On Line Cookbook

Brine for Smoked Salmon

Recipe Information

John Driscoll

Serves/Makes:3 quarts or more

  • 12 cups (2825 ml) cool water
  • 2 cups (475 ml) brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) whole black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Mix all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel container.
  • Stir briskly until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Submerge fish or poultry in brine (time varies but I usually leave salmon in brine for 12 hours).
  • Remove food from brine and rinse thoroughly in cool water.
  • Pat dry and let rest on rack until tacky to the touch.
  • Smoke according to taste and degree of doneness desired.
This is a "no fail" brine I use for salmon and whole turkeys. You may need to double or triple recipe for large birds. For salmon, I place fillets or steaks in a covered plastic dishpan to soak. For whole turkeys I use a couple large black plastic bags in an plastic garbage can. Refigeration during the brining process is recommended.