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Smoked Salmon Brine
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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Salmon Brine

Brining is a process which requires a meat or vegetable to be soaked in a water-based solution known as brine. Basic brine ingredients include cold water, salt and sugar.

Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time6 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Salmon
Servings: 4
Calories: 74kcal


  • Container large bowl
  • Instant read thermometer


  • 1


    Cold water

  • 1/2


    Table or pickling salt

  • 1/2

    Cups Brown sugar


  • Herbs: rosemary, thyme

  • Spices: coriander, allspice

  • Citrus: lemon, orange; grated or dried peel, juice

  • Black pepper

  • Garlic

  • Shallots or onion

  • Wine or beer

  • Soy Sauce


  • Determine what size pieces of salmon you will be brining.

  • The salmon should be brined for one hour per pound.

  • However, it is important to note that the weight formula depends on the average size of each piece of fish.

  • If you have one, three-pound filet, leave the fish submerged for 3 hours. 

  • If you have three, one-pound filets, leave the pieces submerged for one hour.

  • Once you have determined the weight and cuts of your fish, you can calculate the amount of ​brine mixture you will need based on the recipe above.

  • Choose a container or a large bowl that will allow your fish to rest comfortable while also being fully submerged and not overflowing.

  • For larger, longer filets, something like a lasagna dish can be a good choice.

  • For multiple smaller pieces, something as simple as a stock pot can be used.

  •  Consider whether or not the container will fit easily into your refrigerator if you are brining for multiple hours and need to keep the solution cold.

  • In order to extract more flavor from dry seasonings, steep them like tea.

  • To do this, boil 1/4 of the water from the base recipe (1 gallon), so 1 quart/4 cups.

  • Add herbs and spices, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

  • Then add to the original brine base.

  • The brine​ for smoked salmon should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower before the fish is added.

  • Using chilled or ice water and keeping the fish refrigerated until adding it will help keep the brining mixture cold enough to ensure food safety precautions.

  • If you wish to add soy sauce for flavor, you may want to slightly reduce the amount of salt in the brining solution.

  • If you wish to add beer or wine, replace no more than one quarter of the total liquid.

  • Add your salmon and make sure that it is fully submerged. If it begins to float, add a light weight such as a plate to keep it submerged.

  • Leave the salmon in the brine for the appropriate amount of time as described above.

  • Be sure to refrigerate your container if the brining time requires multiple hours.

  • Avoid the temptation to brine the salmon for longer than recommended. 

  • Discard all brining liquid and using paper towels pat your salmon dry.

  • This will not cause a reverse effect of the brining process, but will allow you to achieve a better sear if you are seeking a crispy outer layer.

  • Brining is meant to add flavor and moisture throughout the salmon.


Serving: 40g | Calories: 74kcal