How to Make Salmon Jerky

February 09, 2018 2 Comments

How to Make Salmon Jerky

Smoked salmon candy, cold smoked salmon, Native style smoked salmon, or salmon jerky. Call it what you want, it tastes incredible. These savory strips of fish are a favorite in our house and we hardly ever leave the house without them. 

Smoked salmon candy

Mike built a simple smokehouse after fishing season this year. It's 4x8 feet, and because of it's large size, its fairly simple to keep cool during the winter, which is essential to successful cold smoking. It has an electric hot plate with a cast iron skillet on top that we add alder chips to for the smoking.  

Alaskan smokehouse

If the temperature is greater than 95 degrees, it begins to cook, resulting in a hot smoked product instead. Hot smoked salmon is excellent too, but we use it differently. We add hot smoked salmon to eggs, soups, and dips, and we take cold smoked salmon backpacking. 

Here is the difference between hot and cold smoked salmon. Hot smoked is on the left (more moist) and cold smoked is on the right. It's hard and dry, like jerky. 


We used this information from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension as a starting point and altered the recipes slightly to suit our taste and the amount of time we want to spend completing the process. Depending on the desired finished product, cold smoking can take anywhere from 16 hours to 7 days. 

Here's the recipe and preparation we've found most successful so far. This recipe comes from many rounds of trial and error, and it works for us based on the dimensions of our smokehouse and our climate. We smoke our salmon candy when we're expecting cold weather, but not too cold. In our experience, 25- 32 degrees is ideal for a smokehouse our size.




20 lbs. of salmon fillets yields 5 lbs. of salmon candy


For brine:  
  • 2 cups non-iodized salt
  • 4 cups brown sugar 
  • 2 gallons water 


  1. Thaw salmon fillets and pull pin bones if necessary. Smart Source Seafood salmon has already been pin boned, so you can skip this step if you're using our fish.

  2. Cut longways into 1/2 inch stripsSalmon strips

  3. Add to brine and leave chilled for 8 hours. 

  4. Freshen the fish to remove excess salt and scales by dipping it into cold water

  5. Drizzle maple syrup on top of the fish and gently massage it into fish

  6. Let dry in smokehouse with a fan on the salmon for 36 hours.

  7. Add about 3 handfuls of alder chips to the cast iron skillet on top of the hot plate in smoker and dry/smoke for another 36 hours. 

  8. Remove and try not to eat it all at once. Refrigerate at below 38 degrees until consumed. For excess, vacuum pack or place in Ziploc freezer bags and freeze.

Finished product

The Alaska baby way- teething on salmon jerky




2 Responses


November 23, 2019

Could not find an authentic recipe for salmon strips until I stumbled across this! This Alaskan girl thanks you!! Super excited to try it with this summers catch!

Mark W
Mark W

November 23, 2019

How long does the Salmon (Hot and or cold smoked) last WITHOUT refrigeration in warmer months? (hiking & Motorcycle camping trips etc.) Thanks

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