Today’s recipe is Hot Smoked Salmon. This is a delicious dish that works really well as an appetizer and is also great for breakfast or brunch.

Hot Smoked Salmon by Diverse Dinners

I remember the first time I had Hot Smoked Salmon, it was at Hillstone. Previously known as Houstons. I was with some family and friends on vacation in New York, at the time I lived in London. We stayed at the W Hotel in Midtown East and the weather was bad. The temperature was so terribly low, I’d never felt such cold.

The concierge recommended the restaurant and as we were too cold to care where we ate, so long as we could eat well, we hailed a cab whizzed round the few blocks to the restaurant.

While we enjoyed our comfortable surroundings we agreed on the salmon as an appetizer. It came with toasted bread and a tangy remoulade – it was flipping tasty.

Today’s recipe is much like the Hillstone version, no fuss, just simple. One half side of salmon, brushed with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt. I also brushed the salmon with Ardberg Scotch, described as a peaty Scotch, which has a wonderfully smokey taste. A peaty Scotch is often rather expensive and as it is not a vital ingredient, I would skip it if this is your first go at making Hot Smoked Salmon.

Do you want to learn more about peaty Scotch? Do you want to use it for this recipe? Buy any one of the cheapest versions mentioned in the article below.

You’ll need a charcoal grill for this recipe, and you will need some charcoal briquettes and apple wood chips or bricks. The fish should be placed on heavy duty foil, or on top of a foil tray placed upside down to allow the smoke to penetrate the salmon easily.

The result is a fine piece of fish, full of flavor and emanating a smokey aroma.

Hot Smoked Salmon by Diverse Dinners

This dish will serve at least 8 people, but due to its richness will likely serve 12. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fab dish as an appetizer, and will be the star of a tasty brunch. If you want to serve as part of a dinner, keep the meal simple, and serve with asparagus or salad.

Hot Smoked Salmon

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours


  • 3 lb whole side salmon fillet
  • 1/4 cup peaty Scotch
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Equipment & Utensils

  • Apple wood chips or chunks
  • Large aluminum baking tray or Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Basting brush
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Charcoal grill
  • Large fish spatula


  • Soak apple wood in water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place salmon in baking tray skin side down, and brush with Scotch, then pour the remainder over the salmon.
  • Brush salmon with extra virgin olive oil, then place in the fridge uncovered for at 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Once the salmon has become dry to the touch, remove from the fridge.
  • Light briquettes and let them heat until they become ashy.
  • You will be cooking using the indirect heat method so tip equal amounts of hot briquettes on the left and right side under the cooking grate.
  • Add chips or chunks on top of briquettes and replace cooking grate.
  • Drag salmon out of baking tray onto a fish safe surface, then tip out excess liquid from baking tray left behind.
  • Place the baking tray upside down and then place the salmon on top and sprinkle with salt. Alternatively, you can use foil, if you have trouble fitting your fillet on the baking tray.
  • Place on top of the cooking grate and cover the grill.
  • You should make sure your grill has medium airflow to allow the smoke to emanate.
  • Keep your grill at a steady 250 fahrenheit and cook for approx. 1 hour.
  • Once salmon begins to flake, remove using a large fish spatula, allow to rest for 5-10 mins before serving.