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Salmon on a kettle

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    Salmon on a kettle

    The first cook I'd like to make on my kettle is a salmon fillet. Any suggestions/recommendations for a good recipe?

    This has been my go-to rub for salmon for a couple of years now. it's even the favorite of the partially fish eating vegetarian step-daughter.

    2 Tbsp kosher salt 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 Tbsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp garlic powder
    1 Tbsp dried basil
    1 Tbsp dried tarragon

    It started as a cedar-planked salmon on the gas grill, then worked just as well when I hot smoked the salmon in my gas smoker, and works great now that I do my salmon indirect on my kettle. I give it a medium coating so it doesn't come across too sweet.

    Last week, I tried a new salmon recipe and it also got rave reviews. This is for 3 pounds of salmon, because that's usually the size at Costco:
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp lemon zest + lemon wedges for serving
    6 Tbsp Evoo
    4 large garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 cup minced fresh dill

    Score the salmon (not necessary, but helps get some extra flavor into each eventual piece). Mix the salt, pepper, lemon zest, oil, garlic and dill into a paste and rub on the salmon. Cook indirect.

    Like most people, my go-to wood for fish is Alder, which won't overpower the fish. But just the charcoal alone will give yo a decent smoky accent. Good luck.


      The Burn thanks for the recipes. I've never cooked on a kettle before, so excuse my ignorance on this style of que. If cooking indirect, what temp do you shoot for in the kettle & what temp do you take the salmon up to? I assume you take it up until it flakes.


      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        If you're making smoked fish, go low. I cannot recommend below 200, but 200 is good. 225 is good too. Take it to what looks good & done, I think 140 if you measure it. If you're just grilling it, you can go hotter, just watch it close.

      When I do salmon on my Kettle it's very simple. I sprinkle Kosher salt on it...let it sit for about an hour then sprinkle dill and drizzle olive oil on it. Smoke using pecan or apple wood at as close to 200 as you can get.


        Dr ROK. First, what I'm doing is not technically smoked salmon - it's grilled salmon with some wood for smoky undertones. it's such a short cook, I don't bother with my probes anymore. Using the Slow n Sear, I light about a half chimney of Kingsford Blue. Educated guess is I'm in the 250-275 range. I do not use any water. As for knowing when the fish is done - the second recipe called for cooking until "opaque throughout" whatever that means or 130 in the thickest portion. I still follow what I read somewhere a couple of years ago - when the white fats are starting to seep up to the top. These were a little on the thin side and I think they took about 45 minutes. Here's a photo of the salmon I did last week with the garlic/lemon/dill recipe above:

        Click image for larger version

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        I was too busy enjoying lamb and didn't even taste this. But my guests said it was cooked perfectly - moist, flaky and had a great salmon color beneath the surface. These were two fillets of about 1 1/2 pounds each. They did not have skin on the bottom. And I never flip the salmon.

        Hope this helps


          I agree with The Burn here. It is somewhere between a grill and a smoke. I have cooked salmon many times, and I always cook salmon indirect. In my opinion it is way better for several reasons:

          1. It doesn't stick to the grate
          2. It needs the time to get up to temp, if cooking indirect some parts will be dry
          3. It gets better flavor from the charcoal (and wood, if you use it)

          I cook it with the skin side down. When it is done, you can just slide the whole fish off its skin. Very easy. If you don't leave the skin on, you may want to use a frog mat, or simply place the fish on a small piece of aluminum foil.

          Temps: I use 225° F, as I found it just right. I wouldn't go lower, and not higher. I monitor inner temp closely, I take it up to 137° F exactly. I have found it produces perfect salmon in terms of done-ness. It usually takes 45-55 minutes.

          Flavor: I use very little seasoning. Typically salt only. Here are some more inspired seasonings that work really well:
          1. Drizzle maple syrup on it
          2. Sprinkle Persillade (a parsley spice mix) on it
          3. Luxury version - Sprinkle a good layer of feta cheese on top (crumble it with your fingers) and walnuts, with a drizzle of honey. Do this halfway through the cook. Looks great, tastes great.

          Overall, I would skip the oil, regardless of whether you add it before or after. Salmon is fatty, you don't need to grease it up even more.

