In Alaska everyone has their own smoked salmon recipe and technique. Some like a wet brine, some like a dry brine, some like it salty, some don't, ect, ect, ect.
Well here on the farm I've simplified my technique down to the bare essentials. I prefer to do a dry cure on my salmon. I use a 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of white sugar, and a 1/4 of salt for my cure and you can enlarge that ratio to as much as you need. I mix everything in a big bowl and then whisk it together to thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Then I lay my salmon out in Pyrex dishes or whatever high walled tray I can find. I then pile my cure on top and the sides. Then cover and put in the fridge. I usually let my salmon cure between 12 and 24 hours. Be careful not to let it cure too long or you might lose too much moisture. After the salmon has cured the trays will be full of a goopy syrupy liquid. That's all the water that's been pulled out of the fish.
Next we wash the salmon off and put it out on racks to dry.
I usually add a fan to add in this. After a couple of hours the pellicle will form. The pellicle is a thin membrane that forms on the surface of the fish and will absorb the smokey flavor, or so I've been told. I got it from Alton Brown on Good Eats. But the salmon will be sticky to the touch when it's ready.
Next lay out our toppings if you want to smoke the fish with toppings on. I love smoking the salmon with topping on because the toppings take on the smokey flavor as well. I find the jalapenos are super tasty after a good smoke. Other topping I like are garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and, roasted red peppers. I also leave some plain. Later I'll add some sweet chili sauce or Sirachi's hot sauce to the salmon when I vac pack it. I also like to leave a few piece plain just to enjoy as well.
Then they go into the smoker. I have a Little Chief that I literally have turned black from all the smoking I've done in it. I usually go two to three pans of chips or about 8 hours of smoking. I check the fish regularly and move trays around in the smoker, getting some of the bigger pieces closer to the heat if they need it.
When it's all said and done you get this beautiful deep dark red smoke salmon. I prefer sockeye for smoking, but all species smoke up well and so does trout and halibut. After I let the salmon cool for an hour or two I usually vac pack most of my batch. Especially if I know I'm not going to eat it for awhile. The vac packing also helps to let the meat really soak in the flavors you've added. It'll keep in the fridge for weeks and the freezer for months.
And there you go Nunaka Valley Farms secret smoke salmon recipe. Not really all that hard and you can always tweak recipe. Some people love to add spices to their cure and rubs. I recommend trying and trying and trying till you find something that's just right. Because to be honest if your careful not to over salt the fish it's really hard to mess up.