Sweet and Smoky Grilled Salmon

August 10, 2020 Updated: August 10, 2020

Sweet and Smoky Grilled Salmon

Flavor your fish with a mouthwatering marinade before grilling it to perfection. The unmatched flavor of salmon fresh from the sea is enhanced by garlic, lemon, brown sugar, wood smoke, and sea salt. The fish can be grilled over coals on the beach or on a barbecue.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Juice from 2 medium lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole wild salmon, filleted with the skin on

Blend the soy sauce, sugar, molasses, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture over the salmon in a shallow glass dish or gallon ziplock bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

When ready to cook, place the salmon fillets skin side down on a medium-high heat, well-greased grill. Cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, brushing with the marinade several times during grilling. Do not flip the fillets. Test doneness by flaking the fillets with a fork at their thickest part. Do not overcook.

Note: We like to place a shallow flameproof pan of wood chips on the grill over the lowest flame setting to create a bit of a smoky outdoor campfire barbecue flavor. Alder is a common hardwood used for smoking salmon; it can be purchased in pellets, chopped chunks, or sawdust at most outdoor stores or online. We also like to soak cedar planks and grill the fish right on them for a similarly natural smokiness.

Copyright 2020 by Emma Teal Laukitis and Claire Neaton. Excerpted from “The Salmon Sisters: Feasting, Fishing, and Living in Alaska” by permission of Sasquatch Books.