Smoked Candy Salmon

Video smoked candy salmon

The Perfect Travel Food

Smoked salmon candy, also known as “Indian candy,” used to be a go-to meal for travelers dealing with limited cooking options. The texture of this delicacy can range from moist and tender to slightly dry and chewy, depending on your cooking preference.

Improved Recipe

Over the years, feedback on the recipe has led to some adjustments. The biggest change is the reduction in salt content. The new recipe uses only my original rub for the dry brining/marinating process, as it contains minimal salt. If you find that it needs more salt for your taste, feel free to add kosher salt, but be cautious, as it can quickly become overly salty. Keep track of the amount you add for future reference.

Preparation and Cooking Time

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Brine Time: 12 hours or overnight
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 120/140/160°F (49/60/71°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F (63°C)
  • Recommended Wood: Apple or Alder


  • 2-3 lb filet of salmon
  • ~2 cups of Jeff’s original rub
  • ¾ cup Real Maple syrup

Quality Matters

If possible, use fresh, wild-caught salmon for the best flavor and quality. While store-bought salmon is an option, the taste won’t match the superior freshness of wild-caught fish.

To begin, rinse the salmon with cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the filet skin side down on a cutting board.

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Salmon Preparation

You can cut the salmon to your desired width. I recommend 1-inch slices.

Sliced Salmon
Sliced Salmon

Some prefer to remove the skin before slicing, but it’s easier to remove it from smaller pieces. Use a sharp knife to separate the meat from the skin by gliding the blade between the two.

Skin Removal

To ensure the salmon is free of any unwanted elements, rinse it again under cold water. Place the rinsed slices on a paper towel to drain.

Rinsed Salmon

Dry Brining for Flavorful Results

Dry brining, a simple but effective technique, involves sprinkling salt (preferably kosher salt) on the meat. The salt attracts moisture from the meat, creating a flavorful slurry that is later reabsorbed.

While my rub is already low in salt, it still accomplishes the dry brining process perfectly for this fish. Each layer of rub draws out the moisture, infusing the meat with delicious flavors.

How to Dry Brine

In a brining bowl, spread a layer of the original rub on the bottom. Lay the salmon pieces on top of the rub. Add another layer of rub with each new layer of salmon. Cover the container with a lid and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

Brining Process
Layered Salmon
Rub Layers
Brined Salmon

After about 4 hours, you might notice a liquid slurry forming at the bottom of the bowl. Give the fish a gentle stir to ensure it is well coated. After 12 hours in the fridge, the fish will have a firm texture and a wonderful aroma.

Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any excess rub. The flavors have already infused the fish, so what remains on the surface is unnecessary. Additionally, it’s crucial to dry the fish before smoking, as a drier surface yields better results.

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Place the rinsed fish on a rack, preferably with a pan beneath it, and let it dry in the fridge. This method ensures optimum safety.

Drying Process
Rack Setup
Connected Racks
Drying in Fridge

Drying the fish has multiple benefits. Firstly, it forms a pellicle, a protective skin that prevents the white protein called albumin from cooking out. Albumin not only keeps the fish moist during cooking but also enhances its flavor. Secondly, drying the fish for 2-4 hours gives it a tacky texture and a translucent appearance.

Dried Salmon

Let the Smoking Begin

After drying and allowing the pellicle to form, it’s time to smoke the fish. Winter is an ideal season for smoking fish, as the low smoking temperature of 120-160°F (49-71°C) can be easily maintained. If your smoker struggles to reach 225°F (107°C), no worries! The lower temperatures required for this recipe will work in your favor.

Start the smoker at 120°F (49°C) and wait until it stabilizes before placing the salmon in. Lay the salmon candy directly on the grate or use racks if available. To prevent sticking, consider brushing a little olive oil on the bottom of the fish.

Smoking Process
Smoker Setup

The smoking time depends on the thickness of the fish and desired dryness. After 3-4 hours, start testing for doneness. Record the time it takes, so you have a reference for future batches.

For a 1-inch thick fish, I maintained the following smoker temperatures:

  • 2 hours at 120°F (49°C)
  • 2 hours at 140°F (60°C)
  • 2 hours at 160°F (71°C)

If your smoker’s lowest temperature is 160°F (71°C), adjust accordingly, knowing that the fish will finish sooner.

Sweet and Spicy Finish

To achieve the perfect sweet and spicy layer on the outside, mix ¾ cup of maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of my original rub. Brush this mixture onto the salmon every hour, starting at the 1-hour mark. Depending on the amount of salmon and your generosity with the mixture, you might need to make another batch.

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Glazing Process
Glazing Process

Enjoy the Snack

Congratulations! You’ve successfully made your own smoked salmon candy. It’s a delightful treat that’s perfect for any occasion.

Final Product