How To Smoke Trout In a Smoker? | A Sure Fire Guide


If you like grilled, baked and deep-fried trout you are going to love the taste of smoked trout. In this article, I will show you the best methods on how to smoke trout in a smoker. No one can resist that smoky flavor that dried, smoked trout gives to your taste buds.

You can smoke fish if you have a smokehouse which takes a long time. That is how they did it initially and it’s still done by meat shops these days.

But, if your an individual and don’t have days to cure your smoked trout there are smokers that will do the trick in less time and taste just as good as a smokehouse taste would.

Preparing The Trout

First of all, you will need to prepare your trout for smoking. You will want to find a brine recipe, and there are many to choose from online if you do a simple search on Google. I did that for you already. Smoking fish brine will help keep the fish from drying out and give it a delicious smoked taste that you will love!  

Brine Recipes For Smoking Trout

Recipe #1

  • Four or five trout fillets
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • ¾ Cup minced Galic
  • ¼ Cup Sea Salt

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl and let cool in the refrigerator for an hour or two. After the ingredients have cooled pour them over the trout fillets making sure they are completely covered. Now pour the fillets and mixture into a resealable bag or a covered Tupperware bowl. Recommended marinating fillets overnight in the refrigerator. The longer you marinate, the better taste you will get out of it.

After the trout fillets have marinated, you will want to remove them from the brine and dry them with a paper towel. You can dump the brine out.

Recipe #2

  • Six to ten trout fillets
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 4 Cups Brown Sugar

Mix the two ingredients. Now in a plastic or glass container arrange one layer of trout fillets on the bottom. Then spread the mixed ingredients over the fillets cover completely after that put another layer of fillets on top of the first layer and then put more of the dry brine on top of those fillets. Put the cover on the container and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 14 hours up to 5 days.

Move the trout fillets around in the brine every few hours flipping them over and making sure they are entirely covered in the brine and that they are not sticking to each other. The brine will be liquidy at this point because of the water in the fish coming out.

You will know the trout fillets are cured when the fillets become stiff. Next, you will want to make sure the fish are clean of the brine. Use a fan to dry the trout before smoking.

Recipe #3

  • Five to Seven Pounds of Trout
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Gallon Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • ½ Cup Salt

Mix all ingredients making the brine. Put trout fillets in a flat glass baking dish and cover with the brine. Refrigerate the fish and brine together for about eight hours. Next, remove from the glass baking dish and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry and put them on the smoker rack for an hour skin down for fillets.

That’s just three brine recipes for smoking trout. There are thousands out there, and it would take me years to compile them all. So if these three don’t suit your fancy search for ‘smoked trout recipe’s’ and you will find a ton.

The Smoking Process

The trout is marinated, great. Now it’s time to get down to the business of smoking the trout. There is a myriad of flavors you can smoke your trout with. That’s the great thing about smoking it yourself you can experiment and find what flavors that you like over ones you don’t without putting a hole in your pocket. Smoked trout in the grocery stores can be rather spendy.

Turn on your smoker and heat it. You will want the temperature of the smoker to get to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many smokers on the market so it might be a little different depending on the smoker you are using. Make sure to read the owners manual of the smoker that you have.

Next, you want to pick whatever smoke flavored wood chips you want to use to smoke your trout fillets. Soak your wood chips in a large bowl for about 30 minutes. Doing this helps the chips to produce more smoke for the smoking process.

Different chips will give you varying degrees of smoke flavor. If you want the strong smoke flavor, you can go with hickory wood chips. If you like a milder smoky flavor, you can go with apple chips. There are many wood chip variety so look on the package if you’re not sure of the strength of smoke flavor they give out.

Putting The Fillets On The Smoker 

Now you want to put the trout fillets on the rack. You want to place them skin down and about a quarter apart from one another. Next, you want to add the wood chips that have been soaking into the smoker.

All smokers are different so read the instructions on how to do this with your particular smoker. More wood chips can be added throughout the smoking process depending on how much smokey flavor you are looking for.

