt.
Now, place on a rack that’s been sprayed with a little nonstick spray. You can also use something called a frog mat that are silicone sheets that are used in smokers so your product doesn’t stick to the grill.
Let the salmon sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. It will develop a film called pellicle that will help seal moisture inside of the salmon and create a sticky surface for the smoke to stick to.
Now, the salmon filets are ready for the smoker. I like to slice them in smaller serving sizes, but you can leave them any size you like.
I preheat my smoker to 150 F. Smoke the salmon for about 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush on about 1/4 cup of melted apricot jam or honey onto the salmon.
We got the idea from Smoker Jim, who ran a great little fish smoke shop in Cayucos.
Serve this delicious apricot smoked salmon with cream cheese, crackers, and some cold craft beer or a glass of wine. Give this recipe a try — I think you’ll like it!
Watch my smoked salmon video!
If you make this apricot honey smoked salmon, you can use the leftovers for this smoked salmon dip!
More easy salmon recipes
- Big Green Egg Smoked Salmon
- Salmon and Feta Sandwich
- Salmon Kebabs
- Smoked Salmon Tacos
- Maple Glazed Grilled Salmon
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Apricot & Honey Smoked SalmonRecipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
- 1 filet fresh wild salmon
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Apricot Jam or Honey for basting, as needed
- Rinse and pat dry salmon fillet. Remove any pinbones and skin (if desired).
- Cut salmon into serving-size steaks.
- Make dry brine by mixing the sugar, salt and pepper together.
- Spread dry brine on a glass casserole dish and pack in layers with the salmon pieces. Put in the refrigerator to set 4 to 8 hours.
- Rinse the salmon pieces under cool running water, thoroughly removing the brine.
- Let the salmon sit on a rack at room temperature for 1-2 hours. It will develop a film called pellicle that will help seal moisture inside of the salmon and create a sticky surface for the smoke to stick to.
- On a smoker set to 150 F, smoke the fish roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it reaches your desired firmness.
- During the last 15-30 minutes of cooking, you can brush on some melted apricot jam and/or honey.
- Serve as an appetizer with cold beer and a chilled glass of chardonnay, or over crackers with some cream cheese and fresh chopped chives. Bon appetit!
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My favorite. Don’t ever delete this webpage. Thank you
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoy the recipe.
Looks so delish! What’s the approx. weight of the fillet?
Hello Jane! Thanks for your comment! I used a half salmon fillet purchased from my market. I can’t recall the weight, but if you use a half fillet there should be enough brine for the recipe.
I have made this several times and it is EPIC! My families favorite thing on the smoker! I just got two fillets and I am about to brine them now to smoke tomorrow! God bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas! Thank you chef Jason for this recipe!
Hi Joey! Thank you so much for the kind words! Hope you enjoy your latest batch, and I hope you also have a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends!
This recipe is amazing. Unfortunately we moved to the different country and we are not able to get cracked pepper. Do you think we could use the normal one and just crack it by using a knife?
Hello Sabina! Thank you so much for the feedback. You can certainly use any kind of black pepper. You can also take peppercorns and run them through a grinder or processor. Enjoy!
What’s the best way to transport the salmon once I’ve smoked it at home. Want to take it to party an hour away.
Does it continue to cook?
You can just wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a Tupperware. It won’t continue to cook. You can put it in an insulated bag with some ice packs for transport. Enjoy!!
You can put it in a casserole dish and cover it with foil. It shouldn’t continue to cook once you’re done. Hope this helps!