Can You Use Canning Salt For Brine Smoked Salmon?

Are you a fan of smoked salmon but tired of the high prices at the grocery store?

Why not try making it yourself at home?

But before you start, you need to know the key ingredient for a perfectly moist and tender smoked fish – the brine.

While there are many types of salt to choose from, canning salt is often recommended.

But can you really use canning salt for brine smoked salmon?

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using canning salt and provide you with a simple recipe to make your own delicious smoked salmon at home.

So, let’s dive in!

Can You Use Canning Salt For Brine Smoked Salmon?

The short answer is yes, you can use canning salt for brine smoked salmon.

Canning salt, also known as pickling salt, is a pure form of salt that does not contain any additives like iodine or anti-caking agents. This makes it a great choice for brining salmon as it will not affect the flavor of the fish.

Other types of salt like table salt or sea salt may contain additives that can alter the taste of the salmon, so it’s best to stick with pure salt products like canning salt.

When making your brine, you can use a combination of canning salt and brown sugar to create a delicious flavor profile for your smoked salmon. Dark brown sugar will add a molasses flavor while white sugar will provide a more neutral taste.

Here’s a simple recipe for brine smoked salmon using canning salt:


– 3lbs of salmon (large fillet preferably)

– 11.5 cups of water

– 1 3/8 cup of canning salt (reduce by 25-50% if you do not like a strong salt flavor)

– 1 1/4 cup of brown sugar

– 1 tsp of onion powder

– 1 tsp of garlic powder


1. Pour water into a large bowl or small bucket.

2. Stir in canning salt, brown sugar, onion powder, and garlic powder.

3. Soak your salmon in this brine in the refrigerator for 12 to 36 hours.

4. Smoke using your desired method.

Why Use Canning Salt For Brine Smoked Salmon?

Canning salt is the ideal choice for brine smoked salmon because it is a pure form of salt that does not contain any additives like iodine or anti-caking agents. These additives can impart an undesirable flavor to the salmon, making it less enjoyable to eat.

Additionally, canning salt dissolves easily in water, which makes it perfect for brine preparation. This ensures that the salmon is evenly coated with the brine, resulting in a more consistent flavor throughout the fillet.

Using canning salt also allows you to control the saltiness of your brine. If you prefer a less salty flavor, you can reduce the amount of canning salt used in your recipe without compromising on the quality of the brine.

What Is Canning Salt And How Is It Different From Regular Salt?

Canning salt, also known as pickling salt, is a type of salt that is made from pure granulated salt without any additives or anti-caking agents. Regular table salt, on the other hand, is typically iodized and may contain other additives that can alter the taste of the food being prepared.

One of the key differences between canning salt and other types of salt is its texture. Canning salt has extra fine granules, which means it dissolves quickly and easily into brines. This makes it an ideal choice for pickling and preserving foods like salmon.

Another benefit of using canning salt for brine smoked salmon is that it will not affect the color or cloudiness of the brine. Regular table salt may contain additives that can cause the brine to become cloudy or darken the color of pickled vegetables.

The Importance Of Brining For Smoked Salmon

Brining is an essential step in preparing smoked salmon. It not only adds flavor but also helps in preserving the fish. The brine solution consists of salt, sugar, and spices dissolved in water.

When the salmon is soaked in the brine, the salt helps to draw out moisture from the fish, which creates a more concentrated flavor. The sugar helps to balance out the saltiness and adds a touch of sweetness to the fish. The spices can vary depending on your preference, but they add depth and complexity to the flavor profile of the salmon.

There are two methods of brining: wet and dry. Wet brining involves submerging the salmon in a large container filled with the brine solution. This method is preferred by many because it provides a more even distribution of flavor throughout the fish.

Dry brining involves rubbing the salmon with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices and letting it sit for a certain amount of time. This method is quicker than wet brining but requires more attention to ensure that the fish does not become too salty.

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to note that brining is not optional when it comes to smoking salmon. Skipping this step can result in dry, flavorless fish that nobody enjoys. So take the time to brine your salmon properly, and you’ll be rewarded with moist, tender, and flavorful smoked salmon that will impress your friends and family.

How To Make A Canning Salt Brine For Smoked Salmon

Making a canning salt brine for smoked salmon is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients. Here’s how to make it:


– 1 gallon cold water

– 1 and 1/2 cups of canning salt (or 2 cups of Morton Kosher Salt)

– 1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar


1. In a large bowl or small bucket, combine the cold water, canning salt, and brown sugar.

2. Stir the mixture until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.

3. Place your salmon fillet in the brine, making sure it is fully submerged.

4. Cover the bowl or bucket with plastic wrap or a lid and place it in the refrigerator for 12 to 36 hours.

5. After the desired amount of time has passed, remove the salmon from the brine and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.

6. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and let it air dry for 1-2 hours before smoking.

By following these steps, you can create a delicious canning salt brine for your smoked salmon that will enhance its flavor and texture. Remember to adjust the amount of salt used based on your personal preference for saltiness.

Tips For Smoking Your Salmon To Perfection

Now that you have your brine recipe ready, it’s time to smoke your salmon to perfection. Here are some tips to ensure your smoked salmon turns out delicious:

1. Prepare your smoker: Set your smoker to 225°F and use fruit wood like cherry or apple for the best flavor.

2. Oil the skin: Slick the skin of your fish with some oil so it won’t stick to the smoker rack.

3. Gradually increase temperature: Start with a small fire and work your way up gradually as you go. Bringing the temperature up too quickly can cause white albumin “bleed” on the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon. For tender salmon, cook it to 135°F, and for fully cooked salmon, cook it to 145°F.

5. Check early and often: Start checking the internal temperature early, especially if you have a smaller fillet or are using wild-caught salmon.

6. Don’t overcook: Do not overcook the salmon as this will cause it to dry out. The key temperatures are a 225°F smoker and a finished internal temperature of 140-145°F.

7. Let it rest: Once you remove the salmon from the smoker, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the fish and ensure it stays moist.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to smoke your canning salt brined salmon to perfection every time.

Enjoying Your Homemade Smoked Salmon

Now that you have made your own delicious smoked salmon, it’s time to enjoy it! There are many ways to serve and enjoy smoked salmon. Here are a few ideas:

1. Lox Bagel: Spread cream cheese on a bagel and top with thin slices of smoked salmon, capers, and red onion.

2. Smoked Salmon Dip: Mix chopped smoked salmon with cream cheese, sour cream, dill, and lemon juice for a delicious dip.

3. Smoked Salmon Salad: Toss mixed greens with smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a lemon vinaigrette.

4. Smoked Salmon Appetizer: Serve thin slices of smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread with quick pickled red onions and crackers.

No matter how you choose to serve it, your homemade smoked salmon is sure to impress your guests and your taste buds!