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Hot-Smoked Salmon with Bagels

Smoked salmon is a breeze to make in a stovetop smoker or your grill. Add the salmon to a bagel with herbed cream cheese and all of the fixin's and you have an elegant brunch dish or weekday breakfast.


Yield: 4 servings


Active Time: 45 minutes
Start to Finish: 2 hours, 5 minutes

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, rough chopped
  • Four 5-to 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin on, boneless
  • Woodchips soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs of your choice, rough chopped
  • 4 bagels, halved and toasted, if desired
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 vine-ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
    1. To prepare the cure for the salmon, mix together the kosher salt, brown sugar, lemon zest and dill.

    2. Lay the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a sheet tray. Cover the fillets with the salt mixture and allow it to cure, refrigerated, for 1 hour.

    3. Rinse the fillets with cold water and pat dry. Return the fillets to the refrigerator while preparing the grill or stovetop smoker.

    4. If using a stovetop smoker, place a pile of soaked woodchips in the bottom of the smoker, right in the middle. Place the smoker on your stovetop so the eye of the burner is directly under the woodchips. Heat the smoker over medium-low heat until the woodchips start to smoke.

    5. If using a grill, set up your charcoal grill for indirect cooking: the coals off to one side, or on both sides but not in the middle. If using the Big Green Egg, use the plate setter for indirect cooking. Heat the coals to medium heat, and once they are hot, scatter the soaked woodchips directly onto the coals.

    6. Lightly brush the salmon on both sides with olive oil. For the smoker, place it skin side down on the stovetop smoker rack and slide the cover on. Lower the heat to low. For the grill, place the salmon over the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and maintain a temperature of 250° by adjusting the vents on your grill.

    7. Smoke the salmon until the meat is a dark pink color and the fish flakes easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the salmon to rest for at least 10 minutes before flaking the fillets apart with a fork.

    8. While the salmon is smoking, prepare the cream cheese. Place the cream cheese and herbs in a medium-size bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Transfer to a small bowl.

    9. Assemble the bagels to your liking and enjoy.