Hot smoked salmon with dill lemon sauce

We like to light the barbecue for a nice piece of salmon. In this case, we serve hot smoked salmon with a sauce of butter, lemon and fresh dill. This sauce is nice and sour and perfectly fits this salmon which is full of flavour.

The salmon takes some time to prepare, but virtually no work is involved. It all happens in the fridge.

If you got a whole salmon, first check whether it fits the grill. If not, just cut it to size. You can cook the leftovers separately. We do have an excellent recipe with grilled pesto salmon.

Feel with the flat of your hand whether there are any bones hidden in the salmon. If you press gently, you will feel whether there is still something hard left in the salmon. You can easily remove these with sturdy tweezers or special bone pliers.

You need to go low and slow on your grill to smoke salmon. That’s why we start with a small amount of charcoal in our kamado. We light this in the middle with one firestarter, and around it, we place chunks of smoke wood at strategic points, in this case beech.

We place the first chunk just above the glowing embers and the other two just a little further from the core. This way, we have a light smoke for at least the first 2 hours. You smoke salmon warm with a kettle temperature no higher than 75ºC (167F). At higher temperatures, the proteins are released in the salmon, solidifying as white droplets on the salmon. That won’t change the taste, but it’s not pretty.

We use different techniques to maintain a stable, low temperature with light but constant smoke around the salmon. First of all, we use the SloRoller. This device comes standard with the Kamado Joe Classic III and Big Joe and ensures that the rising air is better distributed in the kettle.

The temperature will also remain more stable with the SloRoller if you occasionally open the lid to check. And that is important because we do not want to let the temperature in the kettle shoot too high.

We placed the salmon on a cooling rack to dry. After drying, we put the rack in its entirety on the grates of the kamado. This way, you don’t have to worry that the salmon will stick to the grates, and you don’t have to use a spatula to loosen it. This also makes it easier to add some more smoke wood halfway through if necessary.

Serve this hot smoked salmon with a few pieces of bread and the butter dill sauce. It also tastes perfectly with some pasta. Are you going to make this hot smoked salmon? Let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.


  • Whole salmon with skin
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • Ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 50 grams of butter
  • 2 shallots
  • 60 ml dry white wine
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives


  1. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and sugar and place the salmon in a vacuum bag or ziplock bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  2. Remove the salmon from the bag and rinse well. Pat the salmon dry with some kitchen towel and place it uncovered in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours to dry.
  3. Prepare a grill with an indirect temperature between 65 and 70ºC (149 to 158F). Place a few chunks of smoke wood and place the salmon on the grates.
  4. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon, sprinkle some more black pepper over the salmon and close the lid.
  5. Meanwhile, you can make the sauce by melting the butter in a pan. Chop the shallots very finely and add them to the melted butter along with the wine and lemon juice.
  6. When the shallots have become soft and translucent, remove the pan from the heat and add the dill and chives.
  7. Remove the salmon from the grates when it has reached a core temperature of 55ºC (131F). This will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.
  8. Warm up the dille butter sauce and serve it with the salmon.

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