Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze

July 28, 2019

This Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze is the most delectable, smoky, melt in your mouth salmon you will ever have. While this process requires a little bit of time and patience, it is totally worth it! Believe me when I say you’ve never had salmon quite like this before. It is one smoke that is well worth the wait.

Smoked Salmon

Hot smoked salmon is a food experience you’re sure to love. It requires some extra love and attention, but believe me when I say it is definitely worth the work and wait. It makes for the perfect weekend smoke project, and I guarantee it’ll be hard to find leftovers once you put this out on the table.

When purchasing your salmon to smoke, purchase skin on if possible. I’ve smoked with both skin on and off, but skin on is better. Having the skin on helps the salmon hold together during the curing and smoking stages. I also recommend purchasing salmon that has less fat running through the muscles. Aim to buy wild caught Alaskan king or sockeye salmon. Farmed Atlantic salmon works just fine, but more fat can mean more albumin (that white build up on the outside of the salmon) while you’re cooking. Plus, commercially farmed salmon is often artificially colored.

In my opinion, wild caught salmon has the best flavor when smoking, but I understand that you have to cook what you like best (and what’s available and in your budget)! My kids always prefer the more mild flavor of Atlantic salmon.

Smoked Salmon Brine

Smoked Salmon Brine

Any time you are smoking salmon, you need to brine it first. This recipe is for hot smoked salmon, so the curing stage is different than a cold smoked salmon which often sits in a dry salt crust cure for 24 hours. The salt in this brine does this magical thing where it draws out the moisture from the salmon which helps intensify the flavor and season the meat all at the same time.

Important note! Make sure you use Kosher salt for this recipe, as table salt typically has iodide in it and that can cause some funky flavors. It will also later the concentration of salt in the brine.

This smoked salmon brine recipe is designed to infuse the salmon with a little bit of the sweetness from the maple syrup and some bright yummy zip from the orange. It is really pretty unbelievably tasty for how simple it is. Also, a lot of flavor comes from the maple orange glaze, so invest in good maple syrup and orange juice for the best results.

How to Smoked Salmon

How to Smoke Salmon

Making smoked salmon requires quite a few steps, and each one is extremely important to ensure your salmon cooks well. Follow these 5 steps to get the best hot smoked salmon you’ve ever had!

  1. Cure the salmon. Combine all the ingredients for the cure in a glass container. Gently submerge your salmon into the liquid. Cover, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  2. Develop a pellicle. Similar to making home cured bacon, this salmon needs to form a sticky layer on the outside, called a pellicle, to help the smoke cling to the fish. The pellicle develops once the salmon is removed from the brine and sits in the fridge overnight on a cooling rack, uncovered.
  3. Preheat your smoker and prep the glaze. Combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat your smoker to 165-170 degrees F. I use my Camp Chef pellet grill to get consistent temperatures and good smoke. The most important part to smoking this salmon is maintaining a low temperature (around 165 degrees) while smoking. If your smoker wants to run higher than that, you can place an aluminum tray with ice under the grates (not touching the salmon) and that should help keep the temperature down. I smoked this salmon with maple wood, but any mellow wood like pecan or alder works well.
  4. Smoke the salmon! This is a hot smoked salmon, so it is going to fully cook on the smoker. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill grates and smoke for 3-4 hours, or until the internal temp reaches 145 degrees F. Brush the salmon with the glaze every hour while it is smoking.
  5. Eat and enjoy. This smoked salmon can be eaten fresh off the grill, or served cold. Simply flake and eat.

Smoked Salmon Recipe

How Long to Smoke Salmon

Getting your salmon up to the correct internal temperature of 145 degrees can take a few hours. Keep an eye on the progress by using a good internal thermometer. I always recommend cooking to temperature and not to time, so estimate anywhere from 3-4 hours to fully cook this salmon.

I have several thermometers, but my favorite for this is my Thermoworks Smoke so I can keep an eye on both the grill temperature and fish temperature while smoking.

More Salmon Recipes

Salmon is a favorite dinner in my family; everyone seems to love it, and we rarely have leftovers. If you’re looking for more delicious salmon recipes from Hey Grill Hey, check out some of my favorites below:

Smoked Salmon Dip
Sweet and Smoky Salmon Seasoning
Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Seasoning

Smoked Salmon Recipe

Watch the video below the recipe card and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make smoked salmon at home. I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

Making dinner for your family should be a delicious experience, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! Over at Patio Provisions, we have sauces, rubs, and more to save you time and energy when making something for an upcoming get together. Check it out today!

Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze

This Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze is the most delectable, smoky, melt in your mouth salmon you will ever have. While this process requires a little bit of time and patience, it is totally worth it! Believe me when I say you've never had salmon quite like this before. It is one smoke that is well worth the wait.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 3 hrs
Total Time : 23 hrs 5 mins
Servings : 8 people
Calories : 219kcal



  • 2-3 pound salmon fillet (cut into individual portions)

Curing Liquid

  • 4 cups cool water
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • zest of 1 orange

Maple Orange Glaze

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice


  • In a glass baking dish, combine all of the ingredients for the curing liquid and stir until the salt is dissolved. Gently submerge your salmon portions in the curing liquid, cover, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. If your salmon fillets are thin, 8 hours should be enough. Thicker fillets will take 12 hours.
  • Remove the salmon from the curing liquid and transfer to a cooling rack positioned over a cookie sheet. Place the salmon in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight to develop a pellicle.
  • In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and orange juice and set aside.
  • Preheat your smoker to 165-170 degrees F. Place the salmon on the grates skin side down and smoke for 3-4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 145 degrees. Brush your salmon with the maple/orange juice glaze every hour while smoking.
  • Hot smoked salmon can be served warm or cold. Simply flake and eat.


This post was originally published September 2017. The post has been revised and updated with additional information, but the recipe itself is unchanged. 


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 616mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Ready to Become a Backyard BBQ Hero?Join The Grill Squad today!

**This post was originally published September 2017. It has since been updated with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on them, visit our Privacy Policy

82 thoughts on “Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze

  1. Hi! I’m getting ready to make this Maple Orange Hot Smoked Salmon. I did have a question about the Pellicle process. Should it be covered in plastic wrap or just go in without any covering on the wire rack? Due to the size of the fish, I’ll be using my secondary refrigerator that’s not used as much so I’d preferred to cover the fish.

    1. Hi AJ- it’s supposed to be uncovered to allow the air to circulate around the fish and create a dry, semi-tacky surface. This helps the smoke cling better to the salmon. If you keep it wrapped, it will never dry quite enough to get tacky.

    2. I had mine on a drying rack and covered it with parchment paper which allowed the air to circulate because I was using my garage refrigerator. It turned out wonderful!

      1. This is the third thing i have ever smoked. It came out awesome. Everyone loved it. Thank you for great instructions.

  2. I have done this salmon multiple times. Every time is the talk of the party. Great for vacuum seal and last at least a month in the fridge. Cold, hot or in a spread, just a fantastic salmon

  3. Rather than cut the Salmon into serving size pieces wouldn’t it work as well to smoke the entire Salmon?

    1. It’s definitely better cutting into even portions. I noticed when leaving fillet as a whole more of the flavor was around the edges. When cut into portions more of the flavor penetrated the salmon.

  4. what exactly are the ingredients of the brine?

    4 cups cool water
    1 cup maple syrup
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup kosher salt
    zest of 1 orange

    full cup of syrup or are you only using 1/2 for the brine and saving 1/2 for the glaze?

    1. Hey Jeff- the ingredients are exactly as written. 1 cup in the brine, and then there is an additional 1/2 cup maple syrup in the glaze (the glaze ingredients are listed just below the brine ingredients). Hope that helps!

    1. There are several different types of smokers, not all of them use wood chips. The smoker I used in this recipe uses wood pellets. If you made this in an oven, it would just be baked salmon, instead of smoked salmon.

  5. Have made this twice already. The first time was for dinner….delicious but the cold leftovers the next day were even better!!!! Put in on a bagel with cream cheese and enjoyed it as much as cold smoked salmon (nova).

  6. Great recipe! Made it and vacuum sealed it for dinner on a river trip last week and it was a huge hit. About to make it again to eat over the next couple of weeks.

    1. You can still try and smoke it, but it’s been drying for 3 days and the pellicle may be too thick for the smoke to really penetrate the salmon, resulting in a less than ideal texture and flavor.

  7. My husband made 1 lb as a test on Saturday and it was the best salmon ever! 3 fillets brined and overnight in the fridge, smoking a larger batch tomorrow! Will make this a staple kind of like keeping home made bacon stocked at all times!!

  8. I made a two pound batch of this recipe about a week and a half ago. Awesome! I’ve used it in omelettes, as is for snacks, mixed with whipped cream cheese and on salads. I’ll be making a four pound batch starting tomorrow with a friend who wants to use my smoker for the process. I used Pacific wild caught and apple chips in an electric smoker. Might give it a go on my Traeger next.

  9. Sweet baby Jesus! This stuff is amazing.
    I made a pound of wild caught sockeye into pure gold with this recipe. You absolutely rock.
    Next time, 3 pounds.

  10. I only had a 1.2 lb salmon filet so cut the recipe accordingly. I used the Nordic Ware Kettle smoker and the salmon came out delicious. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I had a bit while it was warm, then had a bit more after it cooled off. I actually prefer it cold. Thanks for a great recipe!

  11. Love this recipe! My smoker won’t hold below 200, so I smoke it at that temp for about 1 1/2 hours. Also, my wife is allergic to citrus, so I substitute fresh ginger in the brine. I use oak or hickory charcoal, but add some peach wood chips for great flavor.

  12. I made this over Memorial Day weekend and it was an absolute hit. My husband says it’s the best salmon that he ever had.
    It was delicious warm and just as good the next day cold. This will be the only way I do salmon from now on. Well, until Susie comes out with her next best salmon recipe.
    How would I convert to this to a cold smoke recipe?

