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How to Smoke Salmon with Dry Rub

This is how to smoke salmon in an electric smoker or Traeger right at home! This is the best salmon with dry rub you will ever make that melts in your mouth with every bite. If you have never smoked fish, or looking for something new we will walk you thru step by step. A healthy dinner idea.

How to Smoke Salmon with dry rub

I got my husband a smoker last year and we’ve been making the most amazing salmon in it. Here’s how to smoke salmon in your smoker so you can enjoy the deliciousness too! 😉 It’s one of our favorite easy smoker recipes. This post brought to you by Seafood Nutrition Partnership. (affiliate links present)

Smoked Salmon

Ok so this is probably our favorite meal ever. If we had the time (and it was on sale) often enough we would eat it for dinner every single week. Not only is it so healthy for you but smoking salmon on a Traeger is just delicious. If you have had this at a restaurant you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to make yourself.

Yes you can just enjoy the flavors of the wood chips or pellets and salt and pepper but if you use our salmon dry rub it will take this from good to out of this world. Are you ready???

You can make this as an electric smoker recipe too, either machine works.

To get your meats absolutely perfect we have this printable meat smoking chart to refer to so each and every time it will be fork tender.

  • Recently we upgraded to this Traeger pellet smoker and grill and love it.
    • We started with an electric smoker that was a Charbroil which worked well to start with.
  • I like applewood pellets, we always have those on hand and make almost everything.
  • This smoker cookbook has some more great ideas if you want to cook outside more regularly.

Traeger Salmon

The key to success for your Traeger salmon fillet really is the rub. If you have your own go to mix then by all means whisk that up. Ours gets five stars from everyone who tries it so if you don’t I would highly suggest making ours. You can amp it up with some heat or keep it mild.

You can have a really expensive piece of fish but if you have an amazing rub even an average piece of fish can become incredibly flavorful.

Of course both including a wild caught or Atlantic salmon filet are best. 😉 Here’s the secret to the best baked salmon (and now smoked) my husband swears by. This time I asked him to actually write it down for me so I could share with all of you.

How to Smoke Salmon in an Electric Smoker

You’d follow the same instructions and timing below but use wood chips instead of pellets. We have done it both ways and it turns out great in either one.

smoked salmon recipe

Smoked Salmon with Dry Rub

Once you’ve rinsed your beautiful piece of salmon, pat fish dry and lay it on a cutting board. Then begin to prepare your rub.

We’re all about using spices when it comes to smoking fish.  Combining sugar salt ingredients gives your smoked salmon an incredible flavor. You can add a bit of heat too if you desire.

  • Here is the smoked salmon rub recipe in it’s entirety.

It is amazing how different salmon tastes when you massage a good rub into it before smoking. It’s so much better than leaving it off in our opinion. Ours is a salty and sweet rub for fish that people comment on all the time and say this is now their go to smoked salmon recipe.

You’ll have to let us know what you think…..

salmon with dry rub

How to smoke salmon on a pellet grill

You could use an electric smoker as well if that is all you have. We have owned both at one point in time and didn’t find a huge difference other than the type of chips you use in each. My husband prefers wood chips now that we’ve used both over time.

  1. Electric smoker or pellet grill / smoker
  2. Salmon fillet (leave skin on)
    1. this needs to be defrosted
    2. if still hard follow our frozen salmon grill directions
  3. Salmon dry rub
    1. Brown sugar
    2. Paprika
    3. Sugar
    4. Salt and pepper
    5. Garlic powder
    6. Chili powder (more or less depending on what heat level you desire)
  4. Wood chips – great variety pack 
    1. or wood pellets

You can either put a thin or thick layer of rub on your fillet. For a more intense flavor, coat and then wrap in plastic wrap. Keep in fridge for up to 12 hours to deepen flavors. I refrigerate for about an hour or so myself.

traeger salmon

How Long to Smoke Salmon

Combine your ingredients for the rub. Then massage it on to the top and bottom (yes on the skin side too) of your fillet, and you’re ready to cook.

  • Add wood chips or pellets into your smoker by filling the container 3/4 of the way full. 
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees
  • Lay your fillet flat on a rack with the skin side facing down.
  • Smoke fish for approx. 2 hours.
    • Check after about 1.5 hrs. to ensure all is going well.
  • Salt and pepper to taste at end if you want more seasoning (we like it as is). Enjoy.

I say to set your timer for 1.5 hrs. to check on it. Typically it is perfectly done in about 2 hrs, but it depends on the thickness. You want the flavor of smoke to adhere to the fish so wrapping it in foil is not recommended.

smoked salmon recipe
smoked salmon

How do you eat smoked salmon?

