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How long to smoke salmon at 200 degrees F (93C)? It takes 20-30 minutes to smoke salmon in a Nordic Ware smoker, or about two hours in a pellet smoker. Get a smoked salmon temperature chart for stovetop and traditionally smoked salmon. You’ll also learn what wood chips are best for smoking salmon, forming a pellicle, and other tips to get you hot smoking success!

how to smoke salmon

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How long does it take to smoke salmon? The time it takes to make hot smoked salmon depends on the cooking temperature. The cooking time for salmon also varies depending on whether you use a stovetop smoker or classic smoker.

Smoking your own salmon can save you money, and you can flavor it however you would like. You can skip the brown sugar or honey that is often present in store-bought smoked salmon, include your favorite herbs, and use whatever wood chips you prefer for smoking. The sky is the limit for flavor options when you learn how to smoke salmon!

Today you’ll learn how to brine and prepare salmon for smoking. You can use wild salmon or farm raised salmon fillet. Either way, making homemade smoked salmon will likely save money compared to buying smoked salmon from the store.

For example, Whole Foods currently has sockeye salmon for $15.50 per pound. Not cheap, but their hot smoked salmon costs $39.96 per pound ($9.99 per 4 ounces). You will spend less on Atlantic salmon versus sockeye, but smoked salmon will still cost you more.

Whether you have a Nordic Ware smoker or another type of smoker, you’ll learn the basics of smoking fish in this article. I’ll give you the smoked salmon time and temperature for kettle smokers, as well as electric smokers, and pellet grills.

⏲️ Smoked Salmon Temperature Chart

First things first: the cooking times using a Nordic Ware smoker are much shorter than electric smokers and pellet grills! Additionally, the smoking temperatures are different. The Nordic Ware smoker should be kept at 190-210F for smoking, while the Traeger and other brands of smoker may do best at other temperatures.

Here is a chart of smoked salmon temperatures and times:

TemperatureKettle Smoker Time (Nordic Ware)Electric Smoker or Grill Time
150F (66C) Not recommended Not recommended
160F (71C) Not recommended Not recommended
170F (77C) Not recommended 2½-3 hours
180F (82C) Not recommended 2-2½ hours
190F (88C) 20-30 minutes 2-2½ hours
200F (93C) 20-30 minutes 2 hours
210F (99C) 20-30 minutes 2 hours
220F (104C) Not recommended 1½-2 hours
225F (107C) Not recommended 1½-2 hours
250F (121C) Not recommended 60-90 minutes
275F (135C) Not recommended 60-90 minutes
300F (149C) Not recommended 30-60 minutes

Smoking times are given in ranges above, because they vary depending on the thickness of the salmon pieces. You’ll find large variations in smoked salmon recipes on the web, so take this table as a starting point. For example, Traeger has a recipe where salmon is smoked for 3-4 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot smoked salmon isn’t done until it reaches a safe internal temperature. I have more info on this down below.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 150 Degrees

It is not recommended that you smoke salmon at 150F. Some sources say that hot smoked salmon should reach a minimum internal temp of 160F. The fish will not reach this temp if it’s smoked too low.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 160

In the opinion of this registered dietitian, 160F is also too low to smoke salmon. Some smokers don’t even go to this low of a temperature.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 180

How long does salmon take to smoke at 180? Smoke salmon at 180F for 2-2½ hours. Make sure it reaches a safe internal temperature using a meat thermometer before serving.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 190

Smoke salmon at 190F for 2-2½ hours in an electric smoker or grill. Smoke salmon for 20-30 minutes in a stovetop smoker. Make sure the salmon reaches a safe internal temperature using a meat thermometer before serving.

How Long to Cook Salmon at 200 Celsius

Smoke salmon at 200F for 2 hours in an electric smoker or grill. Smoke salmon for 20-30 minutes in a stovetop smoker. Make sure the salmon reaches a safe internal temperature using a meat thermometer before serving.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 220

How long does it take to smoke salmon at 220? Smoke salmon for 1½-2 hours at 220F. Keep in mind that fish takes less time to smoke than meat and poultry.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 225

How long does it take to smoke salmon at 225? It takes 1½-2 hours to smoke salmon at 225F.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 250

How long does it take to smoke salmon at 250? Smoked salmon takes 60-90 minutes to smoke at 250F.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 275

Smoke salmon for 60-90 minutes at 275F. This temperature may be too high to be optimal for smoking salmon.

