Rum-Cured & Smoked Wild Salmon


I like making this dish for large groups. It’s relatively fast and an easy way to serve many people. The recipe is for about 18 ounces (500 g) salmon, but feel free to multiply it when (like me) you are preparing a whole side of salmon. You will likely draw some oohs! and aahs! from your guests when you place an entire fish on the table. Begin preparations the evening before your big dinner party. It’s not much work, really, but the fish needs to cure overnight.


  • ½ cup (100 g) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 teaspoons (50 g) coarse sea salt
  • 18 ounces (500 g) fresh wild salmon fillet, with skin
  • ½ cup (125 ml) brown rum
  • freshly ground black pepper



Sprinkle a pinch each of the brown sugar and the salt in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Place the salmon on top, skin down. Sprinkle with the rum and the rest of the brown sugar and salt. Grind some pepper over it. Let stand at least 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove the salmon from the liquid that will have accumulated and carefully dab the fish with a paper towel. Put it on a rack in the fridge and let dry (this can take a day or a couple of hours) until you are about to sit down for dinner.


Prepare your smoker as described at left and put the fish in place to start smoking. Smoke the salmon for about 15 minutes, until tender. The thickness of your salmon will determine how long it takes for your fish to be done. Smoking a whole side of salmon will take a little longer. By “done,” I mean that the top surface of the fish will be pale, or light pink, and the center still nearly raw although no longer ice-cold.

I really like this dish with horseradish mustard and lots of green vegetables.