Well of course you can eat it as is with a side of mixed vegetables in your air fryer, or smoked vegetables for a very healthy meal. Some like to drizzle a bit of maple syrup on it for a bit of sweetness.

Rinse brown or Ninja Foodi white rice with some cold water and serve this as a side dish as well. We think the seasonings added at the beginning are way more than enough (and the reviews below concur) but you could add more.

Pair it with some steamed air fryer broccoli too and you’re ready for a tasty dinner! If you love fish as much as our family does, it’s a real winner! 

If you cook fish often and have a killer recipe let us know we’d love to try it next! This is of course the hot smoking method. If you have a cold smoking recipe we’d love to try it. Salmon is not only great for dinner but on top of an everything bagel with a little cream cheese for lunch is amazing too.

We don’t really check the internal temperature when done. Fish just needs to be flaky to be perfect, and overdone isn’t good. A bit underdone is better than dry. Looking for more easy fish recipes?

smoked salmon recipe
how to smoke salmon on a pellet grill

Is it healthy to eat smoked salmon?

This goes for both prepared and sold in the stores, and smoking salmon at home. YES! It’s a good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium and selenium. Once you love this we would love it if you would try our air fryer salmon or Instant Pot frozen salmon too!

When you’re ready to take it a step further and smoke meats like beef and pork, there is a link to a printable meat smoking chart above to get you started. Here are a few other smoker recipes to try:

salmon in air fryer

It does have a decent amount of sodium in it though so keep that in mind if you have high blood pressure. In that case you’d want to eat it in moderation since 3 ounces has 666 ml of sodium.

Does Smoked Salmon Freeze Well?

  • That is assuming you do have leftovers which is never true in our house.
  • However, if you do: Of course you can freeze smoked salmon. It can stay in the freezer 6-9 months past the printed date on the package, or the day it was made at home. 
  • I personally prefer to eat it freshly cooked of course as I think the texture is a bit altered when it is reheated.

How do you reheat frozen smoked salmon?

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place it in either a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet. Then, lightly coat the top with a little butter or a spray of olive oil.

Warm the smoked salmon in the oven for about five minutes, depending on the strength of your oven. You can print recipe below if you’d like.

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the typical mom
traeger salmon recipe
Print Pin
4.75 from 12 votes

How to Smoke Salmon

How to smoke salmon with dry rub in your smoker right at home! The best rub for fish you will ever make that brings out the flavor and makes it melt in your mouth good. Easy recipe for those who have never smoked fish or looking for something new. Healthy and delicious dinner idea. 
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword easy, salmon, smoked
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 148kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 
  • Massage rub into top and skin side of salmon fillet. 
  • Add chips to smoker by filling container/drawer 3/4 full. 
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees, lay fillet flat on a rack once it reaches this temperature and smoke for approx. 2 hours. Check at 1.5 hrs. to ensure all is going well.
  • Salt and pepper to taste at end if you want more seasoning (we like it as is). Enjoy.


Nutrition Facts
How to Smoke Salmon
Amount Per Serving (4 oz)
Calories 148 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 2344mg102%
Potassium 182mg5%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

how to smoke salmonHow to smoke salmon

Recipe Rating

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Monday 3rd of July 2023

Do you put the fish in a brine before? seasoning

The Typical Mom

Monday 3rd of July 2023

I haven't used a brine with this, only dry rub is plenty enough flavoring


Friday 23rd of June 2023

once I add rub and refrigerant it over night or at least 4 hours I rinse rub off and pat dry.


Thursday 30th of June 2022

I prefer to eat this cold either with crackers and a creamy dill sauce or on a salad. Makes a good appetizer.

Michelle Crooker

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

My whole family loves this salmon over every other salmon recipe I’ve made. The only thing is, I cut the salt down to 1 tablespoon instead of 2. I’m a huge salt freak and I thought 2 tablespoons is too much.

Jeanne H

Tuesday 6th of July 2021

We love smoked salmon! Can't wait to try this one!! Here's my recipe: rinse your salmon and cut into several large chunks. Put into a zip lock bag and add ape juice to cover salmon. Zip shut tightly! Let sit for 2 hrs. In juice. The take and drain apple juice. Put into new zip loc bag and pour this seasoning over it: 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup Kosher salt, 1/4 cup course ground black pepper. Mix well and sprinkle liberally over your salmon seal bag and let set for 2 hours. Then take out and rinse salmon and lay on sheet pan in air to dry for 20 minutes. Place on smoker skin side down. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours or until whiter fat starts to come out. Remove.let cool completely and then wrap in single packages. Freezes well!! Enjoy!!!

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