Mastering the Art of Smoked Salmon on Your Traeger Grill: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mouthwatering Perfection


Welcome to the world of smoked salmon, where the delicate flavors of this prized fish are elevated to new heights through the magic of Traeger grilling. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to master smoking salmon on your Traeger grill, from selecting the perfect fish to serving up a delectable feast that will impress even the most discerning palate.

Choosing the Perfect Salmon

When smoking salmon on your Traeger grill, selecting the right fish is crucial to achieving outstanding results. Here’s a closer look at how to choose the perfect salmon for your smoking adventure.

  • Varieties of Salmon: Salmon comes in various types, including Atlantic, Chinook (King), Sockeye (Red), Coho (Silver), and Pink salmon. Every type has a different texture and flavor character; some are fatter and richer than others. Consider your preferences and the dish you intend to prepare when selecting the type of salmon for smoking.
  • Freshness Matters: Fresh salmon is paramount for a successful smoking experience. Look for salmon with bright, clear eyes, firm flesh, and a pleasant oceanic aroma. Avoid fish with dull eyes, soft or discolored flesh, or a strong fishy smell, as these are signs of poor quality or aging.
  • Preparation Essentials: Once you’ve chosen your salmon, preparing it properly for smoking is essential. This includes filleting the fish, removing pin bones using tweezers, and ensuring the skin is clean and intact. Proper preparation ensures even smoking and enhances the flavor and texture of the finished product.

Key Takeaway: Selecting fresh, high-quality salmon is the foundation of a successful smoking experience. Select a variety that appeals to you, make sure the fish is fresh and cooked to perfection, and use your Traeger barbecue to create scrumptious smoked salmon that will wow your guests.

Crafting the Ultimate Marinade or Dry Rub

Elevate the flavor of your smoked salmon by crafting the perfect marinade or dry rub. Whether you prefer a marinade for a juicy, flavorful finish or a dry rub for a crispy crust, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to create the ultimate marinade or dry rub for your Traeger smoked salmon, along with a cost comparison to help you choose the best option for your budget.

Marinade Ingredients:

Ingredient Cost (approx.)
Soy Sauce $2
Honey $3
Lemon Juice $1
Garlic, minced $1
Ginger, grated $1
Olive Oil $2
Total Cost $10

Dry Rub Ingredients:

Ingredient Cost (approx.)
Brown Sugar $2
Paprika $2
Salt $1
Black Pepper $1
Garlic Powder $1
Onion Powder $1
Total Cost $8


  • Marinade: Combine soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, grated ginger, chopped garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. After putting the salmon fillets in a shallow dish, cover them completely with the marinade. For at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours, cover and refrigerate before smoking.
  • Dry Rub: Combine the brown sugar, honey, and salt in a small bowl and paprika, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Apply a generous layer of the dry rub on both sides of the salmon fillets and gently press to adhere. To allow the flavors to mingle, let the salmon rest for 15 to 30 minutes before smoking it.

Key Takeaway:

Crafting your marinade or dry rub allows you to customize the flavor of your smoked salmon to your taste preferences. While both options yield delicious results, consider cost and flavor profile factors when choosing between a marinade and a dry rub for your Traeger smoked salmon.

Mastering Your Traeger Grill Setup

The perfect smoked salmon on your Traeger grill begins with mastering the setup. Properly preparing and preheating your grill sets the stage for a successful smoking experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you become a Traeger grill master.

  • Selecting the Right Wood Pellets: Choosing the right wood pellets is essential for imparting the desired flavor to your smoked salmon.Classic hickory and mesquite, as well as delicious apple and cherry, are just a few of the wood pellet types Traeger offers. Consider the flavor profile you want and select the appropriate wood pellets accordingly.
  • Preparing Your Traeger Grill: Before you start smoking, ensure your Traeger grill is clean and free of any debris from previous use. With a grill brush, thoroughly clean the grill grates after removing them. Make sure the drip tray is in place to collect any drips after emptying the fire pot of ash.
  • Preheating Your Traeger Grill: Preheat your Traeger grill to the desired smoking temperature, typically between 180°F and 225°F for smoking salmon. Turn on the grill and set the temperature according to your recipe or preference. Before adding the salmon, let the grill heat up for at least 15 to 20 minutes to make sure it reaches the right temperature and stabilizes.
  • Adding Wood Pellets: Once your Traeger grill is preheated, it’s time to add the wood pellets. Don’t overfill the hopper while adding your preferred amount of wood pellets. Close the hopper lid and ensure it is securely in place to prevent any pellets from spilling out during the smoking process.
  • Placing the Salmon on the Grill: Once it reaches the desired smoking temperature and the wood pellets produce a steady stream of smoke, it’s time to add the salmon. Arrange the seasoned salmon fillets on the grill grates, making sure to leave enough space between them to promote even smoking and enough ventilation.

Key Takeaway: Mastering the setup of your Traeger grill is essential for achieving perfect smoked salmon every time. By selecting the right wood pellets, preparing your grill properly, preheating to the correct temperature, and adding the salmon carefully, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Traeger grill master.

Smoking Techniques and Expert Tips

Achieving perfectly smoked salmon on your Traeger grill requires more than just setting the temperature and letting it smoke. To ensure tender, flavorful results, it’s essential to employ the right smoking techniques and expert tips. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you elevate your smoking game.

