This smoked salmon recipe on a Traeger grill is one of the favorites from Traeger. While it sounds simple, this specific recipe packs many flavors and a little twist on the process.
There are many ways to cook salmon on a grill, but the possibilities are almost endless with Traeger grills. You can grill directly, smoke, or roast your favorite meals with these grills.
The best thing about this recipe is that you only need to memorize or master the process itself, and then you can customize the ingredients to your liking once you know how to cook it.
We have made a step-by-step guide on the recipe from Traeger so you can follow an easier set of instructions. That way, you will have more fun cooking by knowing everything you need.
Salmon is one of the best types of fish to cook on a grill. However, just like most fishes, the flesh of a salmon is pretty sensitive in a way where it can be overcooked easily when left unattended.
So that is the first tip that you should take note of; make sure to always keep an eye on the salmon. Learn the other tips and the steps to this recipe below, and let us start cooking.
What You Will Need?
It is easy to find the best salmon as it is one of the most popular types of fish in supermarkets. You get to select the best one if you know how to look for the right color of the flesh.
Salmon should not be pink when they are fresh. There is a common misconception where salmon should be pale pink, which means that it is freshly caught and processed right away.
However, salmon meat should not be pink as they do have a lot of blood. A pale pink salmon means that the meat is already processed to prolong shelf life.
You are looking for a cut of salmon with a deeper color, somewhere between pink and red. Do not get salmon with patches of red over pale pink as it is even worse than the pink one.
Once you get your salmon, you can then start with the other ingredients. Just like we said, we have a little twist on this recipe as you will need a brine with slightly different ingredients.
First, get some fresh lemons for the garnish later on. You will need 1 cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of ground black pepper, half a cup of coarse salt, and a cup of vodka for the brine.
Yes, you read that right, vodka. This is a unique and somewhat unusual brine, but your salmon will have the best flavor with a nice crispy crust along with a chewy inside if done right.
So now you have all the ingredients, make sure to get the right pellets for your Traeger grill.
Get all your tools and utensils ready, and then follow the recipe below to start cooking your salmon.
Smoked Salmon Recipe
Step 1: Brine Salmon
First, get a bowl and mix the vodka, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk it with a fork to ensure that the mixture and the dry ingredients are mixed evenly throughout the mixture.
Put the salmon in a resealable bag and then pour the mixture into the bag. Press the mixture into the salmon but do not press too hard as it might rip the salmon apart before cooking.
Place the bag in the refrigerator and let it stay there for at least 2 hours. You can go for 4 hours but do not go beyond that as it might mess up the consistency of the flakes in the salmon.
Step 2: Rinse The Salmon
After letting the brine get into the salmon, rinse it and then dry with paper towels. You do not need the brine on the surface of the salmon, so you will have to remove it from the surface.
This is because it can make the skin and outer parts of the salmon flesh soggy. You would prefer crispy skin and outer parts, so make sure to remove the brine from the surface.
Set the salmon aside at room temperature on a clean plate and cover it with plastic wrap, so flies or other small insects do not enter the meat. Prepare your tools for cooking while waiting.
Step 3: Preheat The Traeger Grill
Once you get all the ingredients ready, fill up the pellet hopper of your Traeger grill and then start the fire. Make sure to select the pellet of your choice or go with applewood pellets.
Another go-to type of wood pellet is hickory, and it goes great with salmon. Fill up the pellet hopper as you will cook for quite a long time, so you will need a lot of pellets.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the Traeger grill to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and close the lid for 15 minutes. Activate the Super Smoke feature if it is available on your Traeger grill.
Step 4: Smoke The Salmon
You can place an aluminum foil on the grill grates before cooking, but I prefer putting the salmon directly on the grill grates. Place the salmon skin-side down on the grill and close the lid.
Let the salmon cook for 30 minutes before checking it. If that salmon starts to look dry on the surface, do not worry as it is only natural, and the salmon is not dry at this point.
After 30 minutes, increase the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and then close the grill’s lid. Allow the Traeger grill to preheat again for 15 minutes until it reaches the temperature.
Once ready, place the salmon back inside the grill and then let it cook for another 45 minutes to one hour. Insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the salmon and wait for it to cook.
The meat probe should read 140 degrees Fahrenheit to know that the salmon is cooks to perfection. Remove the salmon from the grill and then palace it on a plate, and then serve it.
Add some lemons on top of the salmon before serving. Enjoy!
Testing The Salmon
Allowing the salmon to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees is the safest way to know that the salmon cooked properly. It is the safe temperature to kill all the bacteria inside it.
You can also use a fork and press the salmon with it. If the flakes come off easily without breaking into pieces, the salmon is perfectly cooked.
Taste-testing is also applicable, but I suggest not to do it if you are not sure. The point is to make sure that the salmon is safe to eat, so do not do this unless you are sure.
Traeger has made many recipes that you can use to make the best meals for your family. We have here one example of how to make the best smoked salmon for your next meal.
Just make sure to follow the instructions above and keep on grilling so you can master it. The recipe is relatively simple, so you will not have trouble memorizing it for sure.
Once you do, you can get your favorite spices and seasonings and customize the recipe to your liking. Just use Traeger grills as always to get the best results!
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