It usually takes two and a half to 3 hours to smoke the trout. After about 2 hours I would check with a meat thermometer. The trout is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The fish will have a dark color to it when it’s done. A dark color is normal. I recommend not smoking your fish longer then 4 hours this will dry the fish out. The most important thing is to make sure the fish is fully cooked at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I can’t stress that enough.

How To Smoke Trout In a Smoker

Bon Appetite

Now that you know how to smoke trout in a smoker you are ready to eat it. Eating the trout is the best part of the whole process other than catching the trout. After you take it from the smoker, let it stand for about 20 minutes before serving.

Leftovers can be put in a sealable storage container for up to one week in the refrigerator, or you can also freeze the smoked trout if you wish to keep it longer.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Cory is a content writer-editor and founder of Tackle Box Talk. Favorite Quote: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

10 thoughts on “How To Smoke Trout In a Smoker? | A Sure Fire Guide”

  1. OK, yum!  I’m excited to try out these recipes on our next batch of trout.

    We catch a lot of rainbow trout out here on the West coast. Most of the time they either get eaten right away or they go into the freezer and are forgotten.  I never really thought about smoking them!

    Since this is a bit of work, it seems like a good idea to have at least 5 pounds of fish as you mentioned.

    How do the bones turn out after smoking?  I imagine you can peel the spine out and that anything left behind is so soft you wouldn’t even notice it was a bone.

    We have a Big Chief smoker without a thermometer.  Do you think it is safe to go by color of the meat or should I just break down and buy a meat thermometer? (Maybe you have one you would suggest).

    Thanks again for the article!  Can’t wait to try smoking some trout!

    • When the fish is done the meat will peel off the bone nicely and if you fillet them before smoking you wouldn’t have to worry about the bones. I would use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat instead of the color. I would recommend the ThermoPro TP20 remote digital cooking thermometer. It has 9 settings for 9 types of meat and even takes the temperature of the smoker itself.

  2. Yum, you have got the digestive juices going.

    I like the first recipe.  Soy will obviously give some salt allowing the overall salt content to be reduced which is good for those of us with high blood pressure, and garlic will add a wonderful flavour.

    Do you think, a touch of sweet chilli sauce would overpower the flavour?

    • A little might not be too bad but I wouldn’t overdo it.

  3. Spending my first 17 years on an island, I grew up loving the sports of catching, cooking and eating fish! I saw my Dad catch and smoke fish. I never learned how to do it. This article brings back memories of those smoked fish in our outside kitchen way back.

    The detail on how to prepare the trout for smoking, the recipes makes my mouth water. And my brain is now busy concocting the design of a fish smoker out there near my outside kitchen along with the bbq pit. Awesome article! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Joe Joson

    • I’m glad you enjoyed. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Hi Cory – my mouth is watering already! 🙂 I love the taste of smoked food – BBQs are my absolute faourite!

    We don’t have a smoker and I’ve been trying to persuade my wife that we should get one but she thinks it’ll just be more work for her. It’s strange how men tend to cook on BBQs, though, so I tell her I’ll do  all the smkoing. I show her recipes and I think she’s wavering 🙂

    I particulrly like the ability to customise your smoke flavour. Do the different chips produce different flavours or just a different sttength of smoke? I love the idea of smoked apple-flavoured trout. Or is it more the marinade that determines the flavour?

    If you’re going to do this, you’d want to do a batch, as per the recipes, so would have to freeze some. How do you recommend cooking or heating it up again after freezing? Just the usual and is the flavour preserved or is there a better way to maintain the falvour. We almost never freeze fish and usually only buy fresh what we’re going to eat.

    Thanks for putting me a step closer to a smoker :-)Ian

    • With smoked fish, I don’t reheat it after it’s been frozen I just thaw it out and eat it that way. The different chips give the fish different smokey flavors and the marinade gives it the real deep down taste of the fish or meat.

  5. Hey Cory This is just what I was looking for because I wanted to know how to smoke trout and I am so glad I found this site How to smoke Trout In A SMOKER? ] A Sure Fire Guid.This was very helpful to me It has detailed step by step instructions that I followed and the trout tasted great.I would refer anyone to come to this site

    • I’m glad you liked it! Thanks.


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