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This quick and easy recipe for Salmon Rub is made with five simple ingredients you most likely have on hand. Savory, smoky and sweet, this combo accentuates wild salmon’s fresh flavor. + 25+ Amazing Salmon Recipes!

Northwest Salmon Rub inspired by Tom Douglas Rub with Love.

It’s officially salmon season, and wild salmon is abundant here in the Northwest. This Northwest Salmon Rub is especially delicious on wild salmon and is made with only five simple ingredients. I can’t take credit for this recipe- many of you who live in the Northwest will recognize it from Tom Douglas’s former restaurant, Etta’s Seafood. You can purchase his original rub called Rub with Love, or make a similar version at home.

This salmon rub is smoky, and sweet with the perfect amount of salt, really highlighting fresh wild salmon’s flavor. Over the last 20 years, I’ve fiddled with the recipe, adding garlic powder, onion powder, other herbs, and less sugar- all to regret it and come back to this simpler version- it’s just way better! Sometimes simple truly is BEST.

Ingredients in Salmon Rub

Salmon rub ingredeints: brown sugar, peppercorns, salt, thyme and smoked paprika. Tom Douglas recipe

How to Make Salmon Rub

Place all the ingredients in a jar, and stir with a spoon. So easy. It will keep 6 to 12 months.

A spoonful of Northwest salmon rub, Tom Douglas recipe, Etta's Seafood Seattle, rub with love.

Ways to use Salmon Rub

On Grilled Salmon: brush olive oil all over the salmon, then rub the Northwest Salmon Rub on all sides. Try our on a cedar plank salmon, or our perfect grilled salmon.

Baked Salmon: Coat salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with the Salmon rub. Bake at 350 until internal temp reaches 130F. Broil for 1-2 minutes until sugars caramelize. Top with thyme.

Pan-seared Salmon: Sprinkle all sides of salmon with the rub. Heat olive in a skillet over medium heat, pan and sear each side until beautifully golden and internal temp reaches 130F ( medium). Top with fresh thyme.

Expert Tip

Because the salmon rub contains brown sugar, ideally, you’ll want to caramelize it. So after grilling or baking, broil it in the oven (or use a cooking torch) until the sugars caramelize. This will add exquisite flavor and texture (like when making Creme Brulee). When pan searing, the sugars will automatically caramelize in the pan.

Gift It!

This would make a great hostess or birthday gift for a salmon lover. I love using little weck spice jars and these black labels. Or use a mason jar and make a label. Tie the jar up with twine and tuck in a little wooden spoon. Gift it like that or pair it with a fish spatula, cedar planks and wrap it up in a cute kitchen towel– what a nice gift!

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salmon rub recipe

Salmon Rub


This quick and easy recipe for Salmon Rub is made with five simple ingredients you most likely have on hand. Savory, smoky and sweet, this combo accentuates wild salmon’s fresh flavor. Inspired by Tom Douglas’s Rub with Love.




Place everything in a jar and stir. 


The salmon rub will keep for 6-12 months if sealed. 


  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 28
  • Sugar: 5.2 g
  • Sodium: 439.3 mg
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Salmon rub, salmon rub recipe, best salmon rub, tom Douglas salmon rub, rub with love recipe, salmon rub brown sugar, northwest salmon rub, Etta’s Seafood salmon rub

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  1. Wow!! Worked so well on salmon, elevated a basic salmon from regular grocery store to a very tasty meal. Ty!

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