Hot Smoked Norwegian Salmon With Grilled Onions

10 serving(s)


2 cups hardwood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 large side farmed Norwegian salmon (about 3 pounds, pin bones removed
3 cups smokin' brine, made with vodka (see note)
1/4 cup smokin' rub (see note)
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 large red onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh dill
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and ground black pepper



1. Put the salmon in a jumbo (2-gallon) zipper-lock bag. If you only have 1-gallon bags, cut the fish in half and use two bags. Add the brine to the bag(s), press out the air, and seal. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours
2. Mix all but 1 tablespoon of the rub with the dried dill and onion powder and set aside.
3. Soak the onion slices in ice water.
4. Heat a grill for indirect low heat, about 225 degrees, with smoke. Drain the wood chips and add them to the grill.
5. Remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Coat the fish with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle the meaty side with the rub that has dried dill in it.
6. Lift the onions from the ice water and pat dry. Coat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon rub. Set the fish and onions aside to rest for 15 minutes.
7. Brush the grill grate and rub well with oil. Place the salmon, flesh-side down, directly over the heat and grill for 5 minutes until the surface is golden brown. Using a large fish spatula or two regular spatulas, turn the fish skin-side down and position on the grill grate away from the fire. Put the onion slices directly over the fire. Close the grill and cook until the salmon is firm on the outside, but not dry, and resilient in the center, about 26 minutes. When done, moisture will bead through the surface when fish is gently pressed. It should not fully flake under pressure. Turn the onions once during the cooking time.
8. While the salmon is cooking, remove the leaves from the fresh dill and chop coarsely. Mix with the lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
9. When the salmon is done, transfer to a platter using a fish spatula. Let rest for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Surround with grilled onion slices and scatter the fresh dill mixture over the top.
- From Fire It Up: More Than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim (Chronicle, 2011)
Note: To prepare the smokin' brine, mix 2 cups beer (or 1/2 cup vodka and 11/2 cups water), 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, 3 tablespoons coarse salt, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup water. To prepare the smokin' rub, mix 1 tablespoon smoked salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 11/2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile, 1 teaspoon ground toasted cumin, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Per serving (based on 10): 350 calories, 31 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 23 grams fat, 86 milligrams cholesterol, 788 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Michael Klein