James Carrier
Makes 8 servings

The grilled salmon at Taku Glacier Lodge is legendary. Visitors can reserve the short floatplane ride up the river from Juneau and enjoy dinner at the lodge (available only in summer). The staff claims to engage in outdoor "combat cooking" - that is, holding back the bears until the salmon is done - but the evening we were there, the only big black beast being held at bay looked an awful lot like a well-fed Labrador retriever. We've reconfigured Taku Lodge's baste ingredients so they can serve as marinade as well.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large, wide bowl or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, stir brown sugar, wine, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until sugar is dissolved.

Step 2

Rinse fish and pat dry. Add to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 3

Lift salmon from marinade and transfer to a 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Pour marinade into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat; add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture is simmering, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 4

Lay salmon, skinned side down, on a generously oiled grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush fish generously with the baste; close lid if using a gas grill. Cook until salmon pieces are well browned on the bottom, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes (keep a spray bottle filled with clean water on hand to spritz any flare-ups). With a wide spatula, carefully turn pieces; brush tops with baste and continue to cook, basting often, until the salmon is just opaque but still moist-looking in the center of the thickest part (cut to test), about 5 to 6 minutes longer. Discard any remaining baste.

Step 5

Transfer salmon to a warm platter or plates and garnish with lemon wedges. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Ratings & Reviews

lhalter's Review

July 26, 2009
I have made this twice now, and both times, it was a huge hit. It is quick and easy with just a few ingredients, but the flavor is HUGE! We have salmon quite a bit, as it is my daughter's favorite fish. This is now her favorite salmon recipe, and mine too!

Chell962's Review

July 16, 2009
I have actually had salmon at the Taku Lodge and this recipe captures the salmon that I had there... minus the incredible scenery. We flew into the lodge on the pontoon plane and had dinner there while on our honeymoon 24 years ago. The salmon is on the sweeter side, carmelizing the sauce is important to give it the taste it needs. Do marinate, but do reserve enough of the sauce to brush the salmon with during grilling. And, I do highly recommend visiting the Taku Lodge in person. I can still remember sitting at the picnic tables having this wonderful, wonderful salmon!

RosSusan's Review

June 16, 2010
We are making this tomorrow with salmon my husband caught in Sitka, we had it on 6/7 at the Lodge. Hope ours turns out as wonderful. Go see it for yourself if you have a chance - it was wonderful. And, we did see the bears, momma, poppa and baby!!

phoebe1214's Review

August 14, 2012
This was a good recipe. Everyone loved it, but I wonder if it was because the king salmon we used was so fantastic. The marinade was very sweet, maybe too sweet.

Dwhitmoyer's Review

June 13, 2010
I actually ate this at the Taku Lodge while visiting Alaska. Stupendous.

jillaki's Review

May 22, 2009
Easy to make and tasty!

rcturner525's Review

March 17, 2011
I did not have the benefit of memories of a trip to Alaska coming rushing back while I ate this salmon. So I have to judge it on its merits alone. It was a solid recipe, my kids liked it, my husband thought it was ok. I liked the baste/marinade and I thought it made for a nice, light flavor (if a little greasy. Might skip the butter next time). I woudl never have thought to combine brown sugar and white wine, and it was very good. Not spectacular, but good. I'll make it again because it was so easy to throw together and because my kiddos liked it a lot.

Carol47's Review

August 14, 2009
What a wonderful memory - 30 years ago I had the salmon at the Taku Lodge and indeed, the black bears emerged from the woods to stand on the hot fire and lick the grill. The salmon was incredible - a crisp, sweet crust with a moist interior. Although it's been many years, I've never forgotten it and am delighted to have found the recipe.

SusanJoy's Review

June 03, 2010
I was all set to try this recipe but made the mistake of reading the reviews first -- a bear licking the grill?! EWWWWWWWWW

Jenny1964's Review

June 05, 2010
I didn't have the Dry White Wine; therefore, I used White Cooking Wine and I substituted salt with Kosher Salt...This salmon compares to any top restaurant and is very delicious. It is appropriate for special occasions or an everyday meal. I highly recommend that you try this recipe - my family LOVED it! Thank you for the recipe!!!