Homemade Smoke Salmon

How to make super homemade smoke salmon without the use of a smoker and at 1/3 the cost of store bought smoked salmon.

Season's Greeting

We wish you a Merry Christmas with roast turkey for dinner and a Happy New year with steaks and wine to celebrate.  BUT how about some delicious non traditional smoked salmon for both. 

Learn the trick to make homemade smoked salmon at home with an irresistible smokey, salty brine mixture—no smoker required.

How do you make homemade "smoked" salmon and enjoy super smoked salmon without the use of a smoker.  Easy!  You just need to fake it.  The recipe is phenomenally easy.  

How?    The secret sauce is liquid smoke.  But what is liquid smoke see below?  I prefer the hickory type.

Where to get liquid smoke?           

The most popular brand is Wright's Liquid Smoke.  The Hickory kind is the one that most resembles "wok hei" in Cantonese - flaming cooking.  It is available in Singapore at Cold Storage Supermarket for S$4.25 for a 100 ml bottle.

Other similar brands can cost up to $50 per bottle.  So Wright at Cold Storage is good value.

In Singapore store bought smoked salmon is SGD 12.00 per 100 gm.

Smoke salmon is available at Singapore at Cold Storage and certain FairPrice stores.

Quality smoked salmon in large slabs are also available at specialty food store.

From Cold Storage

Slabs of fresh salmon from Cold Storage is less than SGD 3.00 per 100gm.  This is the starting ingredient of my homemade smoke salmon.

Farmed Norwegian salmon are air flown in and arrive in Singapore on Thursdays according to my local fishmonger.  So if you buy salmon on wednesday it is likely to be sitting around for a week.  

So the best time to buy your freshest salmon slabs is on a Saturday.

Salmon Fillet from SG Fresh Mart

You can also buy air flown Norwegian salmon fillet from SG Fresh Mart a popular online grocer.
At SGD 3.80 per 100 gm.

The  pro  of eating salmon
Salmon makes for an excellent brain food. Rich in omega- 3 fatty acids, the fatty fish helps sharpen your brain and improves your memory retention. It is also known to reduce risk of dementia and loss of mental functions.

The controversy of eating farmed Norwegian salmon.
This controversy was heightened by this well known but controversal documentary claiming that farmed Norwegian Salmon is the world’s most toxic food.  The claim is yet to be substantiated but this documentary has its impact.  See documentary on Farmed Norwegian Salmon World’s Most Toxic Food by Marcus Guiliano here.

What is liquid smoke?           

Liquid smoke really is made from smoke. Chips or sawdust from hardwoods such as hickory or mesquite are burned at high temperatures, and particles of the smoke are collected in condensers. The resulting liquid is concentrated down for a stronger flavor.  My preferred flavor is hickory.

More on liquid smoke --------Click here====>

Because it contains real smoke, liquid smoke also contains carcinogens. Modern manufacturers reportedly filter most of these out, and it's generally considered safe to use in moderation. Indeed, such is the intensity of its flavor that you should only want to use it in moderation! 

The most popular brand is Wright's Liquid Smoke.  The Hickory kind is the one that most resemble "wok hei" in Cantonese flaming cooking.  It is available in Singapore at Cold Storage Supermarket for S$4.25 for a 100 ml bottle.

Other similar brands can cost up to $50 per bottle.  So Wright at Cold Storage for $4.25 is good value and usually are sold out quickly.  Grab a few bottles when available.

My Secret Ingredients 

1/2  kilogram of fresh salmon
2 teaspoon of Brandy
Dry dill and Pepper
Wright's Hickory liquid smoke
¾ cup of granular sugar
½ cup of sea salt 

3 Easy Steps to prepare your Smoke Salmon Filet  (10 minutes)

Wash and Deskin

Wash the salmon slabs with ice cold water.

Scraping the flesh of the salmon slab with the blade of a sharp knife under running water will make it into "sashimi grade" by getting rid of all surface contaminant and thus minimise acute food poisoning.

Peel off the skin by sharp dissection as shown in picture. 

Dry with paper towel.

Liquid smoke, salt & sugar

Put salmon on a plate and smear with brandy and liquid smoke.

Sprinkle salmon with dry dill and pepper all over.

Thorough mix salt and sugar then cover the salmon with this mixture front, back and sides.

Optional to make slits in the thicker part of the fillet for better penetration.

For 1/2 kilo of salmon use ¾ cup of granular sugar and ½ cup of sea salt preferred (regular salt will also do).

Saran wrap

Tightly wrap the filet and salt & sugar packing in Saran wrap.

Turn the freezer to low as it will go.  Most freezer will go to 4 C when put on its lowest setting.

Keep packing in freezer preferably at 4 C or lower for 5 days to kill off parasites if any.

To get ready for delicious consumption, slow defrost the filet.  Soak the filet in cold water for 20 minutes to get rid of the excess salt and sugar. Add more liquid smoke.

Remove slab from freezer and then slow defrost.

Before eating, soak the slab in cold water for 20 minutes to remove the excess salt and sugar.
Then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke to enhance the aroma.

Enjoy your delicious salmon! 

How do I like my smoke salmon?

Chirashi style of course!

Salmon slices with sushi rice.

Here is how I eat my smoke salmon.


Great with sake!

With sushi rice

This is my all time favorite

Sushi rolls

Much cheaper than in Japanese restuarant

How to prepare sushi rice
In good Japanese resturants when you order chirashi, the rice is not plain rice but specially prepared sushi rice and here is how you do it.

Sushi Rice

To make the rice sticky mix 1/2 and 1/2 of glutinous rice with calrose rice.

Add sushi rice mix when done


A good sashimi sauce

Can get from Cold Storage

I like my sliced smoke salmon best with sushi rice.

There are many other ways to eat your smoke salmon.  


The classic way of eating smoke salmon is the traditional Jewish way of having it on toasted bagel with cream cheese.  Oh so good.

With toasted French bread

With crackes, bread and lemon