How to Cold Smoke Salmon on the Borniak smoker

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How to Cold Smoke Salmon on the Borniak smoker

If you want to make the perfect smoked salmon, you have to read this.

There are some tricks involved to get it right, but when you do, it will be like hitting the jackpot.


  • 2 sides of salmon with the skin on
  • 250 grams of table salt
  • 250 grams of sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill

How to

  1. Let’s start with the ingredients you will need to make the Cold Smoked Salmon. First of all, you will need a whole salmon. The reason that you want a whole salmon is the freshness. By purchasing the whole salmon you will be able to tell if it’s fresh.

Tip 1: Get your salmon as fresh as possible. There are 3 tell-tale signs of fresh salmon, clear eyes, red gills and no smell of fish.

  1. Now that you have all the ingredients you can start the cooking process. First, you mix the salt, sugar, lemon zest and the dill.
  2. Put the mixture of salt on sugar on the salmon and bag the salmon. I like to use vacuum bags because they make a perfect seal but a large bag of any kind will work fine. Place the salmon in the fridge for 12 hours.

Tip 2: Over the years I have learned that curing the salmon for 12 hours gives you a perfect flavour profile. One hour longer or shorter will not make a difference but do not deviate too much. You do not want your salmon to become too salty or have little flavour.

  1. Rinse the salmon with cold water until all the salt and sugar have been cleaned off. Pad the salmon dry with paper towels. Drying the salmon is key for it to pick up smoke. Once the salmon is dry, we can start smoking.

Selecting your smoker

I am using the Borniak smoker to create the perfect smoked salmon. To me, this is one of the best smokers that you can use to create smoked meats and fish.

This electric smoker is capable of cold smoking as well as hot smoking and will manage your temperatures to perfection. The insulation keeps out any weather influences, while the digital controller makes sure you have the right temperature.

And with the electric heater, you will never have to worry about running out of fuel. Two years ago we used this smoker to smoke the perfect Turkey for Christmas and man did it deliver. See for yourself and check out the result the smoker gave us.

  1. Now we are setting the Borniak up for a cold smoke session. With the external smoker box and extended smoke input, we are sure not to add hot smoke to the Broniak smoker. Combined with an outdoor temperature that does not exceed 20°C (70F) you are creating the perfect smoked salmon.
  2. Set up your smoker to cold smoke and don’t exceed a smoking temperature of 20°C (70F).

Tip 3: Use the right smoke wood. I use beech tree as smoke wood. This is very common to use in combination with fish. If you like the play around with smoked wood flavours make sure you use a smoke wood that produces light smoke.

  1. Cold smoking salmon is done by sight and not by time. When you are using the Borniak smoker it will take 4 hours to smoke the salmon. We are looking for a light colour change on the salmon. We are not looking to brown the salmon, It will destroy the delicate flavours.
  2. When the salmon is smoked, we pack it in a plastic bag or by vacuum and put it back in the fridge for 24 hours.

Tip 4: When the salmon is smoked you need to give the flavours the opportunity to spread throughout the salmon by letting it rest in the fridge for 24 hours. This way all the pieces of salmon will taste the same and your salmon turns out perfect.

  1. Now you can slice it enjoy the Jackpot.
    I’ll bet you’ll never buy prepacked smoked salmon again.

Big thanks to Borniak for sponsoring this post.
Please return the favor by visiting their website.

BBQ gear used

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I link these articles because of their quality.

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