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Herb-Basted Smoked Salmon

A grilled side of salmon makes an impressive centerpiece for a dinner party or lavish brunch. Adding wood chips to the glowing embers infuses the fish with a fantastic smoky flavor in a surprisingly short time, and basting the salmon with an herb sprig dipped in olive oil adds an additional layer of flavor. While you could place the salmon right on the grill, aluminum foil makes it easier to rotate the salmon to ensure even doneness (a necessary step since the large fillet tends to stretch into both temperature zones) and remove from the grill (meaning the skin won't stick and your grill will stay clean). The rich flavor of the salmon needs nothing more than a sprinkle of flaky salt, but you can also serve it with lemon halves.

Photo Credit : Whole Foods Market

Herb-Basted Smoked Salmon

Main ingredient


Pairs well with

Crispy rounds of grilled potatoes or grilled bread, a shaved radish salad, and/or a salad of young, tender lettuces.

Cook time

30 minutes

Serving size

6 to 8


  • 2 cups (180g) Wood Chips (preferably applewood or cherrywood)
  • One 4-pound (1.8kg) Skin-On Salmon Fillet, Pinbones Removed
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Sprigs Marjoram
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 2 Sprigs Dill
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Flaky Salt
  • Lemon Wedge

Quick Tip

Use leftovers to make tacos with a spicy red cabbage slaw.

Recipe Preparation

  1. Soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high. Carefully wipe the preheated grill grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.
  3. Measure out 2 sheets of aluminum foil that are 12 inches longer than the salmon and put them on a rimless baking sheet. Place the salmon skin side down on the foil and generously season with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the wood chips and scatter them over the coals. If using a gas grill, put them in a perforated aluminum foil packet or smoker box and place directly over the flames. Secure the stems of the marjoram, thyme, and dill sprigs with kitchen twine to form a basting brush. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl.
  5. Using the short ends of the foil as handles, carefully slide the fish off the baking sheet and onto the grill over indirect heat, adjusting as needed. Close the grill, vent appropriately for indirect cooking, and cook until the salmon is just cooked through and opaque in the center, about 30 minutes, dipping the herb brush in oil and basting the salmon every 10 minutes (do this quickly so the grill isn't open for too long). When the salmon is cooked, carefully slide the fish back onto the baking sheet and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Season with flaky salt, lemons, and pepper.
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