Smoky Bourbon Salmon is glazed with with a brown sugar bourbon mixture, wrapped in foil and grilled to perfection.

This sweet smoky salmon fillet comes out soft, juicy, flaky and slightly smoky.

And the glaze couldn’t be more simple, using just 3 ingredients.

This is one of those dishes that I would eat on repeat if I could. With a side of BBQ’d broccoli and a carb of your choice to complete the meal! It’s smoky, but not too much, and the glaze works so well with it. For another salmon recipe you have to try my Spicy Salmon Bake. It’s all the flavors of sushi that you love but made simple for a great weeknight dinner.

But, let’s talk about the glaze a little bit more. It’s extremely easy, with very few ingredients, all you’ll need is Bourbon, brown sugar, and dried diced onions. Mix them together, coat the salmon fillet, but the flavor doesn’t stop there, friends!

salmon fillet on foil with bourbon brown sugar and chopped onion glaze on bbq grill with broccoli in foil

A bourbon glazed salmon recipe is delicious as is, but slightly smoked over hickory or mesquite….mmmmmmmm…. It elevates the flavor and creates this Smoky Bourbon Salmon that makes you crave the next bite.

When I ask my husband for input in my recipes; especially if I’m stuck on an idea – he always suggests simple, boozy dishes (haha). Hence this recipe, as well as the Stout Steamed mussels. Which both turned out spectacular!

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salmon fillet on foil with bourbon brown sugar and chopped onion glaze


  • Your favorite wood chips. We used hickory, but mesquite or oak would work great as well. I’m looking forward to trying it with different chips and seeing how it turns out. Because it’s smoked for such a short amount of time, the flavor is slightly smokey and not as robust in that specific wood, as you would typically see in smoked salmon.

  • Salmon Fillet. I used a fillet that was 12-14 oz which was enough for 2 people. This recipe is proportionate to the size fillet we used, so if you have a larger fillet, add more glaze as necessary. The smoke and the glaze work together to well, so be sure to add enough glaze.

  • Light brown sugar. You can certainly substitute this for medium brown sugar. The flavors will be slightly richer, which is a good thing for this recipe!

  • Bourbon. Any brand will do. There are tons of great Bourbon recipes you can get into if you’re not a big Bourbon drinker.

  • Dried chopped onion. Dried onions add a great amount of flavor with no added moisture, but if you don’t have access to them, you can substitute for 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.

  • Salt and pepper to taste.

salmon fillet on foil with bourbon brown sugar and chopped onion glaze


Prep the BBQ. Clean and place the charcoal on one side, so the salmon can be cooked away from direct heat.

Get foil sheets ready. I used 2 sheets, one horizontal, and one vertical. This way none of the delicious glaze ran out of the foil.

Get the Bourdon Brown Sugar Glaze ready. This part is just as easy as the rest of the steps. In a small bowl, add brown sugar and fired diced onion, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and stir in Bourbon. Set aside until you’re ready to pour it on the salmon fillet.

Prep the Salmon. Using a paper towel, pat the fillet dry to remove any moisture. The only wet ingredient we want on the salmon is bourbon! Are you getting excited to try this sweet smoky salmon?!

Then, we cook – full steps are in the recipe card below.


My favorite Air Fryer and Indoor Grill. I use this almost daily. This is a great back-up if you don’t want to make it outside to BBQ.
This air fryer has a built-in thermometer that comes in so handy for cooking seafood!

Measuring cups and spoons


  1. Place the salmon away from the fire to cook it low and slow. It’s easy to overcook bbq salmon if it’s directly on heat.
  2. Keep a close eye on the BBQ, to ensure the salmon won’t overcooked. Keeping an eye is worth it, you’ll want to remove the fillet once temperature reaches 125-135F.
  3. The reason you want to cook to salmon to 125F and not 145F is because salmon will be dried out by then. Unless you like a dryer fillet, start checking your salmon for doneness early.


If you end up with any leftovers of this spectacular sweet smoky salmon, then keep them to enjoy for lunch the next day!

Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Reheating is as simple as popping in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.


What red wine to pair with salmon?

Dry red wine like Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Burgundy. A great pairing for deeper flavors is a personal favorite that’s less dry but goes well with this dish is, Tempranillo. It’s a peppery dark red wine, and less popular than most, but the dark flavors are out of this world.

Does the alcohol in bourbon evaporate?

It sure does. Cook with foil closed to properly cook the salmon, then open the foil towards the end of the cooking process for the alcohol to evaporate. The taste will be there, without the alcohol when venting.

How do you know when salmon is done on the bbq?

To check for doneness, measure the internal temperate of your fillet. You’ll want to make sure it reaches at least 125-130 degrees F before removing it from the heat.

What is the best way to barbecue salmon?

The best way to barbecue salmon is to place it in foil, glaze it, wrap it in foil completely, then grill. When grilling salmon, using indirect heat is best to avoid overcooking too quickly. Low and slow will be your go-to method for the perfect doneness.

broccoli cooked on the bbq in foil


  • Appetizer: Enjoy this Rosemary Parmesan Bread as a starter. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you have to try this Clam Jalapeno Poppers recipe!
  • Side Dish: Try this Fried Feta and Strawberry Salad alongside! Roasted veggies, like broccoli cooked alongside in foil on the bbq are a great easy and delicious option. They come out slightly smoky, yum!
  • Drink: Pair this recipe with a glass of Bourbon, of course! Or go for this Creamy Espresso Martini as a dessert treat. Trust me, you’ll want seconds and thirds.

I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! When you make this Smoky Bourbon Salmon, please RATE using the stars in the recipe card, and COMMENT at the end of the page how you enjoyed this dish.

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salmon fillet on foil with bourbon brown sugar and chopped onion glaze

Smoky Bourbon Salmon

Smoky Bourbon Salmon is glazed with a brown sugar bourbon mixture, wrapped in foil, and grilled to perfection.
The salmon fillet comes out soft, juicy, flaky, and slightly smoky.
And the glaze couldn't be more simple, using just 3 ingredients.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Pacific Coast, Seafood
Servings 2 servings


  • BBQ
  • Your favorite wood chips


  • 1 12-14 oz salmon filet
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar or medium
  • 1.5 tbsp bourbon
  • ½ tbsp dried chopped onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Heat up the charcoal BBQ. While heating, prepare the glaze by mixing brown sugar, dried chopped onion, Bourbon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and set aside.
  • Layer 2 pieces of aluminum foil on top of one another and spray the top sheet with your favorite cooking spray or oil.  Place the salmon filet skin side down and then spray the top of the fish with more oil. Spread glaze onto fish and wrap in the foil.
  • Once the barbecue is heated up, move coals to one side. Place salmon in foil on the opposite side of the coals and put lid on barbecue.
  • For a filet that is 12-14 oz, check after 8-10 minutes. The filet should start to have the sides cook and the middle still raw. Keep the foil open and place your favorite wood chips over the coals and close the lid to start the smoke process.
  • Continue cooking salmon for another 8-10 minutes with the foil open, but do not overcook. The salmon is done when it flakes easily and has an internal temperature of at least 125 degrees. Scoop and reglaze the fillet to serve.


Leftovers: Place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Enjoy it as is, or make a salmon dip.
Keyword 30 minute meal, bbq fish, bbq salmon, bbq salmon in foil, bourbon brown sugar glaze, bourbon brown sugar salmon, bourbon glaze, brown sugar bourbon, brown sugar glaze, easy seafood dinner, salmon
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