Smoked Salmon, Barbecue University-Style

Smoked Salmon, Barbecue University-Style
Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Lindsey Lower
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.


Serves 4 (serving size: 5 ounces cooked salmon)
Total time: 6 Hours

Recipe from

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Recipe Time

Hands-on: 40 Minutes
Total: 6 Hours

Nutritional 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


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)


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.