Controlling Smoke Duration and Intensity:

  • You can adjust the smoke duration and intensity by varying the wood pellets and airflow in your Traeger grill.
  • Use fewer wood pellets for a milder smoke flavor and increase airflow by partially opening the grill’s chimney or vent.
  • Add more wood pellets and reduce airflow by slightly closing the chimney or vent for a stronger smoke flavor.

Selecting the Right Wood Chips:

  • Different wood chips impart distinct flavors to the smoked salmon. Try different kinds of wood, such as apple, cherry, hickory, or mesquite, to see what kind of flavor you like.
  • Refer to the following table for a quick overview of popular wood chip options and their flavor profiles:
Wood Type Flavor Profile
Hickory Strong, smoky
Mesquite Bold, earthy
Apple Sweet, fruity
Cherry Mild, fruity

 Monitoring Internal Temperature:

  • A meat thermometer is used to monitor the internal temperature of the salmon during the smoking process.
  • When the interior temperature of the thickest portion of the salmon hits 145°F (63°C), it is done.
  • Avoid overcooking the salmon, as it can become dry and lose its delicate texture.

Resting Time and Flavor Infusion:

  • Allow the smoked salmon to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the grill.
  • Resting produces a more tasty and succulent finished product by allowing the tastes to mingle and the liquids to redistribute.

Enhancing Presentation with Finishing Touches

  • To enhance the look and taste of the smoked salmon, consider adding finishing touches before serving, such a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a scattering of fresh herbs.

Key Takeaway: Mastering smoking techniques and implementing expert tips will elevate your Traeger smoked salmon to new heights of flavor and tenderness. Try a variety of wood species, keep an eye on the interior temperature, and add the final touches to create a culinary masterpiece that your family and friends will be impressed by.

Serving Suggestions and Culinary Inspiration

Once you’ve mastered smoking salmon on your Traeger grill, it’s time to explore creative serving suggestions and culinary pairings that will enhance the dining experience. These tips will elevate your smoked salmon, whether you’re having a casual supper at home or throwing a big backyard BBQ.

  1. Appetizer Platter Ideas:

Create a stunning appetizer platter with thinly sliced smoked salmon and various accompaniments.

Consider including:

  • Sliced cucumbers or crackers for a crunchy texture.
  • For a creamy contrast, try goat or cream cheese.
  • Slices of red onion and capers for a tart taste explosion.
  • Add some fresh dill or chives for an herbal scent and color punch.
  1. Main Dish Inspirations:

Incorporate smoked salmon into various main dishes for a satisfying meal.


  • She smoked salmon pasta with a creamy Alfredo or lemon dill sauce.
  • A smoked salmon frittata or quiche is a delicious brunch option.
  • Smoked salmon salad with mixed greens, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette dressing.
  1. Beverage Pairings:

Complement the rich flavor of smoked salmon with the perfect beverage pairing.

Consider serving:

  • For a cool contrast, choose a crisp white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Light-bodied beer, such as light ale or lager, helps clear the tongue in between mouthfuls.
  • Sparkling water infused with lemon or cucumber is a non-alcoholic option that enhances the flavors of the salmon.
  1. Side Dish Recommendations:

Round out your meal with flavorful side dishes that complement the smoked salmon.

Pair it with:

  • Roasted asparagus or steamed green beans are a nutritious accompaniment.
  • Garlic mashed potatoes or wild rice pilaf is a hearty and satisfying option.
  • Vegetables that are grilled, such as eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini, offer a flavorful explosion.
  1. Dessert Ideas:

Light and refreshing sweets will help you end your dinner on a sweet note.

Consider serving:

  • Lemon sorbet or citrus tartlets for a zesty palate cleanser.
  • A fresh fruit salad with berries and mint is a healthy and vibrant option.
  • Creamy panna cotta or cheesecake topped with a berry compote is a decadent treat.

Key Takeaway: With these serving suggestions and culinary inspirations, you can create a memorable dining experience that showcases the delicious flavor of your Traeger smoked salmon. Whether hosting a special occasion or simply enjoying a meal with loved ones, these ideas will elevate your smoked salmon to new heights of culinary excellence.


Q: Can I use any salmon for smoking on a Traeger grill?

A: Yes, you can smoke various types of salmon on a Traeger grill, including Atlantic, Chinook, and Sockeye. However, selecting fresh, high-quality fish is essential for the best results.

Q: How long does smoking salmon on a Traeger grill take?

A: Depending on the thickness of the fillets and the desired degree of doneness, the smoking time for salmon on a Traeger grill can change.

Generally, it takes approximately 1-2 hours at a temperature of 180–225°F for the salmon to become tender and flaky.

Q: What wood chips should I use to smoke salmon on a Traeger grill?

A: When smoking salmon on a Traeger barbecue, you may add distinct flavors by using different types of wood chips. Popular options include alder, apple, and maple wood chips, which complement the delicate taste of the fish without overpowering it with a smoked flavor.


Congratulations! You’ve figured out how to smoke salmon on your Traeger barbecue like a pro! Equipped with our comprehensive tutorial and professional advice, you’re prepared to set out on a gastronomic exploration that will satiate your palate and wow your visitors. So fire up your Traeger, grab your favorite salmon fillets, and prepare to savor the incomparable taste of homemade smoked salmon like never before.

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