Get your grill out, ’cause we’re making the best Hot Smoked Salmon with some Pendleton Rye Whisky. It’s an epic recipe that merges three favorites: an Old-Fashioned cocktail, BBQ seasoning, and succulent salmon with a flaky texture.

Post Sponsored by Pendleton Whisky.

Hot Smoked Salmon with a Whisky Chipotle Glaze

The final result of this culinary combo? Sweet, spicy, and smoky decadent goodness in every bite. This hot smoked salmon recipe is a variation of my Bourbon Bacon Pecan Salmon recipe. However, this time around the garlic and chipotle kick up the smoky flavor a notch or two.

Why am I recommending Pendleton Whisky? If you know, you know. And if you don’t know, then you should soon find out! Pendleton Whisky is distilled in Western Canada with glacier-fed spring water sourced from Mt. Hood, Oregon. With its exceptionally smooth texture and rich, complex flavor profile, I always keep a bottle of Pendleton Whisky in my cabinet. 

Why You’ll Love Hot-Smoked Salmon

To clarify, this is not a traditional cold smoked salmon recipe made in the Traeger Smoker. We’ll use a grill and a higher temperature so that the salmon cooks for only about 20 minutes on the grill grates. The smoke flavor in the cooking process comes from the chipotle and the fruit wood chips we’ll throw in the grill.

The hot smoked salmon is planked by orange slices.

Besides the short cooking time, Hot Smoked Salmon is always a great idea for special occasions or easy weeknight dinners. Salmon doesn’t need a long time to cook so it’s perfect for summer nights when you’re not in the mood to spend hours standing by the grill. 

Overall, wild salmon with flavor love from the barbecue seasoning and the Pendleton Rye Whisky chipotle glaze is so freakin’ delicious. Each bite is rich, flavorful and memorable!

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Delicious Smoked Salmon Recipe Ingredients

  • Full Side of Salmon – The best type of salmon is always a personal preference. Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific Northwest is my favorite, however, Atlantic salmon, farm-raised salmon or even sockeye salmon are fine. Choose whichever one you think is the better choice and season it with your favorite BBQ rub.

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  • Whisky Chipotle Glaze – A tantalizing blend of Pendleton Rye Whisky, maple syrup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, Chipotle puree and sesame seeds creates a sticky, flavorful coating for the salmon.
  • Oranges – Sliced navel oranges serve as a natural “plank” for the salmon during cooking, imparting another Old-Fashioned-inspired touch.

With its tantalizing blend of flavors and easy preparation, Hot Smoked Salmon is sure to become a favorite recipe in your culinary arsenal. You’ll savor every bite of the smoky sweet goodness! 

How to Make the Best Salmon on the Grill 

First, let’s get started by firing up the grill. Preheat it to medium-high heat, aiming for around 350 degrees F.

Whisky Glaze for Hot Smoked Salmon

Next, once the grill is heated up, place a cast iron skillet over the high-heat side. Toss in your minced garlic and let it sizzle and brown for about 2 minutes. Then comes the fun. Deglaze the skillet with Pendleton Rye Whisky and let it simmer for another 2 minutes. 

The Whisky Chipotle Glaze gets thick and sticky

Next, it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients for the sweet and spicy whiskey glaze. Let everything simmer away over the flames until it thickens up, usually about 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, stir it often, and if it starts bubbling too high, just pull the skillet off the flames for a bit. Once it’s nice and thick, let it cool down for a few minutes to room temperature.

Glazing the salmon is a great way to add more flavor to the dish. If this specific glaze isn’t doing it for ya, check out the glazes I use in my Bourbon Bacon Pecan Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon or Honey Mustard and Chili Baked Salmon for other options.


While the glaze is cooling off, let’s prep the surface of the salmon. With the skin side down, generously season the top of the salmon with the BBQ Rub and set it aside. 

The top of the salmon is covered with the spicy whiskey glaze

Go ahead and grab those sliced oranges and then arrange them on the cooler side of the grill as a plank. You may have seen me use this technique before in the Planked Salmon recipe. This is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon because it’s a simple and easy way to add flavor, plus it ensures the salmon won’t stick to the grill.

Carefully lay the seasoned salmon on top of the oranges. Next up, slather the salmon generously with that delicious Whisky Chipotle Glaze. Make sure to cover every inch with that sticky and flavorful sauce. 

