This week I am going to show you how to smoke a salmon but in a slightly different way. It will be a stuffed smoked salmon, stuffed with lump crab meat, walnuts, and brie.

Smoked salmon is easy and you will also find that it does not take much time to do. In as little as 4 hours, you can brine, dry, prepare, stuff and smoke a salmon for dinner and that is pretty fast fixing when it comes to smoking meat.

Many of you have asked for some fish recipes so there you go!

This stuffed smoked salmon recipe is extremely easy to make and smokes up quick. I do not cover brining the fish in this recipe and I cook it at normal smoking temperatures however, many folks recommend brining for about an hour and using slower or augmented cooking methods to keep the white fat, called albumin, from cooking out of the fish.

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Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 45-60 minutes | Smoker Temp: 220°F | Meat Finish Temp: 145°F | Recommended Wood: Hickory or Pecan

Ingredients

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Prepare the Salmon

Place salmon filet on cutting board or other cutting surface

Note: I removed the skin of this salmon using a very sharp knife. If you are not comfortable skinning the fish, you can omit this step or you can ask your butcher to do it for you. They are usually happy to oblige on things like this.

Salmon filet

Cut the filet into pieces that are about 2 inches wide

Cut salmon filet into pieces

Cut a groove lengthwise into the pieces of salmon for holding the stuffing.

Note: Cut as deep as you can without going all the way through then pull apart to accept the mixture.

Cut groove into salmon pieces

The pellicle

If you want to brine, you can do so for about an hour or so by submerging the fish in a basic brine solution of  1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of cold water.

Put a fan on the fish for about 20 minutes to dry the outside a little which will create a nice sticky surface called the pellicle or you can place the fish in the fridge uncovered for 3-4 hours to do the same thing over a longer period of time.

It is believed that this pellicle helps the smoke to adhere better to the meat. It also helps to prevent the white fatty albumin from seeping out during the cooking process.

Once you see the pellicle formed, a nice shiny surface on the fish that is tacky to the touch, you can proceed.

Stuff the Salmon

Here's a couple of stuffing recipes.. choose one, do them both or create your own.


Crab and Boudin Stuffing 

  • 1/2 cup lump crab meat, drained
  • 4 oz. link of boudin, removed from casing
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tsp. fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Instructions

Combine ingredients carefully to form a mixture being careful to not break up crab more than necessary.


Brie and Walnut Stuffing

  • 4 oz. brie, room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. walnuts
  • 1 tsp. fresh chives
  • 1/2 c. lump crab meat, drained

Instructions

Leave brie out of fridge for an hour or so to soften at room temperature. Combine ingredients carefully to form a mixture being careful to not break up crab or walnuts more than necessary.


Spoon about two tablespoons of the stuffing mixture (recipes below) into groove of salmon so that it is mounded up above the salmon

Spoon mixture into groove

Sprinkle my original rub (purchase recipe here) all over the fish and the stuffing.

You can also add the rub before you stuff it as I did in the one on the right (pictured below)

Add my rub to the salmon and stuffing mixture

Smoke Time

Prepare smoker for cooking at 220-225°F with hickory or pecan if you prefer the fish to be well smoked. If you want a very mild smoke flavor then use the traditional alder or a light tasting wood such as apple.

Note: you can also cook the salmon at about 180°F for 1.5 hours or until it reaches 140-145 °F in the thickest part. Cooking salmon at lower heat is always better but it does increase the cook time.

Place salmon pieces on wood planks for great presentation and flavor. Place planks onto smoker grate and cook for 45-60 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

My salmon took right at 50 minutes and was perfectly done, very moist in the center and might have been the best I've done;-)

If you are watching the temperature, you want the fish to reach about 140-145°F for safety purposes. If not, watch for the fish to begin to flake and this is a great indicator that it is done.

Whatever you do, do not overcook it as salmon dries out quickly and dry fish is no good.

If you have enough planks, consider serving each piece on it's on plank or you can transfer it to a plate using a thin metal spatula.

Stuffed smoked salmon

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About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

1 Comment on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Matt April 26, 2013 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Jeff,

    Does the salmon need to be brined to smoke properly?  I'm a little confused on the necessity in this case.

     

    Looks great and I think my girlfriend will be getting this cooked for mother's day!

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