Hot-Smoked Salmon Steaks with Morel Sauce

Break out your grill and start crowd-pleasing with this salmon dish that's equal parts rustic and refined.

  • Servings: 20

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2002


  • 4 pounds apple-wood chips
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 20 salmon steaks (about 6 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt
  • Morel Sauce


  1. Place wood chips in a large container. Fill with water, and add the sugar; let stand until the chips are soaked through, at least 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, place salmon steaks on a baking sheet, and generously season both sides with salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator 1 hour.

  3. Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill. When coals are hot, drain wood chips, and evenly distribute them over the coals. This should extinguish the flames and produce a fragrant smoke.

  4. Place salmon steaks on grill, being careful not to overcrowd. Cover grill, keeping vents slightly open during smoking process. Smoke salmon steaks until they are heated through but still bright pink in the center, 20 to 30 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on the heat of the smoke and the desired doneness of the salmon. Be careful when removing cover from grill because of the smoke build-up.

  5. Transfer salmon to a large serving platter, and serve hot with morel sauce.

Cook's Notes

Hot-smoking relies on the heat of the smoke to cook the fish. A home charcoal grill can easily be converted into a smoker; the trick is to build a hot fire and add soaked wood chips to extinguish the flames while the chips continue to smolder. It is the smoldering chips that produce the fragrant smoke. Since this recipe is designed to serve twenty people, you may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your grill, rebuilding the fire in between. You could easily halve or quarter the recipe for fewer guests. Other types of wood chips, such as hickory or mesquite, could also be used.


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