Salmon That’s Like Candy

When I lived in British Columbia, one of my favourite things to do was have a picnic lunch with a variety of breads, cheeses, pâté and some incomparable Indian Candy Salmon. If you’ve never tried Indian Candy Salmon, you really must, if you get the chance. It is brined salmon that has been cold-smoked for up to two weeks and the end result is a type of sweet, salmon jerky.

But the hard part is that I’ve never found it outside B.C. and I don’t have the patience (or equipment) to make this myself by smoking the salmon. However, the good news is that the salmon recipe I’m going to share with you today is the closest thing I’ve found, in flavour, to Indian Candy Salmon—although it is not a precise match because it is no where near Indian Candy in terms of the “jerky” texture.

I’ve made this a number of times for guests over the past two years and it is always met with rave reviews from adults and kids alike. In fact, seven year-old Robert, a friend of the family, started calling me “Salmon Barb” after I made this on New Year’s Eve a couple years ago. I now make it for him most times we stay with his family at their cottage in Wasaga Beach because he likes it so much.

You can buy planks at gourmet food and kitchen shops, supermarkets and home improvement centres. I buy my cedar planks in packages of six at Costco, which is where I also buy my salmon. The planks are approximately 7″ x 16″ (you will need one at least this size for a 4-5 lb salmon.) There are also quite a wide range of cedar planks available on The label on the planks should say untreated and “food grade.”

Worst case scenario, you can wrap the salmon in foil and cook it on the barbeque. I do this with the small pieces that I cut off (so that the salmon fits on the plank) and they still taste great.

The K.C. Baron’s Cedar-Planked Salmon With Brown-Sugar Cure

Adapted slightly from Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuck’s Barbeque Secrets Deluxe!

  • 1 large cedar plan, soaked in water for at least one hour (the original recipe calls for hickory planks)
  • 4 to 5 lb (2.2 kg) fillet of salmon (with or without skin), pin bones removed


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning or Seafood Seasoning (recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp coursely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic

½ cup Dijon mustard

1 cup dark brown sugar


  1. Mix rub ingredients well in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Place the salmon on a baking pan or in large casserole dish. Sprinkle both sides of the fillet with half of the rub. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let it marinate or cure for 2 hours.
  3. When ready to cook salmon, remove it from the fridge.
  4. Using a pastry brush (or spoon), paint the top side of the fillet with mustard and then sprinkle on the brown sugar to coat.
  5. Preheat grill on medium-high for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 5 minutes (or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly). This step is optional – I often omit it although die-hard plankers would probably cringe at my technique.
  6. Place the salmon on the plank and cook on preheated gas grill for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish has an internal temperature of 135° (57°C).

Seafood Seasoning (if required)

  • 1 tbsp ground bay leaves
  • 2-½ celery salt
  • 1-½ tsp dry mustard
  • 1-½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and store in an airtight container.


  • I buy the salmon for this from Costco because it is great quality at a good price. It comes without the skin and still works well, although the original recipe calls a salmon fillet with skin. If your fillet does have skin, you can apply the rub to the skin in step 2 above.
  • To make a portion of this “kid-friendly” I omit the dijon mustard on a small section of the salmon and either replace it with yellow mustard or omit the mustard completely and just sprinkle on the sugar. Some kids find the dijon a bit spicy. I also reduce the black pepper in the rub to 1 tsp when serving to kids.
  • The original recipe calls for Morton Tender, which I’ve never been able to find. If available, you could replace the 2 tbsp salt with 1 tbsp Morton Tender and 2 tsp kosher salt.
  • I highly recommend Ron’s book Barbeque Secrets Deluxe! It is chock-full of tasty barbeque recipes, and Ron provides thorough details on how to barbeque like a pro.

37 Comments on “Salmon That’s Like Candy”

  1. Kristy says:

    I printed this one off before even commenting! I know we’ll be making this one. All four of us would LOVE it from the sounds of it. 🙂

  2. I love candied salmon! It’s warming up here so we’ll be outside grilling soon.. this one’s on my list!

  3. Beth says:

    Indian Candy Salmon sounds wonderful, and I’ll keep my eyes open for it. With all those raves, it must be terrific!

  4. Thanks for my own memories of Vancouver. Our annual family salmon fishing trip to Prince Rupert always yields hundreds of pounds of salmon, yielding plenty of opportunity to experiment. When I lived in Vancouver i wanted to have some smoked and discovered Classic Smokehouse, behind a piano store near the bus station who supplied Whole Foods with their fish. Most don’t take in “outside” fish, but Stuart Dalhke was supportive of the sports fisherman and let me have mine smoked. A former chef he even took the time to give me a tour of how they did both their cold and smoked fish.
    Alas when I left BC I was not able to get other fished smoked with him, nor able to convince him to share his recipe. Thanks for a great alternative, although I do still go to Whole Foods and look for his Indian Candy. I see that his business has really picked up and see his label on the vaccumed packages sold to tourists in the airport.

