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Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Our lemon pepper smoked salmon will give you a bright fresh smoked salmon taste, and all with a fresh lemon pepper seasoning. You will find this lemon pepper smoked salmon recipe is simple to follow, and you will swoon over the final product. 

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

We love salmon around here. It is so delicious, and here in the Pacific Northwest, it is also insanely fresh.

Smoking salmon on your Traeger Grill is always a delicious way to change up from an oven-baked or straight-up grilled salmon recipe, and you can use the smoked salmon in so many different ways. 

More Easy Traeger Recipes here!

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Hot Smoked Salmon

If you want to learn how to make homemade lemon pepper smoked salmon, you came to the right place. 

Smoking salmon at home is easy, especially if you have a pellet grill. We smoke salmon a few times a month around here, and there isn’t much better as a snack or to bring out for your company than fresh, home-smoked salmon.

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Serve it with crackers and some local cheese, briny olives, and a glass of wine, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a charcuterie board.

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

How to smoke salmon safely

Hot Smoked Salmon is completely safe as long as you follow good food handling practices, and ensure that you are keeping things clean, sanitary, and cooking them properly. 

Make sure your salmon hits 150° for at least 30 minutes, for instance, and when you are cleaning and prepping the fish it is very important to keep the area clean and prevent cross-contamination. 

Once the fish is smoked, it is equally important to take precautions to prevent cross-contamination after the cooking is over. 

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

What’s the best way to smoke lemon pepper salmon?

Around here, we use a Traeger grill. Traegers are electric-powered grills that use wood pellets to feed a firebox that burns real wood.

That’s how you get that real wood smoke taste without the actual work that goes into using actual logs. 

It starts up with the turn of a dial, is very easy to use, and you can adjust the temperature by turning that same dial, so it can maintain that low and slow heat that is needed for an excellent smoked salmon. 

Being able to monitor your temperature is key to smoking salmon. This is a hot smoked salmon recipe, so there is some actual cooking involved and not just smoke and cure. You don’t want it too high though or the end results will be more like grilled salmon than smoked salmon.

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Skin on or off?

We ALWAYS leave the skin on the fish when we smoke salmon and trout. It helps keeps the fish together, and once the salmon is smoked it flakes right off of the skin. 

Removing it is WAY harder than just leaving it, and leaving it on actually makes a better final result, so my advice is to leave well enough alone, and leave that skin on the fish.

How to store smoked salmon

Allow your smoked salmon to cool completely, once it is done cooking. Once your lemon pepper salmon has cooled, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. It will last around a week in the fridge, wrapped up. 

Or, if you have a vacuum sealer, you can store your salmon in the fridge vacuum packed for up to 2 weeks. 

Can you freeze smoked salmon?


Freezing is the ideal way to store smoked salmon if you are not going to eat it in the first couple of days.

Tightly wrap your salmon and place it in a freezer bag, or vacuum seal for the best results.

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

More great fish recipes to try

Looking for other ways to serve up salmon or fish to your family and friends? Here are some great recipes to whip up and give a try! 

Traeger Walleye with Lemon Cream Sauce

What else can you make with smoked salmon?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to how to eat your salmon. From flaking it and putting on top of a cracker, on top of a salad, topping a bagel with cream cheese and some of this delicious hot smoked salmon, or slice and serve with a side of vegetables and dinner rolls. 

You could easily use this in my Greek Salmon Orzo Salad as well. Typically this recipe uses grilled salmon, but flaked smoked salmon would be a perfect substitution.

Salmon Orzo Greek Pasta Salad

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon
Yield: 2 large filets

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon

Fresh salmon is brined and then smoked on a wood-pellet grill with fresh lemon pepper seasoning!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brine Time 16 hours
Total Time 20 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 large salmon filets


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt


  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Make sure if you are using frozen fish that it is completely thawed before brining. Remove pin bones with tweezers.
  2. Combine brine ingredients until the sugar is dissolved, and place into a large ziplock baggie or large covered container. Place your cleaned, thawed salmon into the brine, and refrigerate for 16 hours.
  3. Remove the salmon from the liquid, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Let sit out in a rack in the fridge, uncovered, for 2-4 hours for the pellicle to form. DO NOT SKIP THAT STEP.
  4. Season the salmon with the lemon zest and pepper.
  5. Turn your smoker to smoke to get the fire started, and place the salmon on a cooking rack that's been sprayed liberally with cooking spray.
  6. Place the rack on the smoker, and close the lid.
  7. Smoke for 4 hours, and don't let them smoker get above 180° or fall under 130°.
  8. Remove from the grill and serve warm with crackers, or let it cool to room temp and then wrap tightly and keep in the fridge for up to a week. You can also vacuum seal and freeze.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 3772mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 10g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Nicole Johnson
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Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.


Thursday 14th of September 2023

This and many of your other smoked salmon recipes look delicious. I am new to my Traeger Trailblazer, a smaller, portable smoker. Since it doesn't go beneath 215, do I just cook it for a shorter time? Will the flavor still be worth all of the effort?

Nicole Johnson

Friday 15th of September 2023

I think it is still worth it. It will take less time, and won't be exactly the same, but it'll still be delicious. You can also experiment smoking your salmon over a tray of ice too, to keep the temperature down a bit more. Not sure if the benefit would be worth the hassle though, as far as the ice is concerned.

Smoked Salmon - How to Smoke Salmon! - Gimme Some Grilling

Wednesday 26th of June 2019

[…] Lemon Pepper Smoked Salmon […]

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