Smoked Salmon – Walnut Ridge Pinot Noir

One of my favorite jobs is working with LaVelle Vineyards in developing recipes to pair with their wine releases.  Not only do I get to learn about the many nuances of wine but I get to experiment with an outstanding product.  Smoked salmon traditionally pairs well with most pinot noir wines but this recipe was developed especially for the 2008 Walnut Ridge release.

Pinot Noir Smoked Salmon


  • 2 cups pinot noir
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Morton’s Tender Quick
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-4 pounds fresh salmon


1.  Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved.
2.  Cut fish to desired size (smaller pieces will have more smoke taste and smoke faster).
3.  Submerge fish in brine skin side down on the bottom layer, meat side down on the next layer.  Repeat layering skin to skin, meat to meat.
4.  Place a weighted plate on top of the fish to fully submerge fillets.
5.  Soak fish in brine 3 1/2 hours.
6.  Place on racks and air dry 1-2 hours, or until a firm pellicle forms.
7.  Smoke 5 to 8 hours, depending on smoker type, volume of meat and outside temperature.

Suggested smoke chip flavors – apple or cherry.

For more information on smoking salmon, check out my book, “Smoking Salmon & Steelhead.”

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