          Smoke: I almost always use either apple wood or alder wood for fish. Both are mild, and really complement the fish.


          • The Burn
            The Burn commented
            Editing a comment
            Gotta trust a Scandanavian on Salmon :-)

          • Henrik
            Henrik commented
            Editing a comment
            Ha ha, didn't think of that! But yes, you're right ;-)

          I have grilled salmon over direct and indirect. Both are great.

          135*F min, 140*F is my preferred IT. Or, when you think it is close, put a small fork in a little bit and give a twist. If it flakes, it is done, but I still prefer knowing the temp (thermopen).

          Over direct, I turn it, using indirect, I do not turn it, and learned here that I'd you place the salmon on a piece of paper, when you remove the paper, the skin comes off with the paper. Cool trick and keeps the grates clean of the skin pieces. The indirect given you a nice enhanced smoke flavor vs. cooking over direct.
          Last edited by richinlbrg; July 19, 2015, 05:54 AM.


          • richinlbrg
            richinlbrg commented
            Editing a comment
            Dr ROK, I took it to mean any paper, so I cut a piece of printer paper to a size just slightly larger than the salmon. Worked well for me!

          • Dr ROK
            Dr ROK commented
            Editing a comment
            I found a thread with some discussion on the paper & they were calling it the brown paper bag trick, so that's what I'll try.

          • richinlbrg
            richinlbrg commented
            Editing a comment
            Well, Dr ROK , I guess I screwed it up! But plain ole paper worked fine, too.

          Ok, so here's how it went.

          I lit a chimney full of kingsford blue and spread it on one side of the kettle and threw on a chunk of apple. During the process I knocked my lid off and put a quarter sized chip in it. Crap, is there touch up paint for weber? So much for my brand new looking Weber I just used salt and pepper on the salmon, but I did cook it on brown paper sack paper. I put the salmon on the indirect side of the kettle and put a basket of veggies (orange bells & onions) that I tossed with some olive oil and MHMD directly over the coals. Click image for larger version

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          It was running hot so I closed the bottom vents and tried to close the top vent. Note to self, don't adjust top vent with bare hands as it results in a brand on your finger.
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          I cooked until the salmon butter started gathering on top. I pulled the salmon and veggies at the same time. Served the salmon with a basil aioli sauce. The sauce paired perfectly with the salmon. The salmon was cooked perfectly for our taste. Flaked easily, but not a hint of dryness. Veggies were great too.
          Click image for larger version

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          Things I learned from my first cook.

          1) It takes a while for the grill to come down in temp, even with all vents/dampers closed.
          2) The hook inside the lid that is used for hanging the lid on the side is easily dislodged and the lid ends up falling.
          3) Half a chimney of charcoal would probably have been sufficient. The wood was just starting to burn. Maybe dump the coals on top of chunk next time???????
          4) All metal parts of grill get hot
          5) The kettle produces some very tasty eats!!!!! I love basil aioli sauce with salmon!

          Thanks to everyone that provided advice!

          If anybody is interested in the basil aioli recipe, here it is: https://www.evernote.com/l/AEhapPhUe...0ph1qWdZu4LEIk
          Last edited by Dr ROK; July 19, 2015, 08:47 PM.


            Dr ROK
            1) Yup, sure does. Opening the lid only works for about 30 seconds then it climbs even higher from all the O2 you added by taking the lid off.
            2) Yep, I hate it and never use it, too awkward. My kettle nestles in the corner of my deck, so I can set it on the corner rail nicely.
            3) Half chimney will usually give you 1.5 to 2hrs good heat. SnS improves that.
            4) Uggh, BTDT. I lightly tap my top vent, since like yours mine didn't come with the handy plastic grip. That should be standard if you ask me.
            5) Oh yeah!
            Last edited by Huskee; July 19, 2015, 09:04 PM.


              Also, I'm no pro at painting Weber kettles, but all research I've done states Weber doesn't make a touch up paint, since it's not actually paint it's porcelain enamel. Many people recommend a high temp enamel pain from auto stores or similar. This was from older threads ('08-'11) not sure if this info is out of date.



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