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
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.

Prepare the Fish

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

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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.

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Sprinkle Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the fish.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rubs and Sauce
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Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce
Jeff's Texas style rub recipe

I have hundreds and hundreds of smoking recipes in every imaginable category on this site and all of them are absolutely free. The only thing I offer for sale are the recipes to my (2) amazing dry rubs and my one-of-a-kind barbecue sauce.

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I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

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Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

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.

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.

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.

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

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Printable Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

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
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4
Author: Jeff Phillips

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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.
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