These savory Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends is made with rich and succulent salmon that is expertly fused with a bold smokiness and the captivating sweetness of maple bourbon glaze.
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I love making smoked salmon burnt ends for just about any occasion. My guests will attest to the fact that this appetizer is almost always on the table when they arrive. I haven’t met many people who don’t love it. We started out making our own maple bourbon glaze, and as soon as we put it on salmon we knew we had a winner.
Salmon is a great option for burnt ends because it’s healthy and enjoyed by most people. It takes on a lot of flavor from the smoker, too. You’ll likely find it to be pretty addicting, like we do.
What are Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends?
Smoked salmon burnt ends are when you take pieces of marinated salmon and cook them with smoke to make them taste smoky and delicious. They get a bit crispy on the outside and stay soft on the inside. Then 15 minutes before they are done we coat them with homemade maple bourbon glaze to make them taste even more delicious.
- Salmon Filet – Skin and bones removed.
- Brown Sugar – I use a light brown sugar that has a mild sweet caramel flavor.
- Salt -You might also taste the dish once it’s done cooking and add more to suit your taste.
- Honey – Use any honey brand you like. I even sometimes use hot honey for a little kick.
- Maple Bourbon Glaze – We make our own glaze and have our own recipe for you to use. If you prefer you could use store bought.
- Smoker – I use a Z Grills 700 series smoker for most of my smoking, though I also have a Traeger grill. You can use whatever smoker you have – they all work the same.
- Wood pellets – There are many types of pellets available. If you’ve already got pellets in your smoker, use whatever you have. I really like Hickory pellets.
- Meat thermometer – Many smokers have a thermometer built in, but if yours doesn’t, get an instant-read thermometer. I love this Thermapen.
What Smokers We Use
Did you know that Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill? The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking. You can use any type of wood pellets you like. See the Traeger Series 22 Grill on Amazon.
How to Make Salmon Burnt Ends
Cut the salmon into bite-sized cubes. Place the pieces in a food-safe bag or bowl. Add the brown sugar and salt. Toss or massage the salmon gently to incorporate. Drizzle on the honey.
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator.
Preheat your smoker or grill to 250° F and add pellets to the hopper. We like apple wood for smoking salmon.
Take the salmon pieces out of the marinade and blot to dry with a paper towel.
Place the pieces on a baking pan that can go in the smoker/grill. Put the pan in the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for about 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the salmon is 120° F.
Glaze the salmon with the maple bourbon glaze.
Continue smoking for about 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 135° F.
What Temperature Should Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends Be Smoked At?
Smoked salmon burnt ends are typically smoked at a temperature of around 250°F This temperature allows the salmon to slowly absorb the smoky flavors while maintaining its tender texture. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of the salmon as well, aiming for an internal temperature of around 135°F.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke Salmon Burnt Ends?
These burnt ends will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to be fully done. Though this can depend on the size of your salmon cubes, the bigger the cubes the longer they will take to cook.
Monitor the burnt ends with an internal thermometer and when they reach 135° F they will be done. Make sure not to overcook them because they will lose their texture and not taste as good.
Additional Helpful Tips
- Cut the salmon fillet into uniform cubes for consistent cooking.
- Fruit woods like apple or cherry impart a milder, pleasant smokiness that complements salmon.
- Accompany the dish with flavorful dips like a cucumber-dill yogurt sauce or a zesty citrus aioli.
- Avoid frequent opening of the smoker’s lid to maintain a steady cooking temperature.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, ensuring they remain fresh and flavorful.
To reheat if you’re in a hurry, use the microwave. Place the salmon cubes in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.
Or you can use the oven, preheat your oven to 350° F. Place the salmon cubes on a baking sheet and reheat for about 5-7 minutes until warmed through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen salmon for this recipe?
Yes, you can use frozen salmon, but it’s recommended to thaw it in the refrigerator before brining and smoking for best results.
Can I freeze leftover Salmon Burnt Ends?
Yes, you can freeze them. Allow the smoked salmon cubes to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
How can I prevent the salmon from sticking to the smoker grates?
Use a non-stick cooking spray on the grates or place the salmon cubes on a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent sticking.
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Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends
- 1 pound (454 g) salmon filet skin and bones removed
- 1/4 cup (55 g) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons (18 g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) maple bourbon glaze
- Cut the salmon into bite-sized cubes. Place the pieces in a food-safe bag or bowl. Add the brown sugar and salt. Toss or massage the salmon gently to incorporate. Drizzle on the honey.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the salmon from the refrigerator.
- Preheat your smoker or grill to 250° F and add pellets to the hopper. We like apple wood for smoking salmon.
- Take the salmon pieces out of the marinade and blot to dry with a paper towel.
- Place the pieces on a baking pan that can go in the smoker/grill. Put the pan in the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for about 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the salmon is 120° F.
- Glaze the salmon with the maple bourbon glaze. Continue smoking for about 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 135° F.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
Angie is a dedicated grilling aficionado who has experimented with a wide variety of techniques, equipment, and ingredients, to discover the endless possibilities of flavors and textures that grilling can achieve.