Grilled Salmon with Pickled Huckleberries is the perfect summer meal. Light and delicious and full of flavor, huckleberries are just slightly pickled giving the salmon a surprisingly wonderful brightness. One of the most popular salmon recipes in our catering business! No huckleberries? Try this with fresh blueberries! 
Pickled Huckleberries make this Grilled Huckleberry Salmon recipe a winner. Served atop Grilled salmon, this is a true Northwest inspired summer meal. Gluten free, healthy! |
Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. – Jenny Han
This is hands-down one of my favorite salmon recipes!  The first time I made this Grilled Huckleberry Salmon, Brian wittily called it- a bear’s dream.  He’s clever that way. Wild salmon is grilled until the skin becomes crispy.  Then it’s served with a flavorful Pickled Huckleberry-Shallot Relish.  A feast fit for a bear.
Sometimes when I hear huckleberry “sauce”, disturbing images of cloyingly sweet, jelly-like substances come to mind. To be clear- this is not that. This is a fresh huckleberry relish, one that is lightly, quickly pickled with shallots and coriander seeds, enhancing the huckleberries whilst keeping the berries fresh, plump, and mostly intact.

If you are fortunate to live in the Northwest, fresh huckleberries are in season right now…and can be foraged and picked in the wild… or bought at local farmer’s markets. This salmon recipe is a fun way to incorporate fresh huckleberries into a savory dish, and the pickled relish is delicious with chicken or even lamb — if fish is not your thing.

NOTE: If you can’t find fresh huckleberries –fresh blueberries will work great too. The important word here is fresh.

I love this recipe for its simplicity and ease to make while appearing as if it took a great deal of care and time.  This is a good one to put on your list for when having company over, not only because it’s fast, but because it showcases real Northwest ingredients…a special treat for out-of-towners.

how to make Grilled Salmon with Pickled huckleberries

STEP 1: Brush both sides of the salmon fillet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. If you have never tried salmon skin, you are in for a treat. It’s so delicious, when crispy. You can achieve this crispiness with a good searing in a cast-iron skillet, or on a grill.
Because salmon, especially Sockeye’s and Copper River’s, tend to be smaller, leaner, less oily fish — cooking time is very short to achieve the desirable medium, medium-rare temperatures, that really allow this fish to shine. You will not need to flip the salmon in either case.
STEP 2: Zest a fresh lemon right over the salmon, allowing not only the zest to fall but also the light misting of lemon oil, from the rind.  Scatter thyme leaves.
Step 3: Pre-heat your grill.
Pickled huckleberries make this Grilled Huckleberry Salmon recipe a winner. Served atop Grilled salmon, this is a true Northwest inspired summer meal. Gluten free, healthy!
Step 4: Quick Pickle the huckleberries (or blueberries).

Place the fresh huckleberries in a medium bowl.  Make a quick pickling liquid in which to toss the fresh huckleberries: Heat sugar, vinegar, and coriander seeds in a small saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved. (It may seem like a lot of sugar, but just keep in mind you won’t be consuming very much of the pickling liquid, it is just to help temper the very tart berries.)  Add finely minced shallots and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour this over huckleberries, stir gently and set aside. You could make this the day before and refrigerate for the best flavor!

Pickled huckleberries make this Grilled Huckleberry Salmon recipe a winner. Served atop Grilled salmon, this is a true Northwest inspired summer meal. Gluten free, healthy!
Step 5: Grill! 
Sometimes we like to add applewood chips to the grill, to give the salmon a subtly smokiness.  To do this, place 1/2 cup of wood chips in sheet of foil and create a flat packet. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the packet for the smoke to escape. Place this on a corner of the grill while preheating on high heat. Close lid. When the applewood chips begin smoking, it’s time to grill. (You don’t have to use the wood chips, today we didn’t, and it still was delicious. )
Then lower heat to low!
1 ½- 2 lb Fillet of Wild Salmon ( skin on) olive oil for brushing and salt and pepper ½ C apple wood chips ( optional) thyme lemon zest and juice Huckleberry Relish 1 ½ C fresh huckleberries ½ C sugar ( or honey) ½ C red wine vinegar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 tsp whole coriander seeds (optional) 1 large shallot- finely minced Serve over a few handful of greens (arugula, baby kale, watercress) with  Everyday Quinoa .
Place the oiled, salted, salmon skin down directly on the grill.  Make sure heat is set to low. Close the lid. After five minutes, shift the salmon, to create cross-hatch marks. Close lid. Check after 3-5 more minutes. At this point, your salmon may be done enough to your liking, or continue to cook until medium. It won’t take too much longer. Time varies depending on the thickness of the fillet. In general, cook salmon to 120-125 F for medium-rare to medium.

Step 6: Carefully place the salmon on a platter ( use two spatulas if it is a large one!), a wood board, or over a bed of greens, or quinoa. This Everyday Quinoa Recipe pairs really nicely with this.  Give a squeeze of lemon.

