4 Easy Steps to Smoking Trout and Other Fish

Hello and welcome to the February 2007 edition of the Smoking Meat Newsletter! With warmer weather on the horizon I am beginning to feel a little more gung ho about being outdoors. Lately, I find myself dreaming of finishing up long, put off outdoor projects as I lazily watch thin blue smoke puff out of my smoker and disappear into the distance.

Here in my neck of the woods, the season for trout fishing is drawing to a close as the waters get warmer and these cold water fish dive into cooler waters down below in an attempt to escape the inevitable end that summer brings here in Oklahoma.

I realize I don't have too many more fishing days left but until then you can rest assured that I will be smoking some now and then in my smoker while I can still get them fresh.

I also realized that I have not discussed smoking trout in this newsletter and I think it deserves more than just an honorable mention.

In case you have not caught on yet… In this edition we are going to discuss delicious smoked trout and while I am extremely partial to trout, this process will also work on other types of fish as well for a really, tasty dish.

Here is the lineup for this month.. enjoy!

How to Smoke Trout

My personal method for cleaning, brining, smoking and eating smoked trout


Smoking trout is something that we have not covered and while you may not have access to trout specifically, this method of smoking will work on other fish as well.

I usually do not brine trout however, I will cover it in case you want to try it.

Preparing the Trout

In cleaning the trout it is best to cut the fish's head off and then make a shallow incision from the anus to the gills. You can then hold the fish up with one hand and use the other hand to gut the fish making sure to get the bloodline that runs along the length of the fish.

Wash the fish in some salty water to help get rid of any bad flavors and lay the fish aside for brining.

Brining Trout

I use a pretty basic brine that basically consists of the following:

2 Cups Water
2 TBS Kosher Salt
1 TBS Cajun Seasoning

Feel free to add some hot sauce, wine, pepper, low sodium soy sauce, etc.

Let the fish brine completely covered for about an hour making sure the brine is able to get into the inside of the fish as well as the outside.

Once brining has completed, lay the fish on a paper towel and let the skin dry a little while you get the smoker ready.

Smoking the Trout

Prepare the smoker for about 150 degrees with a mild wood such as pecan, apple, oak or alder. Regular smoking woods like hickory and mesquite can be a little strong for fish in my opinion.

Lay the trout directly on the grate leaving space between them and laying them open so the smoke can access all parts of the fish.

Let the fish smoke for about 25-30 minutes at this low temperature to help dry the outside of the fish so that it can be firmer in the later stages of smoking.

After about 30 minutes raise the temperature on up to about 225 degrees to finish the smoking process.

Most fish is safe to eat at 145 degrees and much beyond this the fish will start to dry out too much.

Here in Oklahoma the fish range from about 8 to 10 inches on average and this size will be ready to take out of the smoker in about an hour.

Eating the Trout

The trout can be eaten as is with some good sides like hush puppies and cole slaw or the meat can be removed from the skin, flaked and used as a dip like the recipe below:

Trout Dip

  • 3/4 pound smoked trout
  • 1 package (8 ounces) softened Cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


Remove bones and flake the fish. Combine all ingredients mixing thoroughly. Chill. Serve with assorted crackers, chips or vegetables.

Other Fish

This procedure can be used with other fish like salmon, tilapia, catfish, crappie, etc. with varying results depending on what types of fish you and your family like to eat. Chances are good that if you like the fish fried or baked then you will absolutely love it smoked.

Go ahead.. give it a try and if you do not have a chance to go fishing then pick up some fresh fish at the market. It may not be quite as fresh but I can guarantee you that it will be delicious right out of the smoker.


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Jeff, I'm a rank amateur at this smoking but I bought your rub recipe Saturday and did my first spare ribs. They were terrific!

Thank you for supporting the greatest smoking meat site online with your finances (every dollar counts) and in return I promise to keep answering emails, writing newsletters, producing helpful products and doing everything in my power to support your smoking habit!

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Jeff's Naked Rib Rub and BBQ Sauce Recipes

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  1. Jim November 16, 2021 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Hello Mr Jeff.
    I have been smoking meats for a few years now. When I first started I “fished” the internet for the how to smoke guys. I have used several others recipes & tips.
    However your website was one of the first 5 I looked at. I was amazed at how easy it was to understand & follow you instructions. I liked it so much that I bought your secret rub recipes. By the way, they are wonderful . I also bought your recipe book. You are my go to guy when I am looking for tips, recipes and to remember cooking temps.
    I could go on, but let me say thanks for your knowledge & expertise. You are a down to earth guy that loves what you do.
    Thanks 😊

  2. Dorene September 29, 2017 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Everything I have tried turned out so great! From the beef brisket to pork butt and ribs. Everyone loved the rubs and sauce!

    I'm going to try to smoke a red snapper fish this weekend. I hope it turns out great. Everything else has so far.

    Love all the recipes so far!

  3. Lori November 19, 2015 at 8:05 am - Reply

    After smoking the trout, how long will it keep in the refrigerator?

  4. Eric February 9, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Just followed your instructions here with a trout that was probably about 12″ without tail & head (so a little bigger than the one you used). It brined for an hour & dried for 30 mins. I couldn't get the smoker to 150F but managed 160F so ran it at that for 45mins followed by about an hour at 250F which brought it to exactly 145F internal. I smoked it using applewood in my home made ugly drum, gas fired (!). Turned out marvellously! Thanks very much. Excellent advice as usual.

  5. Robert Harris September 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff while sorting thru my stuff I found an old Brinkman gourmet electric smoker As I am not a cook I didn'think I could do this I bought your recipes and decided to try some baby back ribs They were great!!! So last week I got brave and thied a Boston butt and some more ribs I am hooked Everyone is amazed But the old bent up smoker is very hard to control temp so I am going to buy a Masterbilt 30″ digital and try that I have fresh trout in the freezer and a lot of crappie I will let you know how they come out Thanks!!!!!

    • Greg H January 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      How did the crappie turn out?

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