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 300

Smoke salmon for 30-60 minutes at 300F. I’d argue this temperature is too high for smoking fish, but it may work for you if you’re short on time.

Best Temperature to Smoke Salmon

Is 200 degrees too low for smoking? No, though some guides consider 225-250F to be the best temperature for smoking salmon and other fish (source). 190-210F is the best temperature to smoke fish and other foods in the Nordic Ware smoker.

Fatty fish, such as trout and salmon, are best for smoking. That’s because they absorb smoke better and faster than lean fish.

🥇 Best Smoker for Salmon (Nordic Ware Smoker)

Not everyone has the money or outdoor space to set up a large outdoor smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, a kettle smoker is one of the least expensive ways to smoke your own foods. IMVHO, the initial investment made to purchase this small appliance has been worth it.

If you’re not sure how often you’ll be smoking food, it doesn’t make sense to get an expensive setup. My Nordic Ware kettle smoker is the best smoker IMHO because it has allowed me to try smoking foods and it only cost around $100. Additionally, it takes up very little space and can be used indoors or outdoors.

The disadvantage is that if you’re smoking indoors, it is critical to have adequate ventilation available. I have a whole house fan that does a wonderful job of removing smoky air from the house. At minimum, you will want to have a stovetop vent with direct outside access running while you are smoking.

Having some windows open and not hanging over the smoker the entire time it’s on are good ideas too. However, you don’t want to leave the smoker completely unattended either! You will need to keep an eye on the temperature during the entire smoking process.

So, what if smoking food indoors is really not working out for you? Good news- you can use the Nordic Ware smoker outdoors on a grill as well. The versatility of this product played a part in my decision to take a risk and try it out.

👉 How to Smoke Salmon Using a Nordic Ware Smoker

Our basic smoked salmon recipe has three steps:

  1. Cure the salmon with salt
  1. Dry the salmon
  1. Smoke fish

If you want to turn into a salmon smoking expert, this salmon smoking guide from University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension has a lot of helpful information.

We’re going to brine the salmon in this recipe instead of dry salting. Using a wet brine rather than a dry brine helps with consistent salt coverage. The salt helps preserve the fish and helps kill bad bacteria.

That said, the salt solution I’m using is actually weaker than is typically recommended. I felt it was necessary to keep the fish from becoming too salty. Since we’re brining in the fridge, and not leaving the fish in the temperature danger zone for long, this shouldn’t cause any issues.

After brining the fish in a salty solution, you will want to let the surface dry out. We’re going to accomplish this by patting it dry and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours. This gives the fish time to form a pellicle, a layer that will help smoke flavor to adhere and seal in moisture.

Smoked Salmon Ingredients

Here is what you need to make this smoked salmon recipe:

  • 1 lb. salmon (454 grams)
  • ⅓ cup finely ground kosher salt (not iodized salt)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon Colman’s mustard powder
smoked salmon ingredients

Make sure to use non-iodized salt for this recipe. Kosher salt, pickling salt, and canning salt are recommended. Don’t use curing salts that contain nitrites.

Some say you shouldn’t use sea salt for brining salmon because it contains impurities that can lead to off flavors. (“Off flavors” are the same reason it’s advised to avoid iodized salt.) However, I usually use sea salt in this recipe and haven’t had this issue.

What cut of salmon is best for smoking?

Many consider king salmon and sockeye salmon best for smoking, since they have a robust flavor and rich color. You can also use other types of salmon or even steelhead in this recipe. Salmon is expensive, so buy the fresh or frozen salmon you can afford for this recipe.

For ease of preparation, I do recommend using a piece of boneless salmon. That way you won’t have to waste time picking out the pin bones with tweezers. I prefer to smoke salmon with the skin, but that’s up to you.