    • I forgot what an avid fisherwoman you are Pam! That is so great that you were able to get your own salmon smoked. I will have to see if I can get the Indian Candy at Whole Foods — although some of the vaccumed packages just aren’t as good (hopefully this one is as good as what you can get in B.C!) Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Norma Chang says:

    My kids will love this salmon. Printing off the recipe and sending it to them.

  6. Sissi says:

    Barb, the title sounds so extraordinary and luscious! I’m sure I would love this salmon preparation. I wish I had a real barbecue… (but the I would need a garden first 😉 ) I hope you are having wonderful Easter!

    • Thanks Sissi. It was a really nice long weekend for us as a family. That’s too bad that you don’t have a barbeque, but I guess that it the way it is in Europe where backyards are less common? You could always bake this in the oven in foil. It is not quite the same, but you would get the sweet-cured effect. Hope you had a nice weekend as well!

      • Sissi says:

        Thanks, Barb. I live in the city centre, in a flat (or apartment), so no chance of a garden…. I have a tiny balcony so this option is impossible too.
        Thanks for the advice! I sometimes grill things on a “grilling pan”, but of course it’s not the same… I will try the foil method.

  7. Pamela Miles says:

    What a coincidence … Andrew was requesting a ‘cedar plank’ salmon dinner this past weekend and voila, Barb came through! And the bonus is FarmBoy, our favourite healthy grocery store had a huge Atlantic salmon sale so I have stocked up. Andrew looooves Salmon. Thanks Barb for your great recipes!

  8. Charles says:

    Wow Barb – this looks just incredible… it’s posts like this which make me so jealous that I don’t have a garden I can set up BBQs and smokers and things in. I saw an interesting technique on TV of someone who filled a pan with hickory wood chips, heated them and then “smoked” the fish in the oven somehow… I could at least try that, but it’s hard to recreate the BBQ effect without a good bit of space outside so I’ll have to content myself with looking for now… it looks beautiful though – so golden!

    • Charles, you know I just didn’t think about the fact that it might not be common to have a garden area for a bbq in Europe — but of course that makes sense. You could bake this in foil in the oven — it wouldn’t be quite the same effect, but you’d get the sweet-cured flavour of the salmon. The other option is to come for a visit and we’ll have a barbeque!

  9. I’ve never had candied salmon, but it looks so good! I’m going to have to remedy that, and the idea of having it with a picnic sounds like so much fun, and so tasty. Thanks for posting this, Barb!

    • Thanks Betsy. I hope that you try it sometime. Aren’t picnics in the summer the best? I’m counting down the days until it warms up and I can put my picnic set to use!

      • Summer picnics…yes!

        In case you can’t see my response on my blog about this, you may need to click follow again, Barb, because you’ve disappeared off my follow list! And, you can find the maamool molds with a quick search by that name on the internet…there are tons of them! Okay, now you can delete this extra reply! 🙂

  10. I am on my way to find a cedar plank as this really is the secret to a yummy fillet. We actually have a BBQ on our balcony here in Hong Kong. Please Don’t tell as I do not know if we are supposed to have one or not, but we love to grill and this recipe sounds like a winner. Take care, BAM

    • BAM, of course your secret is safe with me. When I used to live in Vancouver, I had a small balcony and I always used to bbq on it, even though I don’t think we were supposed to either. It is just too hard to resist when there are so many things that taste better on the grill. Thanks for dropping by!

  11. I was lucky enough to try some of this in BC (as well as one restaurant in Montreal). It’s so unique and so sweet that there’s nothing quite like it 🙂

  12. This looks really, really good! It’s times like these that being allergic to seafood is the pits! I would LOVE to try it!

    • Oh that is too bad Ann. I didn’t realize that, but now that you mention it I don’t recall seeing seafood recipes on your blog. There are however lots of other things that you can cook on a cedar plank.

  13. Eva Taylor says:

    Wow, this looks amazing, Barb!
    We have a cold smoker that did not bust the bank! It’s called Smoke Daddy and it works great. It fits into an existing hole in the BBQ JT just had to retro fit with a new bolt. Email if you would like more info.

  14. Rachel says:

    When I started eating fish again, I totally ate brown sugared salmon to death. My version was not at all skilled, though… I would literally take a salmon fillet, put a bunch of brown sugar all over, and pop it in the microwave! I’m glad my cooking skills have come a long way since then…. but I do love that flavor combination. Adding the spices as you have would certainly bring it to a new level (and not cooking it in the microwave! What was I thinking?). YUM!

    • Hey there’s nothing wrong with simple! You know when we go to the cottage in the summer I sometimes just put brown sugar on trout or salmon (as well as the plank) because it is a pain to pack all my spices each time (we rent). I quite enjoy that too! Thanks for dropping by my site!

  15. […] back in December we had our good friends Lee and Stefan for dinner. JT and I decided to make Barb’s Salmon that’s like Candy (with a few minor alterations, will blog soon about it) with Swiss Rösti potatoes, German Red […]

  16. Liz says:

    Popping over from Eva’s…I knew this would be a terrific recipe!!!! Hope to try it when grilling weather returns 🙂

  17. A_Boleyn says:

    Also came over from Eva’s post and am drooling already. Just wish there wasn’t ANOTHER spice mix I need to buy or make as I don’t have any Old Bay. 🙂

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