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Smoked Salmon, Barbecue University-Style

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Hands-on time 40 mins
Total time 6 hrs
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: 5 ounces cooked salmon)
This whisky-scented smoked salmon combines the virtues of hot smoking and cedar planking. The dry brine in a sugar-salt mixture seasons the fish wonderfully. Cedar planks are available at grill stores and cookware shops. For gas grilling, place drained, soaked wood chips in a disposable aluminum pan directly on the burner of your grill.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Scotch whisky
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) 3/4-inch-thick, center-cut skinless salmon fillet (preferably wild)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 (15 x 6 1/2 x 3/8–inch) cedar grilling plank
  • 1 1/2 cups hickory wood chips
  • Coarsely cracked black peppercorns (optional)
  • Lemon slices (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 312
  • fat 9.6 g
  • satfat 2 g
  • monofat 3.2 g
  • polyfat 3.3 g
  • protein 36 g
  • carbohydrate 14 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 90 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 444 mg
  • calcium 32 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine whisky and salmon in a large zip-top plastic bag. Refrigerate 1 hour, turning occasionally. Drain; pat salmon dry.

  2. Combine brown sugar, pepper, salt, and rind in a large bowl. Place one-third of sugar mixture in bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish. Add fish; top evenly with remaining sugar mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 4 hours. Rinse fish well; pat dry.

  3. Soak grilling plank in water 1 hour; drain. Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes; drain.

  4. Remove grill rack; set aside. Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating both sides to medium and leaving center with no heat. Maintain temperature at medium (325°). Toss wood chips on coals. Place grill rack on grill. Place salmon, skinned-side down, on plank in center of hot rack, away from the heat. Cover; cook 30 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with cracked peppercorns and lemon slices, if desired.