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Barbecue Salmon

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
25 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

I love this recipe because it's quick and I know I have about three meals built into one simple preparation. I often add it to pasta, or I'll make serve it with a simple greens or potato salad. There are plenty of things to do with leftover salmon!

Technique tip: Bring the salmon to room temperature for even cooking. Leaving skin on gives more flavor.

Swap option: Store bought barbecue rub works great, just be sure there's sugar as an ingredient. If not, add sugar until the rub tastes like barbecue potato chip flavoring.


  • 1 4-5 pound side of salmon, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, mesquite
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar


For the salmon:

Place the salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil or a cedar plank. In a zigzag motion drizzle the liquid smoke over the flesh of the salmon and brush in, let rest 5 minutes.

For the rub:

In a medium bowl stir the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Gently pour the seasoning blend over the entire top of the salmon patting it into the flesh evenly. Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

To cook and serve:

Preheat oven or grill to 300°F. Drizzle olive oil over the salmon. Cook until medium rare, about 20-25 minutes, depending on size of salmon.