Smoked Steelhead Trout – Buttery Goodness!

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Smoked Steelhead Trout – Buttery Goodness!

If you have not tried smoked steelhead trout then have been missing out on one of the most buttery and delicious tasting fish available. It looks a lot like salmon but it seems to have a little more fat between the layers of meat and, for this reason, it is perfect for smoking low and slow.

Unlike every other recipe on the internet and elsewhere for smoking steelhead trout, I recommend that you don't brine it or worry  about forming a pellicle. Trust me.. this fish is wonderful and doesn't need these extra processes to make it taste really good.

A little of my Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) on the surface which can be applied the night before if you like and onto the smoker grate for a couple of hours renders a fish that will wow you with flavor, moisture and tenderness.

Abi makes a great watermelon salad that goes really well with the fish. I have included the recipe below for your enjoyment.

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The steelhead trout in this recipe is seasoned entirely with my Texas style rub which comes free when you purchase my original rub recipe. Armed with these two delectable recipes, you will be wowing family and friends for years to come.

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

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Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 140°F
  • Recommended Wood: Alder and/or Apple
What You’ll Need
Prepare the Fish

Remove the fish from it's container or wrapper and rinse it well under cold water.


Lay it on the cutting board for seasoning.

Brush olive oil all over the top and sides of the fish.


Sprinkle Jeff's Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) all over the fish.


If you like, you can place the seasoned fish into a large lidded container or ziptop bag and place it in the fridge overnight or until you are ready to put it on the pit.



Smoke the Fish

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F using indirect heat.

If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up with water.

When the smoker is preheated to 225°F and ready to go, place the fish on a piece of parchment paper cut or torn just a little larger than the fish and the same basic shape, on the smoker grate.

The parchment paper will help in the removal of the fish from the grates and make sure it doesn't stick.

Note: Do not use wax paper.

Keep a light smoke going for at least an hour or longer and monitor the temperature of the fish in the thickest part using an instant read digital thermometer such as the Thermapen.

Finish and Serve

The fish is done when it reaches 140°F and that is the perfect time to get it out of the heat and stop the cooking process.


Brush a little melted butter onto the top of the fish if you like, cut it into pieces and serve immediately.


How to Make the Watermelon Salad
  • ¼ seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, very thinly sliced and separated
  • 1 large navel orange, segmented
  • ¼ c of feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse black pepper
  • Coarse salt

Layer watermelon, orange segments, and red onion on a plate. Add the crumbled feta. Cover and chill if not serving immediately. Just prior to serving, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with chopped cilantro.



Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

AND.. we are running a limited-time 30% off sale on the DOWNLOADABLE RECIPES ONLY. Click HERE to purchase the instantly downloadable recipes (formulas) for both of my rubs and barbecue sauce for the lowest price I've EVER offered. Somebody pinch me! Or better yet, just go get them 😉 Note: The coupon should be automatically applied OR use JOY30 during checkout if necessary.
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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

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Printable Recipe

Smoked Steelhead Trout - Buttery Goodness!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
If you have not tried smoked steelhead trout then have been missing out on one of the most buttery and delicious tasting fish on the planet.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4
Author: Jeff Phillips
What You'll Need
  1. Rinse fish under cold water.
  2. Brush olive oil onto the top and sides of the fish.
  3. Apply my Texas style rub to the top of the fish.
  4. Place into a lidded container or ziptop bag and place it in the fridge if the smoker is not ready or if you prepped it ahead of time.
  5. Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat and a light tasting wood such as alder and/or apple.
  6. When the smoker is ready, place the fish on a piece of parchment paper and on to the smoker grate.
  7. Smoke cook the fish for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature reads 140°F in the thickest part.
  8. Remove the fish from the heat.
  9. Slice and serve immediately.


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2019-01-01T13:36:08+00:00By |3 Comments

About the Author:

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!


  1. Mark Rideout January 21, 2017 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Winter in Maine brings an abundance of fresh water smelts from ice fishing. Any good recipies for smoking these?

  2. Steve August 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    I made this a couple weeks ago for some friends and it came out awesome. I’m not a big fish eating person, but this sounded good and a co-worker of mine loves steelhead so I thought I would give it a try. Between the fish and the Watermelon Salad, dinner was a huge success. The fish was perfectly done in only 1 hour so be careful to check on it, the thickness is a big factor on cook time.

  3. Jim in Conroe July 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I have not used this recipe yet, but I have done a lot of salmon and some sea trout on my Big Green Egg. I will be trying this recipe soon.

    One preparation step not included in your method is to check the fish for small, white, flexible bones. Depending on how your seatrout or salmon was cleaned, these may or may not be present along the bottom, thinner part of the filet (sort of like ribs) or along the center of the thicker part toward the top. You should be able to feel them sticking out of the flesh, if you can’t see them.

    They are easily removed by grasping them with a needle nose pliers and gently pulling straight up. I prefer to use one of the pliers that have a 90 degree bend at the end, but a normal needle nose will do just fine.

    If you don’t remove them before cooking, let your diners know that they may be present.

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