How to Prepare and Brine Salmon for Smoking

Here are the step-by-step directions for smoking salmon:

how to smoke salmon
  1. Put the salt and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the salt dissolves in the water. Do not boil the solution. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
  1. Put the salmon in a small glass baking dish. Cover it completely with the saltwater brine. Let the salmon rest in the brine in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  1. After 24 hours, remove the salmon from the brine, rinse it with cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels.
  1. Mix the dill, black pepper, lemon zest, and mustard powder together. Rub this mixture all over the skinless side of the salmon.
  1. Let the seasoned salmon rest in a single layer in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. This step is important to form the pellicle which will help the smoke flavor to adhere to the fish.

How to Smoke Salmon

  1. Set up your full-size Nordic Ware smoker with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded wood chips that are meant for smoking food. I used the hickory chips that came with the smoker.
  1. Put the drip pan and smoking tray in the smoker. Put the salmon skin-side down in a single layer on the smoking tray. If the salmon has a very thin edge, you can fold it under so it doesn’t dry out.
  1. Put the lid on the smoker. Ensure the thermometer is attached properly and the lid vent is closed. Turn your stovetop vent fan on.
  1. Put the smoker on a stovetop burner and turn the heat to medium-low. Allow the smoker’s thermometer to come to 190F (88C).
  1. Once the temperature comes to 190F (88C), turn the stovetop to low, and set a timer to smoke the salmon for 20-30 minutes. I chose to smoke the salmon for 20 minutes, because it was only ¼-inch thick (0.6cm). Make sure that the smoker stays in the 190F-210F (88C-99C) range for the entire smoking period. You may need to adjust the stovetop’s heat or open the vent on the lid. Keep a close eye on things!
  1. If the heat on the smoker is rising too rapidly, you can always quickly lift the lid and peek at your salmon. This is an easy way to help bring the temperature back down.
  1. After the timed smoking period, turn off the stovetop and remove the salmon from the smoker. Extinguish the spent wood chips by soaking them in water.
  1. Refrigerate the salmon and serve it chilled. The end result is very similar to hot smoked salmon from a high-end grocery store. I hope that you enjoy it!
stove top smoked salmon

How long does it take to form a pellicle on a salmon in the refrigerator?

It takes from 2-24 hours for salmon to form a pellicle, depending on the thickness of the fish (source). A 1-inch thick piece of salmon takes about 6-8 hours to dry.

🌡️ Internal Temp of Smoked Salmon

How do you know when smoked salmon is done? The minimum safe internal temperature for salmon is 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63C). However, some sources recommend cooking smoked salmon to at least 160F (71C) to reduce harmful bacteria in the fish.

Does smoked salmon need to be cooked or heated before eating?

Hot smoked salmon was cooked during the smoking process. It should not need to be cooked again.

Cold smoked fish is also generally not heated before eating, though it was not cooked in the smoking process. You should freeze cold smoked salmon prior to cold smoking, to help destroy harmful parasites.

🪵 Best Wood to Smoke Salmon

What kind of smoke is best for salmon? According to my favorite meat smoking guide, alder is the best kind of smoke for salmon and other fish. Some other good woods for smoking salmon include:

  • Almond
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Cherry
  • Chestnut
  • Hickory
  • Maple Mesquite
  • Nectarine
  • Oak
  • Peach
  • Pecan
  • Plum

Essentially, the best wood is going to be something that’s available to you and that has a flavor you enjoy. I personally like the strong flavor of hickory chips best for smoked salmon.

❓ How Long is Smoked Salmon Safe to Eat After Smoking

What is the shelf life of smoked salmon and do I need to refrigerate it? Homemade smoked salmon generally isn’t well preserved with salt or smoke, and must be refrigerated. I recommend storing smoked salmon in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Though some sources say you can keep lightly salted and smoked fish for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator before it spoils, I wouldn’t take the risk. Luckily, Nordic smoked salmon freezes well. For longer term storage, wrap individual pieces of salmon in plastic wrap and store in the freezer in a freezer bag with the air pressed out.

