Hot-Smoked, Steamed, Lemon Pepper Salmon

  • Servings: 4-5
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When you feel like you don’t have enough adjectives


-one 1.5-2-pound salmon side

-two tablespoons of lemon pepper

-two tablespoons of olive oil

-one 4-ounce wood chunk of your choice

-one lemon

-one liter of water in a pan

-one chimney of charcoal


  1. Rinse off your salmon filet and remove any pin bones. Slice into roughly half-pound sections (or larger, if you’re hungry or don’t like sharing).
  2. Rub the filets with olive oil on both sides. Liberally season with lemon pepper or your favorite fish rub.
  3. Set up grill for indirect heat (place coals on one side). Pre-heat grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, using about 1 chimney’s worth of coals. Boil water in a kettle or pot and then add to water pan to the side without coals (or directly on top if you don’t have a slow n’ sear). Add a woodchunk of your choice to coals and wait until blue smoke emerges.
  4. Place salmon on indirect heat side of grill. Cook until salmon reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 15-20 minutes). Serve immediately. Sprinkle with additional lemon, if desired.

Salmon is good when you have too much barbecue and your cholesterol gets too high.

There’s a myriad of ways to cook salmon — pan-fried, steamed, grilled, poached, broiled, baked and so on. This recipe uses a combination of steaming and baking to get your perfectly cooked while also adding a nice smokey flavor.

Big Fish.

I used farm-raised salmon for this particular cook. It was about half the price of the wild salmon at Harris Teeter (I’m poor). The farm-raised versus wild debate has been a major contention in the past, mainly over safety and environmental issues. You can generally tell farm-raised and wild salmon apart by their color and taste. Wild salmon is a bit more lean and red; farm-raised is generally more pink and has more fat.

Lemoning that pepper.

I prefer to use lemon pepper (it’s in the name). It’s probably the most simple way to flavor fish — most lemon pepper mixes have salt included so it’s unnecessary to add any more. Feel free to use whatever rub or marinade you prefer. I used a rub my friend Laura got me from the Bahamas. I coated the fish with olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill.

Look at my grillz.

For this recipe, I basically ignored all the warnings that my smoke n’ sear came with and boiled the water in the water pan on the side (probably over potential liability that the scalding water could burn you). The steam will keep the fish from drying out and makes it easier to prevent overcooking.

I took the fish off at about 140 degrees, though that’s really personal preference. 145 is considered safe by the FDA. Carry over should have brought the temperature up that high. If your prefer your salmon seared a bit on the outside, move your filets over to the hot side of the grill at around 125-130 degrees for just a minute or two.

Probably needs more lemon.

I really like lemon, so I added some wedges.

I actually asked my friend what he thought about this recipe. He said: “It was tasty. I enjoyed eating a large amount of it.” So there you have it.


  1. “It was tasty. I enjoyed eating a large amount of it.” That’s a Mitchell quote if I ever heard one…One quick point of critique though. Your ingredients suggested two tablespoons of lemon pepper. May I suggest trying it with eight? In my experience that really brings out the lemon and the pepper flavorings, allowing them to swirl into a concoction of glory in every bite.

  2. Looks magical! You manage to make me hungry even after I just ate.

    Also, I’d have never guessed that you really like lemon :p

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