Smoked Salmon Nuggets

There is nothing like smoked salmon. Ever since I bought my Bradley smoker, I regularly smoke salmon.

The other day, I was walking in a Walmart and saw that they were selling smoked salmon nuggets in the freezer section. Thinking these would be a great bite size party snack, I immediately bought a whole fillet of salmon to make my own. Labour Day weekend was a couple days away and I knew that these would be a massive hit.

Worried that they might dry out, I was very delicate with the smoking time and temperature. In the end, they turned out incredible and I will most definitely be making these many more times in the future. The only advice I would give. Make lots!!

These bite size beauties are so tasty. If you put them out at a party, be prepared for them to go extremely quickly!

The dry brine is made of brown sugar, salt and spices. It is important to brine the salmon long enough but make sure that they are not brined too long. If they sit in the brine much longer than 8 hours, there is a good chance they will come out of the smoker too salty. Also, make sure the brine is washed off completely. Use cold water and get all of the brine off. Any brine left on will likely make the salmon too salty.

Place the salmon in a cool dry place so that a nice pellicle can form on the outer layer of the salmon. A pellicle is the dry layer that surrounds the salmon which helps in smoking and keeps the moisture from the salmon

Place the salmon nuggets in the smoker and smoke for 4 hours. Start at 120F and increase by 20F after each hour.

Serve these nuggets with a cream cheese dip. Make the dip by beating cream cheese with a little bit of milk. Slowly add milk until it forms a creamy texture that can be dipped. Stir in some chives or other fresh herbs.

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5 from 3 votes

Smoked Salmon Nuggets

These salmon nuggets are the perfect bite size party snack. Easy recipe for this fish. Serve with a cream cheese dip and brush with a honey ginger glaze.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, salmon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brine Time 6 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steve Cylka


  • 4 pounds fresh whole salmon fillets
  • 6 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp ground ground garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp ground onion powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne


  • Carefully cut the skin off the salmon and wash the fish thoroughly. Pat it dry with a paper towel and cut the salmon into 1 inch cubes.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients together to make the dry brine. Toss the salmon cubes in the dry brine making sure that all sides of the salmon cubes are coated in the brine. Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove the salmon from the fridge and wash the brine off the cubes using cold water. Make sure the cubes are washed thoroughly so that they do not come out too salty.
  • Lay the cubes on a flat surface (cookie sheet, smoker racks, etc.) ensuring they are not touching each other. Let the salmon cubes dry and form a nice pellicle surface on them. Use a fan, if possible, to circulate the air.
  • Set the smoker for 120F and, using alder wood pucks (or wood of choice), place the salmon cubes in the smoker. Smoke for 4 hours increasing the temperature by 20F each hour. (120F for one hour, then 140F for one hour, then 160F for 1 hour, then 180F for one hour)
  • Remove from the smoker and serve with a cream cheese dip.


About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. I really like the idea of bite size nuggets. I think I’ll try that next time I smoke salmon.

  2. We don’t have a smoker, but I sure wish we did. These tasty treats look amazing!

  3. This is ah-mazing. I love salmon cooked whatever way possible but I would have never thought to make nuggets out of it. Good job!

    I want a smoker :/

  4. wow these look delicious! I love smoked salmon
    Congrats on the Courvoisier Collective win last night!

  5. We have the good fortune of having caught four huge salmon this summer and we have smoked a bunch of it. We have never done nuggets, but we certainly will next time. These look amazing! The only thing my son commented on was that you say it’s for 4 people. He thinks it looks like a single serving. 😛

  6. Hello all, I made this recipe today (4-4-14) and let me tell you that it turned out wonderful. I would only say that I was surprised at how the dry brine “shrunk” the fish cubes as I had cut them at 1.5″ X 1.5″ almost on the dot and they would fall through the racks so I lined them with tin foil and poked holes in the foil to let the smoke get through. I’d say cut them 2″ by 2″ if not 2.5 X 2.5″ and they’ll sit on there perfectly.

    Otherwise, a 10/10 recipe and one I will for certain be making again. I used 6lbs of fresh salmon and it turned out simply remarkable. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • Thanks for your note! Glad it worked out well for you! Also thanks for the word about the size. I used jerky racks and did not have that same problem. Good to know when using the original racks

      • Great result!
        I made eleven pounds of salmon “nuggets” with the idea to bring most of them as appetizers for our family Christmas gathering (produced on 12-14-15, Christmas Day 12-25-15). Any ideas on how to keep them between now and then? Freeze them? Refrigerate them? Heat them just before serving? Not heat them before serving? Any practical suggestions welcome!

  7. Was in a fishing derby with friends this past week and smoked over 80 pounds of salmon in my Bradley, I tried this recipe and was amazed by the time savings and $$ savings by not having to smoke my huge filets for hours, thanks for the tip! The recipe turned out with great reviews from friends who received a wonderful treat.

  8. I used this recipe/method last wee to smoke some salmon and halibut! Absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Great result!
    I made eleven pounds of salmon “nuggets” with the idea to bring most of them as appetizers for our family Christmas gathering (produced on 12-14-15, Christmas Day 12-25-15). Any ideas on how to keep them between now and then? Freeze them? Refrigerate them? Heat them just before serving? Not heat them before serving? Any practical suggestions welcome!

  10. Hey Black Peppercorn

    I have tasted these before and LOVE them. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on how I might be able to make these in a pellet smoker? My smoker can have a starting temp as low as 150 deg. Could I do them at a constant 150 deg for 3 hours or something like that? Any ideas you have would be great. Thanks.

  11. These were so good I almost ate them all by myself before anyone else even had a chance. I cut the pieces a little larger since only one of our racks will hold the tiny nuggets. Thanks so much!

    I hope you don’t mind, I included this recipe on a list of my favorite salmon recipes on my blog.

  12. About how long should you leave them to dry between rinsing them and smoking them? Looking forward to trying this recipe next week!

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