Baked BBQ Salmon with Brussels Slaw
Great news! I’ve found your new favorite way to make/eat salmon. Which is saying a lot, because there are basically an infinite amount of ways I love to eat salmon. If I’m branding it the new favorite, it comes with the reassurance I know what I’m talking about.Enter: Baked BBQ Salmon.
If you need a little more of an explanation before you fully commit, I don’t blame you.
So here we go.
If salmon that’s crusty on the outside thanks to a dry rub of paprika, brown sugar, spicy chipotle powder, and garlic powder, and soft-as-butter on the inside appeals to you, then you’re going to love our Baked BBQ Salmon.
Just to guild the lily a bit, in addition to the smoky rub, we then bathe the surface of the salmon in a sweet, spicy, and tangy barbecue sauce.
You still with me??
If ALL of the above, plus a topping of creamy, crunchy, and spicy Brussels sprouts slaw STILL sounds lovely to you, then I promise, BBQ Baked Salmon is quickly going to catapult to the top of your meal rotation.
What I adore most about this recipe in general, is the juxtaposition of the crispy dry rub with the wet barbecue sauce. Because when you first take a bite, you get this lovely sweet and saucy punch from the barbecue sauce, but then you get into the sweet and spicy crunch of the rub and salmon itself. It’s quite the flavor bomb. And we’re obsessed.
Ingredients in Baked BBQ Salmon
Salmon. We use a whole side of salmon with the skin ON. Leaving the skin on ensures the salmon stays moist throughout the cooking process. When I go to serve, I simple cut through the skin, or you can use a spatula to scoop out the salmon.
Paprika. We use two different varieties of paprika for our bbq baked salmon. First traditional paprika, which adds a subtle smokiness yet sweet essence to our rub. Second, smoked paprika which gives you more of a smoky punch.
Onion powder. This gives us onion flavor without having to actually add grated or diced onion to the rub.
Chipotle powder. I LOVE using chipotle chili powder. Unlike traditional chili powder which is pretty mild when it comes to heat, chipotle chili powder packs a PUNCH. It’s smokier than traditional chili powder and adds so much flavor to our rub.
Brown sugar. To balance out the spice and smokiness we need a little bit of sweetness to balance everything out. I prefer to use brown sugar as the molasses in it is a nice compliment to all the smoky flavors we already have (plus we use molasses later in the bbq sauce).
Making homemade BBQ Salmon is super simple and uses almost all pantry ingredients you probably already have in stock. Here’s what you’ll need.
Oil. When making bbq sauce, you want to use a neutral oil that won’t alter the flavor, so to sauté the aromatics, we use canola oil. If olive oil is all you have on hand, that’s perfectly fine.
Onion + garlic. No explanation needed.
Ketchup. I’m pretty sure every bbq sauce recipe out there includes ketchup. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and serves as a great base to our homemade bbq sauce.
Molasses. You’ll want to use dark molasses, and don’t skip! This is an essential flavor to our homemade bbq sauce.
Vinegar. I lean towards bbq sauces that have a more vinegar-based flavor, so we use quite a bit here. Apple cider vinegar is what you’ll need.
Spices. To keep things simple, we use the same spices in the rub – paprika, smoked paprika, brown sugar, chipotle chili powder, and onion powder.
Mustard. Dijon mustard is what we use in our BBQ Baked Salmon, and like so many of our other ingredients, it adds tang and a nice spicy bite.
Water. To thin out the ingredients a little bit, I like to add in a little bit of water to make the consistency just right.
Lemon. I love a little citrus flair in bbq sauce and a touch of lemon juice does the trick.
Brussels Sprout Slaw
The dressing. For the dressing you’ll need a little bit of light mayo, honey, sriracha, and salt.
Brussels sprouts. I like to buy my Brussels sprouts pre-shredded to save on time.
Cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro, give it another chance!
How to prepare BBQ Baked Salmon
Here’s the deal. You can go one of two ways with this recipe. You can…
- Bake the salmon, slather it with barbecue sauce, cover in slaw and cut into portions.
- Bake the salmon, use a fork to gently break it up, and then nestle the salmon into flour or corn tortillas. Drizzle it with the barbecue sauce, cover with slaw and enjoy as a taco.
We prefer the former, but it’s really up to you.
Also, the difficulty of the recipe is categorized two ways. Easy. And idot-proof.
I say this because, the recipe calls for you to make your own barbecue sauce. And it’s SO easy. I promise. It uses almost all staple pantry ingredients, and comes together in about 15 minutes. However, I know that not everyone has an extra 15 minutes to throw a barbecue sauce together, so if you want to use a favorite you’ve got on hand, go for it.
Let’s make the BBQ Sauce
- Sauté onion and garlic in a little bit of canola oil until soft.
- Add ketchup, molasses, paprika, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, onion powder, dijon mustard, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thick.
- Cool to room temperature and store in an air-tight container.
How to make Baked BBQ Salmon with Brussels Sprout Slaw
Cover baking sheet. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. I know our photos don’t show that, but that’s because I choose beauty over practicality. You’ll want to use foil, trust me. Place the whole side of salmon on the prepared baking sheet.
Make the rub. In a small bowl, whisk paprika, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, salt and brown sugar. Sprinkle over salmon.
Bake! Pop the Baked BBQ Salmon into a 450 degree oven. Bake until crispy, and cooked through, about 20 minutes. When in doubt, the salmon is cooked when it easily flakes with a fork.
Make the slaw. While the salmon bakes, make the slaw. Whisk the mayo, vinegar, agave, sriracha, and salt together in a small bowl. Toss with Brussels sprouts and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Assemble! Once the salmon comes out of the oven, spread with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Save the rest to serve with the salmon. Top with slaw. Serve as is, or nestle into corn or flour tortillas for tacos.
Substitutions and tips and tricks for recipe success
- Buy the pre-shredded Brussels sprouts at the store, this will save you ample time.
- Feel free to sub out your favorite barbecue sauce in lieu of making your own.
- Be sure to watch the salmon every five minutes or so while it’s baking. Because it’s cooked at such a high temperature, it could burn. If you need to, lower it to the bottom half of the oven.
- Make sure to taste the rub to adjust for seasoning. I like quite of bit of salt, so I always end up adding more.
- If you like things on the spicy side, add a little bit more chipotle chili powder to the rub or sriracha to the slaw.
Other salmon recipes you’ll love
- Sheet Pan Salmon and Rice with Lemon Dill Sauce is another favorite salmon recipe. We bake individual salmon portions on a pan with roasted rice and serve it with an easy lemon dill sauce.
- This Tomato Butter Roasted Salmon with Burst Cherry Tomatoes is HEAVENLY. Similar to today’s BBQ Baked Salmon, we bake the entire side of salmon, but instead of slathering it with BBQ Sauce, we slather it with a delicious tomato butter.
- Sweet and Sour Baked Salmon is a fun twist on Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken.
- Our Red Curry Salmon with Vegetables is literally heaven on earth, so many lovely textures and tastes happening!
Do I need to buy a whole filet of salmon?
No. You can absolutely buy portioned out pieces of salmon. I like to keep the skin on so the fish stays moist.
What is chipotle chili powder?
This is the only ingredient you may not have in your pantry. It’s exactly as it sounds. Ground up dried chipotle peppers. It’s VERY spicy, smoky, and I love it. These days, it shouldn’t be too hard to find in your grocery store, but if you can’t, or just want to use what’s in your pantry, cayenne pepper would be a great alternative.
The perfect sides to serve with Bake BBQ Salmon
- Everyday Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- Creamy One Pot Spinach and Parmesan Orzo
- Feta Caesar Pasta Salad
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 2 1/2 tbsp dark molasses
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 3/4 lb salmon side, skin on
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 cup light mayo
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp honey or agave
- 1/4 tsp sriracha
- 2 3/4 cup shredded brussels sprouts
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- sheet pan
- Sauce pan
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Heat a medium sauce pan to a medium heat. Add oil. Add onion and garlic and sweat for 1-2 minutes. Add ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, paprika, brown sugar, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, onion powder, dijon, water, and lemon juice. Stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thicken, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
- While the sauce simmers, bake the salmon. In a small bowl, whisk paprika, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Cover salmon with rub. Bake until crispy and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the salmon bakes, whisk mayo, apple cider vinegar, agave, and sriracha together in a medium. Add Brussels sprouts and cilantro to the bowl, along with remaining salt. Toss with dressing. Season slaw with salt and pepper.
- When the salmon comes out of the oven, cover with 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (or more if you would like). Top with slaw. Divide into portions. OR cover with barbecue sauce, cut into portions and then individually cover with slaw. You can also buy pre-portioned filets of salmon, follow instructions as stated.