• Medium

Serves 4


  • 1 Salmon filet
  • A handful of thyme - medium chop
  • A scant tsp coffee with an espresso grind
  • Sugar and salt mixture - dark brown sugar and salt - 3:1 by weight
  • Maple syrup - not much, about 1 tsp or so

Instructions / directions

This recipe courtesy of Scott Cooks Salmon

Sprinkle a very light dusting of the coffee on the fish. In the end you don’t want people to say “interesting you put coffee in the fish.” You want them to say “there’s something about this that’s a bit richer than other smoked salmon, but I really can’t put my finger on it.”

Pat the thyme onto the filet. I put an amount where maybe half of the meat still shows and the other half is green.

Pack the sugar/salt mixture to cover the fish completely to a depth of around 1/8 inch.

Put on a cooling rack and over a pan or cookie sheet to catch drips (about 4-7 oz will come out of the fish and it’s really lousy to find that goo all over the rest of your fridge).

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 16-24 hours.

Rinse the fish under running water. Be sure to get ALL the sugar/salt mixture off. Much of the thyme will remain and that’s just fine.

Pat the filet dry then let it sit out about 15 minutes to dry completely.

Rub the surface with the syrup.

I think that for the best salmon I’ve ever smoked I used rosemary. I’ve also used lemongrass and that was really good, too. When I don’t have herbs around I use cherry or applewood.

Hot Smoking – Smoking doneness is personal. The USDA recommends cooking to an internal temperature of 145°F. If you’re hot smoking, start with 30 minutes at 150°F. To get the doneness you want try a small bite then check every subsequent 10 minutes until it is where you like it. When you take it out, let it sit on the counter uncovered until at ambient temperature before covering or putting into the fridge. You don’t want the filet to sweat.

Cold Smoking – For cold smoking, put a pan of ice into the smoker between the fish and the smoke source. I heat the wood/herbs for 10 minutes then turn off the heat and let everything sit for 30-45 minutes. When the temperature inside gets back to ambient, I repeat the cycle 2 more times.

Coffee rubbed smoked salmon

This recipe is brought to you by Scott Nichols

Scott Nichols started cooking fish at his father’s side when he was 5 years old. He finds fish fantastic on two fronts. They’re easy to cook and the best tasting thing you can put on your plate. Now and again, we’ll post some of Scott’s recipes. When not cooking, Scott works to advance responsible fish farming as Chair of the Board for ASC and in his own company – Food’s Future.