Smoked West Australian Salmon

Local West Australian salmon has a bad reputation. While it is seen as a good game fish it is not one people chase to put on their plates. It is not known as a good eating fish. The salmon are running (or have been running) this time of year and the beaches are full of eager fisherfolk trying to catch them. We were fortunate enough to be gifted with a large fillet of freshly caught West Australian salmon and wanted to try a bourbon cured and smoked salmon, WA style.


Bourbon Cured and Smoked West Australian Salmon



  • Salmon fillet (deboned and skin off, dark red flesh removed)


  • ¾ brown sugar
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • water



  • While the salmon was very fresh and had been treated appropriately I carefully removed any dark red flesh from it. The salmon was washed and patted dry. This gets rid of any excess fishiness. The salmon was then cut into several portions for easy handling.
  • To cook this salmon was a two part process. Firstly, it was given a bit of time curing in a brine. The brine was made by mixing the sugar, salt, pepper and bourbon in a large flat container. The fish was placed in the container – add water so the fish is covered. The fish was allowed to cure for 4 hours. The flesh was noticeably firmer afterwards.
  • The smoker was fired with a small amount of charcoal and a chunk of Applewood and allowed to reach 225F. The fish was placed in the smoker and cooked until the internal temperature reached 145f which took about an hour.

Salmon ready to be smoked with that chunk of apple wood

  • The salmon was served with a raisin polenta, asparagus and a Sriracha aioli.
  • The overall flavour of the salmon was great – it was lightly smoked with a kick from the bourbon cure. The WA salmon is a stronger flavoured fish than its Atlantic cousins, which in this case complemented the smoke and stronger cure. Now I just need to convince more people to drop off fish for me to try smoking 🙂

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