Cured and Smoked Salmon

Paul’s salmon is a different beast, a chunk of fish that flakes as though it’s been cooked, but with a sweet, salty bite.

June 21, 2017 | | Main Dishes

On a recent visit to the Smokehouse kitchen, I find Paul eager to show off what he’s learned about curing and smoking salmon fillets. Put aside what you know about the silky slices you find in the freezer aisle.

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To create the cure, pour the salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and blend with your hands, removing all lumps. Place a thin layer of cure on the bottom of a deep hotel pan or roasting dish. Photo by Pete Paterson. Styling Jane Fellowes.

Cured and Smoked Salmon


4 (can be easily doubled)


  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 salmon fillets (for more fillets, increase the salt and sugar amounts using a 1:4 ratio)
  • 1 part hickory and 4 parts applewood chips

For the caper cream cheese

  • 4 cups cream cheese
  • 1 cup capers
  • Put cream cheese and capers in a bowl and hand mix or blend until smooth. It’s best served after refrigerating overnight.


  1. To create the cure, pour the salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and blend with your hands, removing all lumps. Place a thin layer of cure on the bottom of a deep hotel pan or roasting dish.
  2. Place salmon fillets (skin on) on top of cure. Cover in cure. If doing more pieces than shown, stack more fillets on top of this layer. Repeat until all layers are covered in cure.
  3. Cover and place in fridge overnight, ideally for 12 to 24 hours. When completed the cure will have changed into a sticky soy sauce-like consistency and the salmon will be bright red.
  4. Remove, thoroughly wash off the cure and pat dry.
  5. Put uncovered salmon on a wire rack and place in a chilled area for at least four hours until a sticky film forms on the surface of the fish.
  6. Prepare the smoker with wood chips made for smokers, a blend of 1 part hickory to 4 parts applewood. Set smoker to 200°F. Oil a grill rack using a brush or cooking spray.
  7. Place salmon on the oiled grill rack skin side down and put the rack in the smoker. Smoke for approximately 2 to 3 hours. (Time varies depending on size and thickness of fish.)
  8. When finished let cool and refrigerate. Serve chilled with caper cream cheese (see recipe), pickled onions, lemons, gherkins and crackers or sliced, toasted French stick.

About the Author More by Tralee Pearce

Tralee Pearce is the deputy editor of In The Hills Magazine.

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Chef Paul J. Dickson: “I like a bit of a challenge. I stick to it and find my own ways of cooking.” Photo by Pete Paterson. Styling Jane Fellowes.

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