  13. If making this, I see that many people like it cold the next day, but is there a way to warm up leftovers without getting soggy and weird textured??

  14. Hi there. This looks awesome. We catch lots of Kokanee here, smaller and oilier Salmon. I will try this recipe in my Bradley Smoker. The boys are out catching the fish right now. I am new to smoking and really appreciate your explanation of the different stages and the results. I have a better understanding now. Thanks again.

  15. We are doing about 25lbs coho salmon and steelhead. Only problem I see is the basting cause our smoker is touchy with keeping temp if we’re opening the doors to baste. We usually smoke it and then slap on the maple syrup till fillets stop soaking it in.
    Also, we cool ours off on table with fans and AC going for couple hrs. You think this is an alright technique?

  16. This recipe was great even when everything went wrong. I was making this my first attempt at smoking any fish on my pellet smoker.

    I began the brine yesterday but realized I didn’t have oranges or brown sugar. Not a great start. Went to the store, got brown sugar. Forgot the orange. Figured I’d use a splash of Cointreau that was in the cupboard. Forgot to put that in the marinade. Clearly all those things were my fault, yet this was only the beginning.

    The smoker wouldn’t start because of a fault that Google said was due to the smoker needing a software update. After an hour figuring that out the smoker wouldn’t start at all. An hour later I figured out it was the igniter (in case you didn’t notice, I was having a rough day.)

    At this point my wife got home and dinner hadn’t even started so we went out to eat. Came home and decided I’I would try grilling this wild.salmon that had been marinating in maple syrup and sugar water. I had been soaking cedar planks for the occasion but had taken them out of the water when I thought the smoker would work.

    I did two bastes on the fish when the grill was very hot. Then I thought I smelled burning. Turns out the planks and most of the grill were on fire. I killed the heat and hit the back of the grill with a hose to prevent my shared fence from catching fire. Chalked it all up to bad luck and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

    I opened the grill, trash bag in hand, to throw everything away and saw the salmon looked delicious. I grabbed my thermometer and it was 154. I brought it in and we both really liked it. It was a bit… cedar-y from the burning plank but I forsee an omelet tomorrow.

    I can’t wait to do this recipe the right way next time 🙂

  17. Made this a few months back and took some to work. Had 2 co workers offer to pay me to make more for them. Let them know to just get me the salmon and a piece for me and we would be good. Mentioned I was doing another batch this weekend, and the “free salmon” rolled in. Currently have 6 lbs in brine for tomorrows smoke!

  18. This is a wonderful recipe! I make a smoked salmon every year for the Artists’ Brunch at our local art festival and I have been looking for a really good recipe. Yesterday I had some friends over and tried this recipe, everyone we thoroughly impressed! It is not a delicate recipe (I cured it for 2 days and dried it for 3 days just because that is when I had time to do it). I used a Weber gas grill with the smoking box and it turned out perfect! I might like a little more smoke so next time I’ll use the Weber charcoal grill and substitute real wood for charcoal. So amazing…THANK YOU!

  19. I made this dish for my parents yesterday. Total success.

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this recipe appears in the next edition of Webster’s under the word, “perfection”.

  20. I made this for the first time for a New Year’s Eve dinner and it was a huge hit. I doubled the recipe thinking I would have leftovers. Nope, prime rib and brisket leftover but the salmon was the talk of the dinner. Everyone wanting the recipe. First time on site, big fan now, will be a loyal follower and subscriber. Keep up the good work, you are appreciated out here and Happy New Year!!!

  21. Amazing! This recipe was great. I was short on time and only let it sit uncovered in the fridge for about 4 hours, still came out great. Will definitely follow this recipe again. Thanks!

  22. Updated Review… Oh my Gosh, my salmon was amazing. Follow instructions to the letter and they came out perfect. My husband (who doesn’t care of salmon because of the fishy taste) loved these. Will make again very soon. Wild Sockeye is so worth this wonderful recipe.

  23. I just wanted to know….. I tried the mable glazed salmon….. Bit I didn’t read before doing it…… So I didn’t see that you had to brine first….. So , I guess you can say I skipped that part LOL….. Do you cook the same if you don’t brine it……. Thank you, love watching your videos…….. Will post a pic of the finish food

    1. I cook it about the same. Sometimes I’ll run the smoker a little hotter so it cooks faster and doesn’t dry the fish out too much.

  24. I’m going to try this recipe this week and wondered how long does the salmon last in the fridge after it’s smoked? Can you freeze it and how does it turn out when thawed out?

    1. I would keep it in the fridge for 1 week maximum. I’m sure it’ll be fine frozen, I’ve never tried it though.

  25. Having smoked different meats and fish for years, this was my first go at salmon. I used vodka as my brine liquid and substituted the OJ for a homemade mojo to mix with the high quality Maple Syrup. The end product was the best smoked fish I ever had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating