This Smoked Trout is a delicious way to cook fresh trout. The trout stays moist thanks to a simple brine and takes on an amazing amount of smoke flavor. You can enjoy this trout in so many ways! So whether you’re a fishing enthusiast looking to cook your fresh catch, or you prefer buying your fish at the store, this recipe will help you smoke it to perfection!
Smoked Lake Trout
Honest moment here: I’m not a big fisher. I didn’t fish a lot growing up but my husband, Todd, grew up fishing and his favorite way to enjoy brook or lake trout was sauteed in a pan with a lot of butter. My whole goal with this recipe was to make a smoked trout lover out of Todd.
While I’ve rarely smoked my own fresh caught lake trout, I understand how amazing it can be to catch a fish, prep it, smoke it, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I have so much admiration for those of you who catch your own food! And since you put in all that effort to catch the fish in the first place, let’s make sure it’s cooked well too.
Smoked Trout Brine
First step in smoking fish (after catching or buying the trout, of course) is brining! This recipe calls for a wet brine of water, brown sugar, and kosher salt. I like to keep my brine simple and add in some brown sugar for a rich, sweet element. I find the sugar, salt, and smoke work well together to enhance the flavor of the trout without being overpowering.
I use a simple brine recipe of 2 cups water, 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (coarse grain) and 1 Tablespoon brown sugar. You can add in aromatics or flavor in the form of fresh herbs (dill is a favorite) or fresh garlic and onions. Place the trout in the brine and set it in the refrigerator.
If you’ve got thinner filets of brook or lake trout, brine for 15-20 minutes. If you’ve got a thicker filet of steelhead trout, brine for 30-40 minutes.
How to Smoke Trout
Start to finish, smoking trout is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Brine. A simple salt and sugar liquid to add flavor and moisture.
- Smoke. Mild smoke at low temperatures to cook and flavor the trout.
- Serve. Eat warm with your favorite sides or serve chilled as an appetizer.
Once your trout has finished brining, it’s ready to smoke. Preheat your smoker (I prefer to use a pellet smoker, but this recipe works for whatever smoker you have on your patio) to 180 degrees F. Once your smoker is preheated, remove the fillets from the brine.
Smoke the trout fillets until your trout reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. At this point, your trout should be cooked throughout and should flake easily.
This trout can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can eat it hot off the grill, or you can allow it to cool and serve it with a variety of accouterments. It can be flaked and eaten with capers, lemons and red onion on a bagel. With cream cheese on top of a cracker or crusty bread. Experiment and determine how you like to enjoy eating your smoked trout.
How Long to Smoke Trout
It will take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours to fully smoke trout. This variation in time greatly depends on the thickness of your trout fillets. Make sure to smoke trout until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees F and the meat of your fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
I always recommend investing in a sturdy meat thermometer so you don’t have to play the guessing game of “Is my food done yet?” Cooking to temperature is always going to be more accurate than cooking to time.
More BBQ Fish Recipes
Fish and BBQ were made for each other. Whether you prefer to grill or smoke your fish, Hey Grill Hey has some delicious recipes for you to try:
Smoked Trout Recipe
Follow the recipe below and let’s make something delicious! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind the scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!
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- 6 rainbow trout fillets
- accouterments ((I like to eat smoked trout with red onions, capers, cream cheese, and crusty bread))
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 cups cool water
- Make the brine for the trout by dissolving kosher salt and brown sugar in water.
- Place the trout fillets skin side up in the brine and brine the fillets for 15 minutes
- Preheat your smoker to 180 degrees F.
- Remove the trout from the brine and place the fillets directly on the grates of your smoker.
- Close the lid and smoke the trout for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the thickness of your fillets. Smoke until the trout reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. You want to smoke the trout fillets until the trout flakes easily.
- Remove the trout from the smoker and serve warm, or cool completely and serve chilled with your favorite accouterments.