Smoked Salmon with Wicked Winona

Paula: Like most of us, I’m all about thrifty and time efficient shopping these days. In an effort to limit trips to the store, I’m trying to “cook ahead” for the days ahead. Why grill four chicken thighs when you can cook 12, for example, and have the following day’s Taco Night taken care of?

Scott: And tacos with all their inherent variety are such a good format for repurposing leftovers whether it’s last night’s chicken thighs or a picked-over pork shoulder.

Paula: Along those lines, I rarely buy individual portions of salmon. It’s much more satisfying to grill-smoke an entire side, which results in a show-stealing lunch or brunch centerpiece (especially served with new potatoes and a big salad). As a bonus, the tasty leftovers provide plenty of inspiration for the days that follow.

Scott: Smoked salmon dip is an absolute summer staple. Everyone loves it when you show up to a dinner party with salmon dip, or just stay home and enjoy it with a glass of wine and a Netflix movie, as it were.

Paula: At our place, smoked salmon topped bagels, found its way into scrambled eggs, and my favorite--a fantastic spread (combined with mayo, lemon zest and juice, scallions, your fresh herbs and a dash of hot sauce). Triscuits have never had it so good.

Smoked Salmon with Wicked Winona

Serves 4 to 6, with delicious leftovers

  • One 4-pound skin-on side of salmon, pinbones removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Wicked Winona
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon, thinly sliced
  • Fresh herb sprigs, such as dill, parsley, or thyme
  • Flaky salt, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Measure out two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil that are 12 inches longer than the salmon and place them on a rimless baking sheet. Place the salmon skin-side down on the foil, drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat and season with Wicked Winona (use your fingers to spread the seasonings and oil evenly over the flesh). Top the salmon with the lemon slices and herb sprigs, and set aside to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the grill.

Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, clean the grill. Use tongs to remove the cooking grate and place a drip pan with 1 inch of warm water on the side with no coals, and add a few wood chunks to the periphery of the fire. Return the cooking grate to its position, close the grill and vent for smoking.  

When the fire begins to produce a steady stream of smoke, carefully slide the foil and fish off the baking sheet and onto the grill over indirect heat. Close the grill, vent the grill for smoking, and smoke for 25 to 30 minutes; be sure to rotate the fish as needed to ensure even cooking. When the salmon is cooked (it will feel just firm and flake easily with a fork), carefully slide the foil and salmon back onto the baking sheet and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. 

Garnish the salmon with a light sprinkling of flaky salt and serve with lemon wedges. Refrigerate the leftovers in a sealed container for up to 4 days.


Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.

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