😋 How Do I Prepare a Smoked Salmon Meal

For me, there are some mornings where nothing beats salmon and cream cheese on a freshly toasted bagel. I’ll take cold or hot-smoked salmon, seasoned with a wide variety of herbs and spices. I’m not particular about it, as long as I get that smoky salmon flavor.

smoked salmon recipe

Here are a few more ways to make smoked salmon into a meal:

FAQs

What makes smoked salmon so delicious?

The salty flavor and smoky umami flavor in smoked salmon is irresistible. Additionally, some smoked salmon recipes also bring in sweetness from maple syrup or sugar. The fat plus carbs combo is in many food favorites (cake, cookies, pizza, etc.) because it appeals to most of us.

How to cold smoke salmon?

Here are some general safety instructions for cold smoked salmon. Note that there is a bigger food safety risk with cold smoking vs hot smoking. If your cold smoked salmon will not be cooked before eating, you should freeze and thaw the fish prior to smoking.

How many calories in smoked salmon?

There are 162 calories, 0 grams carbohydrates, and 22.1 grams protein in this smoked salmon recipe. This no sugar smoked salmon is low carb, keto, gluten free, and dairy free.

Is smoked salmon lox?

No, smoked salmon and lox are not the same. Lox is traditionally cured but not smoked. However, many refer to Nova-style salmon (salmon that is cured and cold-smoked) as lox. The hot smoked salmon here is not considered lox by any definition.

What is the white stuff on smoked salmon?

The white stuff on salmon that is hot smoked is a type of coagulated protein called albumin. A little white stuff on smoked salmon is normal and harmless. If you see lots of white stuff on salmon however, it means the fish was overcooked.

Why is my smoked salmon mushy?

Homemade smoked salmon may get mushy if it’s left in the salty brine too long, or if it’s overcooked.

Why is my smoked salmon pink?

Cold smoked salmon isn’t cooked and is usually brighter pink than hot smoked salmon. Both farmed and wild-caught salmon are pink due to a substance called astaxanthin in their diets.

smoke salmon indoors

👩🏻‍🍳 Other Nordic Ware Stovetop Smoker Recipes

Looking for more Nordic Ware smoker recipes? The Nordic Ware smoker comes with a book that has a chart giving approximate smoking times for various proteins and veggies. Additionally, the book provides about 10 recipes to get you started.

I feel like this is not nearly enough information for those new to smoking foods! Here are some more recipes using the Nordicware smoker:

You can also try smoking ribs, chicken, pork roast, or anything you’d make in an outdoor smoker.

👨🏾‍🍳‍ More Salmon Recipes

Here are more recipes for salmon:

Watch How to Make It!

smoked salmon

How Long to Smoke Salmon at 200 Degrees (Temperature Chart)

Summer Yule
How long to smoke salmon at 200 degrees F (93C)? Find out here!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Slow Food DIY
Cuisine Norwegian
Servings 4
Calories 162 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon (454 grams; with skin, boneless)
  • cup kosher salt (not iodized salt)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon Colman's mustard powder
Don’t be a stranger! 😊If you love this recipe, please come back and leave a rating. This helps readers and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you ❤️

Instructions

  • Put the salt and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the salt dissolves in the water. Do not boil the solution. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
  • Put the salmon in a small glass baking dish. Cover it completely with the saltwater brine. Let the salmon rest in the brine in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, remove the salmon from the brine, rinse it very well with cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels. 
  • Mix the dill, black pepper, lemon zest, and mustard powder together. Rub this mixture all over the skinless side of the salmon. 
  • Let the seasoned salmon rest in a single layer in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. This step is important to form the pellicle which will help the smoke flavor to adhere to the fish.
  • Set up your full-size Nordic Ware smoker with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded wood chips that are meant for smoking food. I used the hickory chips that came with the smoker. 
  • Put the drip pan and smoking tray in the smoker. Put the salmon skin-side down in a single layer on the smoking tray. If the salmon has a very thin edge, you can fold it under so it doesn’t dry out. 
  • Put the lid on the smoker. Ensure the thermometer is attached properly and the lid vent is closed. Turn your stovetop vent fan on. 
  • Put the smoker on a stovetop burner and turn the heat to medium-low. Allow the smoker's thermometer to come to 190°F (88°C). 
  • Once the temperature comes to 190°F (88°C), turn the stovetop to low, and set a timer to smoke the salmon for 20-30 minutes. I chose to smoke the salmon for 20 minutes, because it was only ¼-inch thick (0.6cm). Make sure that the smoker stays in the 190°F-210°F (88°C-99°C) range for the entire smoking period. You may need to adjust the stovetop's heat or open the vent on the lid. Keep a close eye on things! 
  • If the heat on the smoker is rising too rapidly, you can always quickly lift the lid and peek at your salmon. This is an easy way to help bring the temperature back down. 
  • After the timed smoking period, turn off the stovetop and remove the salmon from the smoker. Extinguish the spent wood chips by soaking them in water. 
  • Refrigerate the salmon and serve it chilled. The end result is very similar to hot smoked salmon from a high-end grocery store. I hope that you enjoy it! 