The vibrant and spicy whiskey glaze covers the salmon.

Grilling Hot Smoked Salmon

Close the grill lid and let it work its magic, cooking indirectly at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 135-145 degrees F. To check the temperature, make sure to use an instant-read thermometer. 

Once the salmon is done, carefully take it off the grill and sprinkle on some chopped chives and a few extra sesame seeds for good measure. All that’s left to do is serve up each piece of salmon. Lastly, enjoy every bite of that hot smoked salmon goodness!

Hot Smoked Salmon is flaky, spicy, and tasty.

For other fun salmon recipes, check out how to make Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends or even Salmon Wrapped Shrimp! Baked Wood Plank Salmon is another classic that’s easy to cook and so freakin’ delicious!

What to Serve with Fresh Salmon

Hot Smoked Salmon pairs well with many of your favorite sides. I’m thinking grilled vegetables, a fresh green salad, or garlic-infused mashed potatoes. For drinks, make a classic Pendleton Old Fashioned cocktail, because, of course, it’s the perfect complement. See the quick and easy recipe below. 

If you love seafood as much as me, check out the latest post about how to make a Grilled Seafood Platter.

Pendleton Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Firstly, fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with a handful of ice cubes. Secondly, pour in 2 ounces of Pendleton Whisky. Next, add a quarter ounce of simple syrup. Then, add two dashes of Angostura bitters before stirring or shaking vigorously for about 30 seconds. Finally, strain the concoction into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist. 

Pendleton Whisky Old Fashioned

Leftovers & Reheating

If you happen to have a lot of salmon left over, first let it cool down. Then, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To reheat, warm the salmon over the grill tucked inside some aluminum foil at a low temperature for about 10-12 minutes. Leftover cold salmon is great on salads or in creamy pasta dishes. 

FAQs for Hot Smoked Salmon

Can I use a different type of whisky for the glaze?

While Pendleton Rye Whisky offers the best results for this salmon recipe, feel free to experiment with other spirits like bourbon. 

Can I use a different method to cook the salmon fillet? 

Absolutely! If you don’t have a grill yet, you can achieve tasty results by baking the salmon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 14-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Can I adjust the spiciness of the glaze?

Yes, to do so, you only need to adjust the amount of Chipotle puree or simply leave it out. 

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All the major tastes—salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami—are explored in depth, along with an investigation of other components you should consider when it comes to flavor, such as aroma, heat, and texture.

Hot Smoked Salmon with a Whisky Chipotle Glaze

Hot Smoked Salmon

My Hot Smoked Salmon recipe features a Whisky Chipotle Glaze made with the finest Pendleton Rye Whisky.
Author:Derek Wolf
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people



  • 1 Whole Side of Salmon
  • ¼ cup BBQ Seasoning
  • 4-5 Navel Oranges sliced
  • Chopped Chives for garnish

Whisky Chipotle Glaze:

  • 3 oz of Pendleton Rye Whisky
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp of Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle Puree
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds


  • Preheat a two zone medium-high heat fire (around 350F).
  • Add a cast iron skillet over the high heat side of the side. Add your minced garlic to brown for 2 minutes, then deglaze with Pendleton Rye Whisky and let simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the rest of the ingredients for the Whisky Glaze and let simmer over the flames until thickened (about 4-5 minutes). Make sure to stir it often, and pull the skillet off the flames if you see it start to bubble too high. Let it cool, then add it back to the flames and keep stirring. Once the glaze has thickened, pull it off and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Generously season your salmon with BBQ Rub and set to the side.
  • Add all your sliced oranges to the cool side of the grill to create a “plank” for your salmon to lay on.
  • Place the salmon on top of the oranges and slather in the Whisky Chipotle Glaze. Thoroughly cover the top of the salmon with the glaze.
  • Close your grill lid and cook indirect at 350F for 15-20 minutes until it reaches 135-145F internal.
  • When the salmon is done, pull it off and garnish with chopped chives and more sesame seeds. Serve with a Pendleton Old Fashioned and enjoy!


Pendleton Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with a handful of ice cubes. Pour in 2 ounces of Pendleton Whisky. Next, add a quarter ounce of simple syrup. Then, add two dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir or shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain the concoction into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist. 


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 291mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 3mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

4.50 from 2 votes

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