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smoked salmon cooking on a pit boss pellet grill

Pit Boss Smoked Salmon with Cajun Blackening Rub

These Smoked Salmon Fillets are first dry brined and cured overnight then seasoned with a cajun blackening rub.
We then show you step by step how to slow smoke the salmon to perfection on a Pit Boss pellet grill.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Dry Brine Time 6 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ, Mediterranean, Seafood, Smoked
Servings 4 people
Calories 450 kcal


  • Pit Boss Pellet Grill
  • Wood Pellets preferably a fruitwood like apple or cherry; or oak
  • Fillet or Boning Knife
  • Tweezers
  • Cutting Board
  • Paper Towels
  • Baking Dish
  • Plastic Wrap or Lid to Baking Dish
  • Large Baking Sheet with Wire Rack
  • Instant Read and/or Leave in Probe Thermometer
  • Grill Mat optional


  • 1 2 lb Large Salmon Fillet

Dry Brine

  • 3 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Course Ground Black Pepper

Cajun Blackening Rub

  • 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Course Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Celery Salt


Rinse, Dry, and Fillet the Salmon

  • Rinse the salmon under cold running water.
    1 2 lb Large Salmon Fillet
    rinsing salmon before smoking
  • Place it on your cutting board and pat it very dry with paper towels
  • Once it is dry, run your fingers along the salmon checking for any bones that were not removed previously.
    checking for bones in salmon fillet
  • If you feel any, remove them with some tweezers and discard.
  • Lastly, slice your salmon into about 2 inch portion sized fillets.
    sliced up salmon fillets

Dry Brine the Salmon

  • Mix the brine mixture ingredients together well and place some in the bottom of the baking dish.
    3 Cups Dark Brown Sugar, 1 Cup Kosher Salt, 1 Tbsp Course Ground Black Pepper
    mixing honey smoked salmon brine ingredients together
  • Place the fillets on top of the mixture, then spread more of the brine mixture over the fillets, trying to cover every exposed surface of the fish.
    brine mixture on top of salmon fillets
  • Continue to layer your fillets like this, depending on how much fish you have, packing the brine mixture around them, and then cover the whole dish tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.

Rinse, Dry, and Season the Brined Salmon

  • After the salmon is finished brining, take the fillets out of the tray and rinse them off really well under cold running water.
    rinsing salmon after brining before putting on smoker
  • Pat dry with paper towels, and place them on a wire rack to air dry.
  • Mix the Cajun Blackening Rub Ingredients together well in a bowl.
    2 Tbsp Paprika, 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar, 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano, 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme, 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1 Tsp Kosher Salt, 1 Tsp Course Ground Black Pepper, ½ Tsp Celery Salt
  • Sprinkle and rub the blackening mixture over all sides of the dried salmon fillets.
  • Keep the seasoned salmon fillets on the wire rack in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours to allow the pellicle to form on the outside.

Start the Pit Boss Pellet Grill

  • Remove the fire pot from the bottom of the Pit Boss and clean out any ashes left over from the last cook. Replace it and make sure it is secured in place with the clips on either side. Also, wrap the drip tray in aluminum foil to limit cleanup needed later.
    a dirty pit boss pellet grill fire pot
  • Add your pellets to the hopper, start the Pit Boss pellet grill and put it on the "Smoke" setting.
    hopper full of pellets on pit boss pellet grill
  • If there are no pellets in the auger, hold the "Prime" button until you hear pellets begin falling in the fire pot. This will speed up the auger to prime it full of pellets before you start preheating.
    starting a pit boss pellet grill
  • Once the Pit boss begins to produce thick white smoke, let it run for about 5-7 minutes until the smoke turns more of a clearish blue color. This means the fire rod has fully heated up to burn the pellets more cleanly.
    traeger pellet grill making thick white start up smoke
  • Next, set the temperature to preheat the Pit Boss pellet grill to 350°F. We will drop this temperature before we start cooking.
  • Fill an aluminum pan with water pan if you want to add extra moisture, and place it on the far left side of the Pit Boss pellet grill. Place a disposable bucket liner in the grease bucket as well if you want to limit cleanup later.
  • Once the Pit Boss has come up to 350°F, drop the temperature on the control panel to 180°, or the "Smoke" setting depending on your Pit Boss model, and clean the grill grates with a good grill brush and close the lid.

Smoking the Salmon on the Pit Boss Pellet Grill

  • Place the salmon fillets on the Pit Boss with the skin side DOWN if they are skin-on. No need to flip during the cook. You can even leave them on the wire rack if you wish.
    salmon smoking on a pit boss pellet grill
  • Continue smoking the salmon, rotating occasionally, for about 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 140-145°F internally.
  • Carefully remove the smoked salmon from the Pit Boss and serve immediately.



Calories: 450kcal
Keyword barbecue, bbq, bbq salmon, Dry Brine, hot smoked salmon, pellet grill, pellet grill salmon, pellet grills, pellet smoker, Pit Boss, Pit Boss Recipes, Pit Boss Salmon, Pit Boss Smoked Salmon, smoked fish, smoked salmon, smoked seafood
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