While the jury might still be out on whether salmon makes for the most delicious fish to ever swim the seas, the fact remains that it’s a popular choice for millions of people around the world. Not only is it absolutely delectable, but it’s also meaty and easy to cook.
Whether you want to eat it raw, grill it, panfry it, or even smoke it, a salmon fillet is a welcome and appreciated dish on any occasion. Smoking fish, salmon in particular, is quite simple. The trick is in knowing how long it needs to stay in the smoker and at what temperature.
In this guide, you will learn how long to smoke salmon at 250 degrees, including the ideal temperature to smoke fresh salmon, a simple step-by-step guide on how to smoke fresh salmon properly, and how long to smoke salmon at 250.
Note: most links in this article are Amazon.com Affiliate links, see Affiliate Disclosure, thank you.
What You Need to Smoke Salmon Properly
The best part about smoking salmon is that it’s quite simple and easy. You might already have everything you need to smoke salmon properly right there in your kitchen pantry. This includes:
- Brown sugar
- Black pepper
- Plastic wrap
- 2 baking sheets
- Paper towel
Depending on which smoked salmon recipe you choose, you may want to make sure your pantry is stocked with other ingredients as well like soy sauce, a dry brine, applewood chips for the smoky flavor, cream cheese, olive oil, aluminum foil, fresh dill, and any marinade you may want to use.
Of course, you also need the salmon and a smoker. The smoker you use purely depends on the kind of grill master you are.
Still, the Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker is a wonderful option for people who want all the advantages that come with using an electric smoker.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to use a Masterbuild electric smoker that might come in handy.
How to Smoke Salmon at 250 Degrees
Before we go into the how let’s take a quick look at the why and the how long of smoking salmon at 250 degrees.
Why Smoke Salmon at 250 Degrees?
Whenever you are smoking anything, be it salmon or pork, the idea is to find the perfect temperature to smoke it so that the meat is well cooked through and through without taking days in the smoker. The lower the temperature you smoke your salmon, the longer it will take in the smoker. On the flip side, however, higher smoking temperatures tend to risk drying out the meat even though it cooks faster.
So, why smoke salmon at 250 degrees? Because it’s just the right amount of heat to balance between getting well-cooked juicy salmon without spending a week smoking it.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Salmon at 250 Degrees?
When it comes to smoking salmon at 250 degrees, expect the fish to spend about 60 minutes in the smoke for every pound of meat it has. So, multiply the weight of the fish by about 60 minutes. Keep in mind that larger pieces of salmon will take less time per pound and should be judged by internal temperature.
So, if you have a 2-pound fish fillet, expect it to spend around 120 minutes or 2 hours in the smoker. If you have a 6-pound salmon fillet you should expect it to be done in under 300 minutes or 5 hours.
Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of the fish is at a nice 160 degrees or until the fish starts flaking nicely.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Smoke Salmon at 250 Degrees
Here are some easy steps you can follow to smoke salmon properly at 250 degrees:
Step 1: Cure the Salmon
There are two main ways to cure your salmon before smoking; you can either use a dry cure or a wet cure.
- Wet cure: This is quite simply brining – salt, sugar, and water. We use salt to denature the proteins within the salmon fillet and remove any excess moisture while enhancing the salmon’s ability to remain moist as it cooks. Sugar, on the other hand, enhances preservation by inhibiting the formation of bacteria. While most people add water, you can experiment a little with this and add beer or even vodka. A wet cure should contain 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water or other liquid like fruit juice.
- Dry cure: This is the most common type of cure – 1 cup brown sugar, black pepper, and 1/2 cup salt. The idea is to mix all of these ingredients in a bowl. Take your plastic wrap and lay it down, then spread half of that mixture on top of it. Place your salmon on top of that mixture and then spread the other half of that mixture on top of the salmon. Fold the wrap tightly around your salmon and put it in the fridge for about 8 hours to cure.
Step 2: Dry Brine the Salmon
After 8 hours of curing your salmon fillet in the fridge, you need to let it dry out overnight. To do this, wash off the cure you use and then pat the fish dry to make sure that it doesn’t get too salty. Next, place your salmon on a cooling rack and put it back in the fridge for one more night. This process allows for a pellicle, a light film, to form on the fish. This light film helps to adhere the smoke from your wood chips or wood pellets to the fish when you put it in the smoker.
Step 3: Smoke the Fish
The next thing you need to do is stick your fish in the smoker for the ideal number of hours at the ideal temperature and wait. If you are using an electric smoker, turn it on and set it at the right temperature, which is 250 degrees in this case.
Although, it’s advisable to use lower temperature settings for fish like salmon. Anything between 180 and 250 degrees will work despite increasing your wait time. This is because lower temperatures give you a much better chance of getting a juicier and more tender fish than at higher temperatures. It’s also advisable to use wet wood chips or pellets because they don’t burn out quite as fast and keep the smoke going for much longer.
There you have it, a simple step-by-step guide on how to smoke salmon at 250 degrees. Once done, you can let the fish sit for a few minutes before digging in and enjoying your long-awaited salmon meal. Be sure to serve with a bit of lime to enhance the taste.
For slow smoking salmon we have a great article Smoking salmon in an electric smoker