Brown-Sugar Gravlax

6 pounds

Making your own cured salmon is easier than you think—and so impressive at your next dinner party.


  • 1 pound coarse salt

  • 1 pound packed dark-brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons whole white peppercorns, cracked

  • 2 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ tablespoons brandy

  • ¼ cup whiskey, preferably Jack Daniel's

  • 2 sides of salmon (3 pounds each), cleaned and skin on


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and dill to make the dry cure. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, brandy, and whiskey; stir.

  2. Lay salmon, skin-sides down, on a clean, dry surface. Brush liquid mixture generously over fish. Pack dry cure evenly over fillets; wrap tightly with two layers of plastic wrap.

  3. Place one piece of fish, skin-side down, in a pan large enough to accommodate the fish. Place the other piece of fish, skin-side up, on top of the first. Place a cutting board on top of the fish, and weigh down board with soup cans or bricks. Chill 24 hours.

  4. Remove weights, unwrap fish, and drain liquid. Wrap fish again tightly in two fresh layers of plastic, reversing position of top and bottom pieces. Place weights on top; return to refrigerator. Chill 24 hours more.

  5. Repeat step 4.

  6. Unwrap the salmon, and scrape off the dry cure. Slice the salmon on the bias as thinly as possible, and serve. The gravlax can be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Cook's Notes

This recipe can be halved or quartered to cure a smaller amount of fish. Plan ahead; gravlax takes 3 days to cure.

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