Smoked Trout

5 reviews

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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 trout filets with lemon wedges, red onions, and capers on a wood board.

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 minutes. If you’ve got a thicker filet of steelhead trout, brine for 30-40 minutes.

steelhead trout in a glass container with brine liquid.

6 trout filets in a glass dish in a brining liquid.

How to Smoke Trout

Start to finish, smoking trout is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Brine. A simple salt and sugar liquid to add flavor and moisture.
  2. Smoke. Mild smoke at low temperatures to cook and flavor the trout.
  3. 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 Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze
Grilled Halibut
Smoked Salmon Dip (works great with smoked trout instead of salmon!)

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 InstagramFacebook, and YouTube!

Smoked Trout

By: Susie Bulloch (
4.8 from 5 votes
This Smoked Trout is a delicious way to cook fresh trout. The trout takes on an amazing amount of smoke flavor, and you can enjoy the trout in a variety of 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!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Brining Time15 minutes
Total Time2 hours
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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.


Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 10mg | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

27 Reviews

  1. Kyle says:

    How and how long to store the smoked trout?

  2. Steve C. says:

    I followed instructions exactly, but at 2 hrs., they were only 115*, and 125* at 3 hrs. I bumped up cooking temp to 225 on my Traeger for about 35 mins. to reach 145 in the thickest part. Not sure what the issue was. Wondering if brining at room temp vs fridge would help? They were tasty tho.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Brining at room temp is a pretty good way to get sick, so I don’t recommend that. Also, every piece of meat cooks differently, so you should track temperature instead of time. A few things could have caused it, like the size of your fish or that your smoker isn’t actually running at the temperature it says it is. Have you verified its accuracy with a known-accurate external thermometer?

      1. Alex says:

        I normally let most meats sit on the counter for an hour or two before cooking to allow them to reach room temp. Burgers and steak are an exception. Never been sick from my own cooking, nor has my wife or family.

        Regardless, I’m in a similar spot. It’s been two hours and I’ve got three whole trout splayed open, skin up, and they’re around 125F after two hours at 180-185. They went in the smoker with an internal temp close to 60 if I had to guess. Plenty of room between each fish. This is in an offset smoker. I reckon three hours ought to do it.

  3. Joel says:

    I brine for 30 mins then pat dry. Then right in the smoker. I use a combination of apple an pecan wood.comes out fabulous!! Thank you for the recipe!!