Smoked Chili Salmon



Smoked salmon is a delicacy. Period. This time I spiced it up with Aji Lemon Drop chili.

I grill fish quite often as it is easy to prepare and my whole family likes it. Typically I serve it with baked potatoes on a salt bed and hollandaise sauce. Without doubt, smoked fish upgrades the whole dinner but adding chili makes it first class. Aji Lemon Drop is not a mildest cultivar so be careful if you are new to chili. It has however, a great citrus flavor which goes well with any seafood.

For smoking I like to use apple wood. It is easy to get all year round and fish loves its mild flavor. I tend to smoke my fish on Weber Master Touch 22’’ with Smokenator 1000. You can’t really go wrong with these two buddies. 2.2lb (1kg) fish cooks in an hour, so food temperature monitoring is essential. Unless you like to stand beside your grill and stare it pushing smoke for 60 minutes. Done that and it is also fun!

Today I smoked salmon medallions. I sea salted them couple of hours before cooking and kept in freezer. Fresh chilies I like to slice in hair thin strings and put them on top of the medallions right before cooking. There is my seasoning. Smoke will add the extra flavor and that is all I need.

I prepared my grill for the Minion method by adding ten briquettes to the Smokenator and fired up five briquettes in chimney starter. When five briquettes where ready, I placed them evenly on top of the ten. Filled the water cup on the Smokenator and sat down to think about something else.

It took about half an hour for a grill to heat up to 230°F (110°C). That is a good temperature for smoking. I do not care if temperature varies. Sometimes fish cooks faster and sometimes slower. Outside temperature and wind speed have an effect but do not care.

Place the apple wood chunks into the Smokenator right before fish. Cooking time goes fast and you don’t want to miss any of that delicious smoke. Make sure that you monitor food temperature and take it out when it reaches 134°F (57°C). If it goes much over, fish will dry. Everybody hates that. Globally.

There you go!

Smoked Chili Salmon

Cooking time

40 Minutes

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  • Fish
  • Kettle

Here are main steps and ingredients

1. Salt fish and put in freezer
2. Prepare your smoker for Minion method
3. Slice Aji Lemon Drop chili
4. Wait until smoker reaches 230°F (110°C).
5. Take fish and place chili evenly on top of it
6. Put few chunks of apple wood on top of briquettes
7. Put fish into the smoker and stick thermometer probe into it
8. Wait until fish reaches 134°F (57°C).
9. Take out, serve and enjoy!


  1. David

    What tool do you use to cut “hair thin strings” from your chilies? I’m nice with a knife, but not that nice. Do you use a mandolin?

    Thanks for the very precise details of your cooking process.

    1. Johannes Leppihalme

      Hi, thank you for the feedback. Well, I am not that nice with knife either. I wish to be and I try very hard. Chilies might end up a bit thicker than hair…


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