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, there is no real need to brine it or any other lengthy process to make it taste good.

A little of my Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) 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.

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
IMG 0492 1000x715Please 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.

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 skin side down.

As a safety precaution you will want to make sure all bones are removed– if you run your fingers lightly along the top of the fish you can feel them sticking out just above the surface. If you find one, pull it out with clean needle nose pliers.

It is also a great idea to let everyone know to be watchful for any bones you might have missed.

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


Sprinkle Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) 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 Abi's 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.



Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ My rubs and sauce will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!


You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

Purchase at Amazon

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at, use THIS LINK to get there and we’ll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link:

Printable Recipe

IMG 0393 1000x667 1
Print Recipe
4.5 from 4 votes

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 on the planet.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings: 4


  • Whole filet of steelhead trout
  • Olive oil
  • Jeff's Texas style rub


  • Rinse fish under cold water.
  • Brush olive oil onto the top and sides of the fish.
  • Apply my Texas style rub to the top of the fish.
  • 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.
  • Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat and a light tasting wood such as alder and/or apple.
  • When the smoker is ready, place the fish on a piece of parchment paper and on to the smoker grate.
  • Smoke cook the fish for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature reads 140°F in the thickest part.
  • Remove the fish from the heat.
  • Slice and serve immediately.


  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

    5 stars
    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.

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating