Smoked Steelhead for the first time

Spent quite a bit of time reading how to smoke salmon/steelhead. Read enough to keep me away from cold smoking until I learn more. After reading several items on the internet, decided to dry brine and hot smoke. Here are some of the sites I reviewed, plus plenty of others plus plenty of youtube videos:

Cold Smoking Meats: Don't Do I
Simple Smoked Salmon, Alaska Department of Fish and Gam

Started with a Steelhead Filet from Costco (tried one until I know I can do it correctly). Then many of the recipes for dry brine called for:

Dark Brown Sugar/Kosher Salt in a 4:1 mixture
Minced cloves of Garlic
In the Fridge for 6 hours

Here is what I bought:


Dry Brined and about to go in the fridge:


Since I did this at night, I left in the fridge overnight, so it was about 10 hrs. Rinsed with water then on to grates. I couldn't get myself to leave it at room temperature for 4-6 hours as many of the recipes called for, so I put it in the fridge instead.


Spent the last hour on the counter at room temp. Put it on the smoker on smoke (About 170-180 on the MAK, maybe a bit less on the top shelf):


Took IT up to 150-160°F. Almost done:


Served up on a cracker:


This was really good for a first attempt. Ate one piece by myself to make sure I didn't make anyone sick. Shouldn't have because it was refridgerated the entire time. Just took a long time to get up to temp on smoke setting. I will definitely do more fillets next time.

Thanks for looking! Would love to hear other ideas on how to do it better!


I don't know if I smoke steelhead any better, but a lot easier. Our family likes to have smoked steelhead (salmon is not as good) about two to three times per month - one of our favorites! It is one of the easiest cooks on the MAK 2 that I do. I get at least two filets from Costco and prep them with EVOO, smear the yellow mustard, and then rub on a good chicken rub. Let it sit for a couple of hours (prefer overnight) in fridge and then use my Poppa mats to smoke for three hours. This is all I do - smoke on the MAK for three hours & eat. If you have any leftovers, those are really good, too. Good luck.


It looks really good, NorCal. Now you've got me wanting some!

We like to use a dry-brine mixture similar to yours: Brown Sugar, salt, dill & red pepper flakes.

P.S. Leftover smoked Salmon or Steelhead is excellent mixed with cream cheese into a schmear with some dill.
Thanks for the ideas on different method and different dry brine. I will be trying both! Since I enjoyed the finished product so much I will be trying many different methods.

Keep the ideas coming!
Top Bottom