Canning Smoked Salmon: A Step-By-Step Guide

smoked salmon

Smoking fish for canning is an art that requires precision and care. In this guide, we will take you through the process of canning smoked salmon, ensuring that your fish is flavorful and perfectly preserved. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you with jars of delicious smoked goodness!

Smoking the Perfect Fish

Before we dive into the canning process, let’s discuss how to smoke fish for canning. Unlike ready-to-eat smoked fish, fish intended for canning should be partially cooked during the smoking process. The heat from the canning process will bring the fish to the desired level of doneness.

To begin, start with fresh, high-quality fish. Clean the fish thoroughly, removing any traces of blood. If desired, remove the scales or skin. Fillet the fish, ensuring that the pieces are vertically aligned and slightly shorter than the canning jars. Keeping the fillets similar in thickness will ensure even cooking during the smoking process.

The Importance of Brining

Before smoking the fish, it is essential to brine it in salt water. A concentration of 1 cup of salt in 7 cups of water per 3 to 4 pounds of fish is recommended. Thinner pieces should remain in the brine for 5 to 10 minutes, while thicker pieces require 30 to 45 minutes. Brining is crucial as it prevents spoilage and enhances the flavor of the fish.

After brining, remove the fish from the solution and pat it dry with clean towels. Let the fish air dry on a cooling rack until it develops a slightly tacky surface. This will indicate that it is ready for smoking.

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The Art of Smoking

When it comes to smoking the fish, maintaining the ideal temperature is key. Aim for a smoker temperature between 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Popular smokers such as the Big Chief and Little Chief operate at around 170 degrees, which is suitable for smoking fish intended for canning.

Choose your favorite wood for smoking. Alder is a popular choice for smoking salmon. Fill the smoker pan with the recommended amount of wood, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke the fish until it reaches the desired stage for canning.

Determining the readiness of smoked fish for canning is not based on internal temperature but rather on weight loss. As the fish dries, its texture becomes more suitable for canning. A weight loss of around 10% will result in moist canned smoked fish, while a weight loss closer to 12.5% will yield a drier texture.

Canning Smoked Fish

Preparation is essential when canning smoked fish. Remember to use glass jars of 1/2 pints or pints, as larger sizes are not recommended. Additionally, smoked fish should always be processed in a pressure canner for safety.

Gather your canning supplies, including a pressure canner, canning jars, seals and rings, a jar lifter, a canning funnel, and towels.

Here’s a simple recipe to guide you through the canning process:


  • Lightly smoked fish


  1. Cut the smoked fish into pieces that fit the length of the jars.
  2. Add 4 quarts of water to the pressure canner, more than the usual amount.
  3. Place the fish into hot jars, leaving 1-inch of headspace.
  4. Wipe the rims of the jars and secure the canning lids.
  5. Follow the specific instructions for pressure canning. In this case, the water in the canner should be cold, as per the tested method for canning smoked fish.
  6. Process the jars for 1 hour and 50 minutes for pints or half pints. Avoid canning in quarts, as there are no tested methods available.
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Remember to adjust the pressure according to your altitude using the provided chart for accurate results.

Hook'd Up Bar and Grill

Canning smoked fish is a rewarding process that allows you to savor the flavors of freshly smoked salmon whenever you desire. Whether you decide to enjoy it on a crisp cracker or incorporate it into a delicious recipe, the satisfaction of preserving your own smoked delicacy is unparalleled.

For more inspiration and detailed recipes for smoking salmon, be sure to visit the Hook’d Up Bar and Grill. They have a wealth of information that will take your smoked fish game to the next level.

So, gather your supplies, fire up the smoker, and let the magic of canning smoked salmon begin! Your taste buds will thank you.