Best Wood For Smoking Salmon – Our 7 Picks For You

Best Wood For Smoking Salmon

When it comes to smoking salmon, there are a lot of different factors that can affect the flavor of the fish. The type of wood you use for smoking is one of the most important considerations. Different woods will impart different flavors to the salmon, so it’s important to choose wisely. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best woods for smoking salmon, as well as some tips on how to get the job done efficiently with this information in hand, you’ll be able to choose the perfect wood for your next batch of smoked salmon.

7 Best Wood For Smoking Salmon

Salmon is a type of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your health. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease. In addition to its protein, vitamins, and minerals, salmon is also a good source of dietary fat. 

The type of wood you use for smoking can impact the taste of the salmon. It is essential to choose the right wood because different woods impart different flavors. Here are some of the best woods for smoking salmon:

1. Alder Wood

Alder Wood Chips for smoking salmon

Alder is a mild wood that imparts a delicate flavor. It’s a good choice for smoking salmon if you don’t want the smoke to be too overwhelming. The wood is also suitable for smoking chicken, and game birds. 

The wood burns hot and fast, so it’s important to watch closely. It is best used in small amounts, such as in a smoker box or charcoal briquettes. Too much smoke from an alder can make food taste bitter. When using alder wood for smoking, it’s essential to soak it first in water for at least 30 minutes. The wood will not burn too quickly and your food will not acquire an unpleasant flavor as a result. 

Read Also: Is Smoked Salmon Considered Raw?

2. Maple Wood

Maple Wood - Best Wood For Smoking Salmon

Maple Wood gives the fish a slightly sweet flavor. There are different ways to use maple when smoking salmon. 

The first way is to soak the wood in water for 20-30 minutes. Then, drain the water and put the wood on the pellet smoker. The second way is to put the wood on the smoker without soaking it in water. This will give the salmon a more intense flavor. 

The third way is to use maple chips. Put the chips on the smoker after soaking them in water for 30 minutes. Choose whichever way you like best!

3. Oak Wood

Oak Wood Pellets for smoking fish

Oak is a strong-flavored wood, so it’s best to use it in moderation. Oak imparts a hearty, smoky flavor that can be too much if used too liberally. The wood is a good choice if you want to add a little smoke flavor to your meat without overpowering it. 

When used judiciously, oak can add depth and complexity to a dish without overwhelming the other flavors. Tenderizing tough cuts of meat can also be achieved with oak when used sparingly. So, if you want to add a slight smokiness to your next meal, don’t be afraid to reach for some oak. Just remember to use it sparingly.

Read Also: How to smoke fish on a pellet grill?

4. Beechwood

Beech Wood Pellets - best wood pellets for smoking salmon

Beechwood imparts a mild, delicate flavor to the salmon, perfect for those who dislike smoky solid flavors. 

In addition, beech wood produces a fair amount of smoke, which helps to keep the salmon moist during smoking. Best of all, it is widely available and relatively inexpensive, making it an excellent option for those who want to try smoking salmon at home. 

5. Apple Wood

Apple Wood - Apple smoked salmon

The delicate flavor of applewood complements the fatty flesh of salmon without overpowering it. In addition, applewood produces a lot of smoke without creating too much heat, making it ideal for smoking salmon. 

Of course, ultimately, deciding which wood to use is a matter of personal preference. But apple wood is worth considering if you’re looking for wood that will infuse your salmon with a delicious mild-sweety flavor.

6. Hickory Wood

Hickory smoked salmon

Hickory is another strong-flavored wood that can add an excellent depth of flavor to salmon. The smoke from hickory wood is sweeter than oak and can also help tenderize the fish. 

When smoking salmon, using only a small amount of hickory wood is essential, as too much smoke can make the fish taste bitter. Hickory smoke can also give salmon a pinkish hue, so it’s best to use this type of wood if you’re looking for a more traditional smoked salmon.

