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Smoked Chili Cured King Salmon with Citrus Wild Blueberry Sauce

Smoked Chili Cured King Salmon with Citrus Wild Blueberry Sauce

  • 4 skin-on, center-cut wild king or other salmon fillets (2 1/2 pounds total)
  • Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked chili mix such as Ancho or Chipotle mixed with all or any of the following: Garlic powder, Thyme, Oregano, Fennel Seeds
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • Wood Chips for Smoking (Recipe is also delicious without the smoking step)


  1. Pat fish dry with paper towels and generously oil salmon. In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, spices, and zest. Generously Rub mixture all over fish. Place in a dish, cover and let cure in the fridge for at least 4 hours to 6 hours. Brush off brine from fillets but do not rinse. The fillets will create a wet sauce with the remainder of the brine which will help with grilling.
  2. Light the grill. Once coals are hot, scatter drained hickory chips over coals. (If you’re using a gas grill, place them in a disposable metal pan on the grill next to the salmon.)
  3. Place salmon flesh side down on grill and cover, closing top vent, so not much smoke is released. Smoke salmon, covered, for about 5 to 6 minutes, then flip. (If the fish is sticking to the grill grate, then it’s not ready to flip. Cook for another 3 to 10 minutes, depending upon how hot your fire is. The fish is done when the interior is medium pink and exterior crisp and smoky.

Wild Blueberry Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1½ cups frozen wild blueberries

3 tablespoons agave or Honey

Zest of half a lemon

1/8 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Pinch salt

Dash of Heavy Cream

A few leaves of fresh chopped thyme, or Oregano optional


Place the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until well combined. Place the wild blueberries, cornstarch mixture, agave or Honey, lemon zest, fresh ginger, salt, and thyme/Oregano as desired in a small saucepan and stir well to combine.   2. Place the blueberry mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, frequently stirring, until thickened and heated through about 5 minutes. Finish with a Dash of cream. This should not be a sweet dessert sauce; the blueberries accent the earthiness of the salmon. A few fresh blueberries can be added at the end if a bit chunkier sauce is desired.

Recipe by: Sharon LaTulippe, Regional Culinary Specialist – Florida/Alabama/Oklahoma, Sagora Senior Living

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