This Traeger grilled salmon recipe is the best way to make a side of salmon that is juicy, flaky and flavorful. It is slow-cooked on a Traeger grill (or a similar wood pellet grill) which allows the salmon filet to cook evenly, with a wonderfully subtle smoke flavor.
Topped with a delicious mixture of grass-fed butter, shallot, chives and other seasonings, this Traeger salmon recipe strikes that perfect balance of minimal effort and amazing results.
With the temperatures finally dipping here in the desert, fall grilling is in full force!
My father-in-law recently flew in from Alaska with over 100 pounds of wild-caught salmon so needless to say, our freezer is well-stocked with Sockeye salmon fillets, as well as some Copper River King salmon (the BEST!).
This Traeger grilled salmon recipe is a result of our recent salmon score.
It makes an easy meal with great flavor and will give you the very best results: a side of salmon that turns out tender and flaky, cooked to perfection in a buttery, savory topping.
why you'll love it
Preparing a side of salmon is my go-to (and one of my favorite things) because it's healthy, low-effort and can easily serve the whole family.
While those recipes certainly have their place, this Traeger grilled salmon recipe is simplicity at its best. I like to cook the salmon low and slow on the Traeger pellet grill to get a bit more of a smoky flavor.
But it really doesn't take much time at all- only a few minutes of prep and it's mostly hands-off from there. The salmon is ready in about 35-40 minutes.
Simple and straightforward. A delicious salmon dinner that's even doable on a weeknight.
This easy recipe requires simple ingredients and just a few minutes of prep time. However, the type of salmon you choose matters. For the best salmon (in both taste and nutrition) and really great results, use wild-caught salmon if you can.
Whether it's frozen or fresh salmon doesn't matter too much (even "fresh" salmon sold at the seafood counter at grocery stores is usually previously frozen, depending on where you live). Just make sure it's thawed completely before you start.
For this Traeger salmon recipe, you will need:
- a side of salmon, preferably wild-caught (I'm partial to Alaskan salmon 😉 )
- salted grass-fed butter, softened
- shallot, chopped small
- fresh chives, chopped small
- fresh parsley, chopped small
- garlic powder
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- fresh lemon juice or lemon wedges (optional, for serving)
When it comes to equipment, make sure you have a good instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon. I just got this one and it's great for the price. I use the probe on my Traeger to monitor the temperature but I also like to get a second reading with a separate digital meat thermometer.
A baking sheet is also useful. You can prepare the salmon fillet on it and carry it out to the pellet grill once it's done preheating.
an easy Traeger salmon recipe
If you've ever baked salmon at 400°F or pan-fried it, you already know how easy it is to over-cook it. Just a tad too long and you're left with salmon that's a bit dry.
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it's a really forgiving way to prepare salmon.
The cooking time for this Traeger grilled salmon recipe will vary slightly based on your grill, your outdoor environment, the thickness and size of the salmon fillet, etc.
But since this cooking method uses a lower temperature than others, a couple of extra minutes of cook time won't turn your juicy salmon into dry, chalky fish.
In fact, I like to pull the salmon off the grill at a little bit of a higher internal temperature than I usually do when I bake it in the oven. That's because there's less residual heat to continue cooking it internally.
Here's a quick look at the steps for a side of salmon on pellet grill. For all of the details, view the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Before starting, preheat your Traeger pellet grill (or similar) to 275°F. Place the salmon skin-side down on a large baking sheet. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
In a small bowl, combine the softened butter with the chopped shallot, chives, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix it well.
Spread all of the butter mixture on top of the salmon. It should be an even, generous layer on top of the fillet.
When the Traeger temperature is at 275°F, transfer the salmon to the center of the grill grates, salmon skin side down.
Insert the grill probe into center of the thickest part of the salmon fillet. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 130°F-135°F (or to your own preference).
When done, transfer the salmon to a clean baking sheet. Serve with fresh lemon wedges or more fresh herbs, if desired.
tips for the best results
- I usually prefer salmon cooked to a medium temperature, which is about 125°F to 130°F. However, for salmon on the pellet grill, I've found that a higher internal temperature, anywhere between 130°F- 135°F is best. The amount of time depends on your own preference. Keep in mind that there is less residual heat with pellet grill salmon than there is when baking salmon at a high heat. Use your Traeger smoker probe and your own digital thermometer to get a good idea of how done it is. You can also test this by using a fork to flake a tiny bit off the thick side of the salmon.
- Store leftover salmon in the refrigerator for up to four days. It's great on top of salads and I've found that the smoky flavor is even more prominent the next day.
- If you'd like this to be dairy-free, substitute olive oil for the butter and drizzle the olive oil mixture all over the top of the whole salmon.
- Feel free to change up the seasoning or aromatics if you'd like! Smoked paprika, chopped dill, onion powder, or cayenne (for heat) are all good choices.
- You can make this in your oven, too. Prep the salmon and bake it at 275°F for 20-25 minutes or until it reaches your ideal temperature.
Tender, flaky salmon is a sure thing with this Traeger grilled salmon recipe! It has incredible flavor and is an easy way to prepare salmon for the entire family to enjoy.
If you give it a try and love it too, let me know with a comment below or a five star rating!
you might also love...
- Smoked salmon and dill egg muffins are a protein-packed breakfast that comes together so easily. With smoky flakes of salmon, fresh dill and chives come together for a flavorful and healthy egg muffin.
- Air fryer salmon, another go-to salmon recipe! This one features a smoky, bold coffee rub and cooks in the air fryer in a flash.
- This Traeger brisket recipe makes perfect, fork-tender brisket on the pellet grill!
- 1-½ to 2 pound side of salmon
- 3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, softened
- 1 medium shallot, chopped small
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped small
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- fresh lemon wedges (optional, for serving)
- Preheat your Traeger grill (or similar pellet grill) to 275°F.
- Place the side of salmon skin-side down on a large baking sheet and pat it dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, add the softened butter, chopped shallot, chives, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Spread the entire butter mixture on top of the salmon in an even, generous layer.
- When the grill temperature is at 275°F, transfer the salmon to the center of the grill grates, skin side down. Insert the grill probe into the center of the thickest part of the salmon fillet.
- Cook for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 130°F-135°F (or to your own preference). I usually check it at 30 minutes (via the probe and a separate meat thermometer).
- When done, transfer the salmon to a clean baking sheet. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, if desired.
I usually prefer salmon cooked to a medium temperature, which is about 125°F to 130°F. However, for salmon on the pellet grill, I've found that a higher internal temperature, anywhere between 130°F- 135°F is best. The amount of time depends on your own preference. Keep in mind that there is less residual heat with pellet grill salmon than there is when baking salmon at a high heat so once you pull the salmon from the grill, the internal temperature won't continue to climb.
Store leftover salmon in the refrigerator for up to four days. It's great on top of salads and I've found that the smoky flavor is even more prominent the next day.
If you'd like this to be dairy-free, substitute olive oil for the butter and drizzle the olive oil mixture all over the top of the whole salmon.
To make this in the oven, bake at 275°F for 20-25 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 492mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 34g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.