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Cider Hot-SmokedSalmon

Difficulty 4/5
Prep time 25 mins

Cook time 1 hr
Serves 4-6

Hardwood Oak

This recipe for Cider Hot-Smoked Salmon is perfectly timed for cooler weather and comforting food.


one (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs) Center-Cut Salmon Fillet, Skin-On, Preferably Wild-Caught

one 12 oz. bottle Hard Cider, or 1 1/2 cups Apple Juice or Cider

3 to 4 Juniper Berries, Lightly Crushed, or 2 Tbsp. of Gin

1 piece Star Anise, Broken

1 Bay Leaf, Coarsely Crumbled

1/2 cup Kosher Salt

1/4 cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar

2 tsp. Traeger Saskatchewan Rub, or Your Favorite Barbecue Rub

1 tsp. Coarsely Ground Black Pepper


Rinse the salmon fillet under cold running water and check for pin bones by running a finger over the fleshy part of the fillet. If you feel a bone, remove it with kitchen tweezers or a needle-nose pliers.

In a sturdy resealable plastic bag, combine the cider, juniper berries, star anise, and bay leaf. Add the salmon fillet and put the bag in a bowl or pan in the refrigerator. Let sit for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Remove the salmon from the bag and discard the cider mixture. Dry the salmon well on paper towels. Make the cure: In a small mixing bowl, combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, and Traeger rub.

Pour half into a shallow plate, or baking dish. Put the salmon fillet, skin-side down, on top of the cure. Generously sprinkle the top with the remaining cure, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Any longer, and the fish will get too salty.

Remove the salmon from the cure and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the black pepper on top of the fillet.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 200 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lay the salmon skin-side down on the grill grate. Cook for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the fish reaches 150 or the fish flakes easily when pressed with a finger or fork.

Let cool slightly. Turn the fillet over and remove the skin; it should come off in one piece.

If not serving immediately, let the salmon cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Transfer to a platter and serve with some or all of the suggested accompaniments. Enjoy!

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