2tablespoonsbrown sugarlight or dark; do not omit or the glaze will not thicken
1tablespoonlow sodium soy sauce
1/2teaspoonapple cider vinegar
12-pound side of salmon (I prefer skin-on for cooking)
1/2teaspoonground black pepper
Chopped green onionsoptional for serving
In a medium saucepan, combine the bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high. Continue to simmer rapidly, stirring almost constantly. The mixture will look very active and almost foamy. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Position racks in the center and upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. For easy clean up in case the glaze leaks, line a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then place a large piece of aluminum foil on top. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while the glaze cools and the oven preheats.
Place the salmon on top of the foil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub to coat, then brush the glaze all over the top.
Drizzle on any extra.
Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
Bake the salmon on the center rack for 15 to 18 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part but still has several minutes to go. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon. If your side is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
Remove the salmon from the oven and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam).
Change the oven setting to broil, then return the fish to the oven, placing it on the upper third rack. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Watch the salmon closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook. You also can use an instant read thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the fish; fish is cooked at 145 degrees F (I like to pull mine out a few degrees early, then let it rest a few minutes so that the carry over cooking allows it to reach temperature).
Remove the salmon from the oven. If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from "not done" to "over done" very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.
To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Enjoy hot, with a sprinkle of green onions as desired.
TO STORE: Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
TO REHEAT: Very gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
Leftovers would be delicious on a salad or mixed with rice, pasta, or eggs.
BOURBON TIPS: Any mid-range bourbon that you enjoy drinking is great here! A few of my go-tos are Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, and Four Roses.
TO MAKE WITHOUT BOURBON: A similar liquor like rum or cognac will also work here. If you prefer to make a non-alcoholic version of this glaze, you could try substituting 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar plus 1/2 cup apple juice in place of the bourbon.