Pickled huckleberries make this Grilled Huckleberry Salmon recipe a winner. Served atop Grilled salmon, this is a true Northwest inspired summer meal. Gluten free, healthy!
Step 7: Right before serving, scatter a generous amount of the pickled huckleberries overtop with a tiny bit of the pickling liquid and some fresh thyme sprigs. Serve immediately!
Healthy Grilled Salmon with a fresh Huckleberry shallot relish is the perfect summer meal! Light and delicious and full of flavor, huckleberries are just slightly pickled giving the salmon a wonderful brightness. #grilledsalmon #grilled #huckleberries #huckleberry #salmon #glutenfree
Our clients and their guests have raved about this grilled salmon recipe and requested the recipe- so here you go and I hope you like it as much as we all have!
Happy Summer,
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Grilled Salmon with Pickled Huckleberry Relish


Grilled Salmon with Pickled Huckleberry Relish. A fresh and summery meal, perfect for entertaining on dinners on the patio.


Units Scale
  • 1 1/22 lb Fillet of Wild Salmon (skin on) sockeye or king salmon
  • olive oil for brushing and salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup applewood chips (optional, but elevates)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • lemon zest and juice

Pickled Huckleberry Relish

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh huckleberries (or fresh blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds (optional)
  • 1 large shallot- very finely minced

Serve over a few handfuls of greens (arugula, baby kale, watercress) or with  Everyday Quinoa .


  1. Preheat grill to high. If using wood chips, make a rectangle foil packet enclosing the wood chips and pierce the top in a few places with a knife (to let the smoke out) and place it directly on the heating grill, close the grill lid.
  2. Make Pickled Huckleberry Relish: Place huckleberries in a medium bowl. Heat sugar (or honey), vinegar, salt and coriander seeds in a small saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add minced shallots and simmer for two minutes. Pour the hot liquid over huckleberries, stir and set aside. You can make this ahead and refrigerate overnight, or use it right away.
  3. Prep Salmon: Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Zest a small lemon right over the top of the salmon to capture the spray of the fragrant lemon oil, and sprinkle with one tablespoon thyme leaves.
  4. Grill: Wait to grill until the applewood chips begin smoking, then turn the heat down to low, grill salmon, skin side down, directly on the grill, on lowest heat, close lid. Check after 5 minutes. ( Note: if using king salmon- with is thicker and larger- this whole process will take longer, plan on double the time). Shift salmon to create crosshatch marks on the skin, and close lid again for just a few minutes. Salmon at this point will cook quickly, so check often- especially if it’s a thinner piece. Once salmon is cooked to medium-rare or medium (120-125 F)  turn the heat off.
  5. Using two extra-large metal spatulas carefully place salmon on a platter, wood board or over greens.  Squeeze with the juice of half a lemon.
  6. Serve: Right before serving, generously spoon the pickled huckleberry relish and just a little of pickling liquid over the salmon and greens, and scatter with thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.


Keep in mind, that even though there is quite a lot of sugar in the pickling liquid, you won’t be consuming this- it is to help temper the tartness of the huckleberries. If using blueberries, halve the sugar. 

Feel free to grill individual pieces of salmon (skin on or skin removed) and top with the Pickled Huckleberry relish. Sub King salmon or other types of fish. Wild king salmon is absolutely delicious here because of its inherent richness.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 201
  • Sugar: 3.3 g
  • Sodium: 125.8 mg
  • Fat: 8.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 24.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 51 mg

Keywords: grilled salmon recipe, grilled salmon filet, huckleberry salmon, huckleberry salmon recipe, huckleberry relish, pickled huckleberries, crispy skin salmon, how to grill salmon with skin

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  1. What else besides a quinoa salad would work well with these flavours? I want to serve it for an afternoon party. Would the potato salad with peas and tarragon work? I just want to serve the salmon with an assortment of room temperature salads.

    1. That would work fine! Or our lastest post “grilled potatoes” would be great here too, or orzo pasta salad?

  2. Served this to friends on their last night out before leaving the coastal Pacific Northwest for a couple of years. Delicious. I used fresh blueberries (no huckleberries around here, alas), and love how easy it is to pickle them.

  3. This is my new favorite salmon recipe! I made it for a party and they all loved. I can see why it was very requested by Sylvia’s catering clients. This was so easy and I made the relish the night before. I love a recipe that is a new mix of flavors, and delicious.

  4. This is the best grilled salmon ever and the huckleberry relish is amazing! So easy and beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love love love this recipe. I’ve made it more than a few times this summer. My mother had her doubts about pickled blueberries (I can’t find huckleberries around here) but she’s been converted. I like to save the pickling liquids to use as salad dressing.

    1. I’m so glad you like it… it doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is one of my absolute favorites!

  6. Oh. My. Gosh. This blew us away and totally impressed our out-of-town guests. Incredible combination of flavors, even a use for the coriander seeds that come from our immediately-bolting cilantro. I love that the huckleberries are not cooked like in most sauces, so their fresh flavor is preserved. We don’t have a good grill, so just convect-baked the salmon at 450 as usual. We had one fillet of pink and one of sockeye. No more king/Chinook, it is for the orcas.

  7. Yes they are in season. And I live in the Pacific NW. But I don’t have any secret patches that are anywhere close anymore. However I do live on the straits of Juan de Fuca, so salmon is plentiful.I love this recipe. A touch of the exotic, using what’s in season. Plus I love fruit teamed up with meat and fish.

  8. Wow, what a stunner! I’m afraid a Midwestern version of this wouldn’t hold a candle to the original, but if I could get my hands on good enough salmon, I think if have to give it a shot! No huckleberries here, but we have blueberries for days.

  9. This dish is simply stunning. I haven’t been huckleberry picking in years, all of the sudden I really want to go. ; )

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