Notes

💭 Expert Tips from Dietitian Summer Yule

This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Is smoked salmon healthy? Salmon is a fatty fish that’s a rich source of the omega-3s DHA and EPA. This smoked salmon is also a nice way to get adequate protein in at breakfast (a meal where many of us fall short on protein).
For a higher calorie breakfast, serve smoked salmon filet on a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, plus fruit on the side. For a low-calorie or low-carb meal, try serving it with a veggie omelet instead. A cup of fresh strawberries would be great for a side dish and would not add much to the calorie or carb count.
The main disadvantage of this recipe is that the brine makes it fairly high sodium. If you’re on a low sodium diet, regular salmon that wasn’t smoked may be a healthier choice for you. Season it with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon juice to add flavor.
Does smoked salmon carry any of the health risks of preserved meats such as bacon?
Smoking salmon produces potentially harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (source), similar to when bacon is smoked. For this reason (and the high salt content), I would vary the type of salmon in the diet, and not solely choose smoked salmon as your salmon source. Fresh salmon, frozen salmon, and canned salmon are some tasty alternatives to smoked salmon.
 
Nutrition information is for one serving. Sodium content may vary depending on how well the salmon is rinsed. 

 

nutrition info disclaimer

 

All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.

 

The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.

 

“To taste” means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don’t eat undercooked food x

Nutrition

Calories: 162kcalCarbohydrates: 0.4gProtein: 22.1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gFiber: 0.1gVitamin A: 2.4% DVVitamin C: 0.2% DVCalcium: 4.6% DVIron: 4.8% DV
Keywords how long to smoke salmon, how long to smoke salmon at 200, how long to smoke salmon at 200 degrees, how to smoke salmon, Nordic Ware, NordicWare, salmon, smoker, smoking
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smoked salmon

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great clear & simple presentation. I will be giving it a try this week. The smoking time is of particular interest to me as my booklet has disappeared and I have yet to find a copy on line.

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of the more straightforward smoking recipes I’ve found. I typically order my own online, but I’ll plan on making this a weekend project. Thank you for posting!

  3. Great healthy alternative to store-bought, Summer, especially as your preparation allows the home cook to control smokiness and saltiness, both of which the commercial brands, even the best of them, apply with too heavy a hand. The fact that you also are saving $, well, that’s just a nice fringe.

    Couldn’t agree more about salmon being a great way to start the day. I’ve found it satisfies many of the same impulses bacon does, though at not nearly so steep a price, health wise. Sure, bacon still is, in many ways, unparalleled, but salmon does check many of bacon’s boxes too.

    Especially welcome a post, Summer, particularly as, as you point out, King, or any variety wild-caught, rivals and even surpasses filet mignon’s prices. Great workaround!

    1. The salmon generally offers more protein than the bacon, so no surprise that you’d find it more satisfying! That said, I recently came across a recipe for homemade salmon bacon that I found quite intriguing. It’s something I plan on trying out in the future.

      Tonight I actually broke out the smoker again, since I am making something for dinner that requires smoked chicken as an ingredient. The last time I made this dish, I purchased a smoked chicken from a smokehouse and it was quite expensive! The smoker has saved me a bit of money once again. I’d say I’ve been extremely satisfied with this purchase! 🙂

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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