Maple Candied Bacon Glazed Smoked Salmon
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
This goes down as one of the best pieces of salmon I have ever eaten. I am not joking. My wife, who loves smoked salmon, quite literally said it was the best salmon she’s ever had. Our neighbor who we shared it with, absolutely raved about it. It really is that good. You need to be careful sharing this with others as you’ll ending burning a hole in your wallet with all the salmon you’ll be buying.
What’s not to like? Smoked salmon, good! Maple glaze, good! Candied bacon, good! (My wife is a Friends addict, for you Friends addicts, you’ll get the reference).
If you like Smoked Salmon, be sure to check these other recipes:
Cut: Salmon Filet – Center cut
Weight: 1.5 Pounds
Heat Source: Wood pellets
Type of Wood: Traeger Signature Blend
Baste: Maple Syrup, Miso, and Candied Bacon
Estimated Cook Time: 3-4 hours (Note that the salmon needs to brine overnight and then rest an additional 4 hours)
Actual Cook Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 185 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 185 degrees
Location of Purchase: Chula Seafood - www.chulaseasfood.com – local fish market
Cook Date: September 21, 2020
1.5-pound salmon filet, center cut suggested (my specific salmon was Faroe Island)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup gluten-free miso (miso should be gluten free but not all are, for those without a gluten sensitivity, any miso will do)
5 strips of candied bacon, chopped finely
Low sodium BBQ seasoning of choice
Optional: 1 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 lime – used as the bed for the salmon while cooking
NOTE: This makes almost double the glaze you need and is more appropriate for a 3-pound salmon filet. I’d suggest cutting in half for a 1.5-pound filet
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used dark brown for this cook but either light or dark would work)
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go.
Step 1: Mix together the brine ingredients, salt and sugar and rub into the salmon. Place the salmon in a marinating container and place in a refrigerator overnight. See note below.
Note: 4 hours is the absolute minimum you want to brine but for a thick center cut, you should plan ahead and have it brine overnight.
Step 2: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP – In this step, we are creating the pellicle which helps the smoke adhere to the salmon. The pellicle looks like a glaze on the salmon when done properly. This provides the salmon with a nice seal and helps protect the fish.
Remove salmon from brine, rinse under cold water very thoroughly and pat dry. I suggest using a wire rack for this step but a plate will also work. Place the salmon, skin side down on the rack or plate in a cool, breezy place. For this cook, I put mine in the refrigerator but under a ceiling fan or outside will work as well. But, the temperature has to be cool, in the 65 degree or cooler range. A minimum of 2 hours is needed for this step but 4 hours is the goal.
Step 3: Preheat your smoker to 185 degrees.
Step 4: Sprinkle your favorite low sodium BBQ rub over the salmon. We want low sodium as the salmon was brined in salt and will already have enough, let’s not overdue it with salt. If you don’t have a low-sodium BBQ rub, you can easily make a homemade rub: 1 part paprika, 1 part granulated garlic, 1 part granulated onion, ½ part cumin, ½ part pepper, ¼ part chili powder
Note: It is vital to keep the temperature low to reduce the chances of albumin. You know that white stuff that can ooze out of salmon when being cooked sometimes? That’s called albumin and occurs when the salmon is cooked at too high of a temperature. The muscle fibers contract so strongly that they extrude albumin which thickens on the surface of the fish. This tends to dry out the fish. A little is normal but a lot is not good.
Step 4: Make your bed for the salmon. Slice your grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime in ½ inch thick slices. Place them on the grill where you’ll be placing your salmon. Place the salmon on top and smoke until internal temperature reaches 120-125 degrees.
Step 5: While your salmon is smoking, make the glaze. In a mixing bowl, combine the maple, miso and chopped candied bacon. Mix until well combined.
Step 6: Upon your salmon reaching an internal temperature of 120-125 degrees, glaze the salmon. I just pour the glaze on top.
Step 7: Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Once internal temperature is 135 degrees, remove from the grill.
Note: Smoked salmon is very customizable based on preference. Not only is the flavor profile personal preference, but also the texture. My wife prefers a lighter smoked salmon and not so dry. So, my cook was about 3.5 hours in total. If I went to 4 or 4.5 hours, the salmon would just be a little denser. You can go far longer and make more of a jerky style as well, if you so desire.
Step 8: You can serve this dish either hot or cold. If serving hot, let rest 15 minutes before digging in.
Devour the best salmon!
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)
The recipe for the glaze is more appropriate for a 3-pound salmon filet. I had about 50% extra one 1.5-pound salmon filet.