Read Also: 6 Best kinds of wood for Smoking Cheese

7. Cherry Wood

Cherry Wood - Best wood chips for smoking fish

Cherry is a favorite amongst people who love smoked fish and poultry. The wood lends a subtle, fruity flavor to salmon that is unmatched by any other type of wood. 

In addition, cherry wood is very dense, which means that it burns slowly and evenly. This slow burn helps to infuse the salmon with flavor without overcooking it. As a result, cherry wood is an excellent choice for smoking salmon.

When smoking salmon, it’s important to use wood chips rather than logs. Logs can take a long time to ignite, and they can also make the salmon taste bitter. Wood chips will light quickly and provide consistent smoke flavor. 

Alder, maple, oak, and hickory are all great choices that impart a delicious flavor to your salmon. So, when choosing a wood for smoking salmon, pick one of these varieties and thank us later. 

Everything You Need To Know About Salmon Smoking

Everything You Need To Know About Salmon Smoking

The process of smoking salmon is believed to have originated with the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. These people would dry and smoke their catch of salmon as a way to preserve it for winter. Today, smoking salmon is still prevalent in this region, and the methods used have remained essentially unchanged for centuries. 

Whether you’re hot-smoking or cold-smoking salmon, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure your salmon comes out perfectly cooked and flavorful.

Some Handy Tips

The key to success is to start with fresh, high-quality salmon and to use the proper wood chips for smoking. Here are some tips to help you smoke salmon like a pro.

  • First, choose a good cut of salmon. The best cuts for smoking are the shoulders or loins, which have the most fat. Fat is essential, as it helps to keep the fish moist during smoking. 
  • Next, cure the salmon by covering it with salt, sugar, and spices. This will help to draw out moisture and give the salmon a flavorful crust. 
  • Then, smoke the salmon using wood chips. Be sure to smoke the salmon slowly, at a low temperature. This will prevent the fish from drying and ensure it cooks evenly throughout. 
  • Finally, enjoy your smoked salmon! It’s delicious on its own or in sandwiches, salads, and pasta.

Some Easy Methods

The process of smoking salmon can be done in several ways, but the most important factor is to use low heat. This ensures that the fish does not dry out or overcook. 

  • One way to smoke salmon is to use a smoker oven. These ovens have a chamber that holds the fish and another chamber for smoking chips. The smoker oven must be preheated before the salmon is placed inside. Generally, the temperature should be set to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The salmon will need to cook for several hours, depending on its thickness. 
  • Another way to smoke salmon is to use a stovetop smoker. These smokers consist of a pan with a rack on which the fish is placed. To create smoke, wood chips are placed at the bottom of a pan and covered with a lid. Stovetop smokers must be heated over low heat before the fish is added. As with smoking in an oven, the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. 

To ensure that your salmon comes out perfectly cooked, it is essential to use a food thermometer. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit before it is considered safe to eat. 

Following these tips, you can easily smoke salmon at home in your kitchen.

Learn more about how to smoke salmon here in this video:


Can you smoke salmon with hickory?

If you are a fan of strong flavor, you cannot go wrong with hickory. It’s definitely a great choice if that’s the case. However, there are other good options to consider as well. It’s ultimately up to you to decide which taste you prefer!

Why do you brine salmon before smoking?

You should definitely brine out salmon before smoking it if you want to prevent it from drying out. It can take anywhere between 2 and 6 hours. If you want to achieve the best taste, you should bring the meat for 5-6 hours.

Final Thoughts

So, what is the best wood for smoking salmon? In our opinion, alder is the best option. It has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of salmon and produces a pleasant, smoky aroma. If you don’t have any alder wood available, other woods like apple or cherry can also be used, but they may impart a more robust flavor to the fish. 

Experiment with different types of wood until you find the one that gives your smoked salmon the flavor you prefer. We hope you enjoyed this article on smoking salmon. Thanks for reading!

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