Fire Roasted Salmon

  • 1 filet of salmon (2-2.5 pounds) Serves 4-6 guests depending on what else is served.

Equipment needed (for one fillet):

  • 6 Untreated cedar shims, cut to 7” lengths, soaked in water
  • 1-6’ 2”x2” redwood post with 2 holes drilled
  • 1-18” 2” x 2” redwood post with holes drilled to match the 6’ post.
  • 2’ wire (baling wire)
  • Fire pit or BBQ fired with wood

Stand for the fire stick: this can be an umbrellas stand, a hole dug in the ground, a 2.5” diameter piece of PVC pipe that is 12” long, stuck in the ground. Just like you may have seen surf fisherman use for their fishing poles.

As alternative, you can use the cedar shims and what is known as “hardware cloth”: 1/4” square holes screening. This can hold the salmon and the cedar shims and go directly on to a BBQ.

Use very fresh wild salmon (line caught). They tend to have a better flavor than the farm raised salmon. We use smaller filets, approximately 2-2.5 pounds each, with the skin kept on!! Remove the small “pin bones” from the meat with a needle-nose pliers or tweezer.

Next the fillet of salmon is marinated in a brine overnight:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 qt water
  • 2T black peppercorns (whole)
  • 1t fresh thyme
  • 3” bay leaves (yes, we measure them by inches)

Combine these ingredients and sitr until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place salmon fillet in brine and keep in refrigerator overnight.


Start a fire in your fire pit or BBQ. Use large logs and let it cook for at least 30-40 minutes to develop a good bed of coals. While this is taking place, put the salmon fillet on the redwood pole (see diagram). Make sure you spray the cedar shims with a non-stick spray before assembling. Once the salmon securely on the pole, add a few additional logs and let them flame for 5-10 minutes before placing the salmon over the fire. Place the salmon so that skin side is facing the fire and let it cook for at least 45 minutes on that side untilt he skin starts to get crisp, Turn the salmon so the skin side faces the fire for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Depending on how far from the fire you place the salmon, it can cook for 1 hour to 1.5 hours. It can hold on the stick and stay warm by the fire without overcooking for quite a while. Add logs as you go to keep an even heat for the fish.

Remove the salmon and pole from the fire, remove the fish carefully and serve immediately with a mango chutney or a white wine butter sauce (sauvignon blanc based); or you just with lemon. The subtle flavors of the fire will come through!!

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