Last Updated on January 17, 2023 by Anne-Marie
This delicious smoked trout recipe is easily cooked in your smoker grill. It’s guaranteed to leave your fish perfectly cooked and full of great smoky flavor.
Why this recipe works
Smoking trout is the only way to cook up your catch after coming home with a cooler full of fresh fish.
Once you’ve tried this smoked fish recipe, you’ll never go back to grilling or baking fish again!
- 4 medium to large trout, cleaned (leave whole with head on/off or fillet)
- 1 bottle of your favorite marinade or salad dressing
- Sliced onions
- Herb sprigs (fresh dill, tarragon, rosemary, etc.)
- Pats of butter or dairy-free spread
- Lemon slices for serving
How to make smoked trout
1. Place cleaned trout or trout fillets in a large sealable plastic bag.
2. Empty the bottle of the marinade over the fish into the bag.
3. Seal the bag and place fish in the refrigerator to marinate for 8 to 10 hours up to 2 days.
1. Set your smoker to 150 degrees F and use a mild wood such as pecan, apple, oak, or alder.
2. When the grill reaches the proper temperature, spray the smoker grate with a high-temperature cooking spray.
3. Place onion, herbs, and pats of butter (or buttery spread) inside the fish cavity. Then lay the trout directly on the smoker grate. There should be enough space between your trout so the smoke can reach all parts of the fish.
4. Let the fish smoke for 30 minutes at 150 degrees to dry the outside of the fish so that it’s firmer in the later stages of smoking.
5. After 30 minutes, raise the temperature to 225 degrees to finish the smoking process.
6. Smoke until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. If you go higher than this, the fish will dry out and turn into jerky.
Total cooking time usually takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your fish and how many you’re smoking at one time.
How to prepare fresh trout
Descale the fish: Using a large chef knife, scrape from the tail toward the head to remove the scales. Scales tend to go flying, so you may want to do this in your sink or outside on a table covered in newspaper for easy cleanup.
Debone the fish: remove the pin bones with clean pliers or culinary tweezers.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels to remove any leftover scales or bones that stick to the skin and meat.
If you’re buying trout fillets from the store, the fishmonger can descale and debone it for you.
Do you have to brine trout for smoking?
Some people like to wet brine the trout, but I feel it isn’t necessary.
However, if you do want to make a wet brine, most use a combination of cold water, beer or juice, kosher salt, and brown sugar.
You can also make a dry brine or rub with brown sugar and spices like black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
What kind of marinade should I use?
You can use any type of premade bottled cooking sauces or marinade for smoking trout that you find at the grocery store.
I like San-J’s gluten-free cooking sauces because they’re tasty and gluten-free.
There are also packets of grilling spices that you can use for smoking trout in an electric smoker or for grilling.
What’s even better and less expensive is a good vinaigrette salad dressing mixed with a few teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning.
You could use this homemade marinade recipe with some fresh herbs from the garden for your smoked trout recipe.
Since the smoked lake trout is just sitting on the grill and not being flipped, add slices of onions, sprigs of herbs, and pats of butter on the inside of the fish for extra flavor. It’s totally up to you!
What type of smoker?
We used to smoke our fish on a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, which I loved.
When it died, we bought a Classic Kamado Joe. My husband loves smoking everything from ribs to steaks to fish on it even more!
Not sure what’s the best smoker grill to cook your trout on? Check out my Best Smoker Grill Combo Guide!
What flavor of wood pellets or wood chips?
This simple smoked trout recipe calls for a mild wood chip or pellet.
I liked using pecan or applewood pellets in my electric smoker. You can also use oak or alder pellets or chips.
Spray your grill with a grilling cooking spray, so the skin side doesn’t stick to the grill.
Can I use other fish?
If you like to fish, you can use rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, or lake trout in this recipe.
You can also use salmon from the store since salmon and trout are in the same fish family.
Trout reside in either freshwater or saltwater, while salmon only are found in saltwater.
If a trout is found in saltwater, it’s called a steelhead trout.
Again you can use whole trout (head on or off) or lake trout fillets in this recipe.
How to serve smoked trout
An easy side dish to serve with your easy smoked trout recipe is steamed rice or an Awesome Garbanzo Bean Salad.
It’s the perfect fish for serving cold. Make a smoked trout salad with leafy greens, freshly sliced vegetables, and a homemade low-carb ranch dressing.
You can also use the trout flakes to make trout dip with some sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, a little lemon zest, and chopped fresh dill.
More easy seafood and fish recipes
If you love seafood, try these easy to make recipes:
- Spicy Instant Pot Jambalaya Recipe
- Seafood Risotto
- Hot Crab Spinach Dip Recipe Baked in French Bread Bowl
- Easy Cioppino Seafood Stew Recipe
- Shrimp Puttanesca with Quinoa Recipe
- Easy Grilled Salmon in Foil Recipe
- Crab Pasta Recipe with Pesto, Mushrooms & Tomatoes
- How to Throw a Cajun Seafood Boil Party
- Easy Dairy-Free Oyster Chowder Recipe
- Ahi Tuna Tacos Recipe with Wasabi Cream and Mango Avocado Salsa
- 4 medium to large trout, cleaned (leave head and tail on or remove)
- 1 bottle your favorite marinade or salad dressing
- Sliced onions
- Herb sprigs
- Pats of butter or dairy free buttery spread
- Lemon for serving
- Place cleaned trout in a large sealable plastic bag.
- Empty the entire bottle of the marinade over the fish into the bag.
- Seal the bag and place fish in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours up to 2 days.
- Set your smoker to 150 degrees and use a mild wood such as pecan, apple, oak, or alder.
- When the grill reaches temperature, spray the smoker grate with a high-temperature cooking spray.
- Place onion, herbs, and pats of butter (or buttery spread) inside the fish cavity. Then lay the trout directly on the smoker grate. There should be enough space between your trout so the smoke can reach all parts of the fish.
- Let the fish smoke for 30 minutes at 150 degrees to dry the outside of the fish so that it can be firmer in the later stages of smoking.
- After 30 minutes raise the temperature to 225 degrees to finish the smoking process.
- Smoke until the fish reaches 145 degrees. If you go higher than this the fish will start to turn into fish jerky. Total cooking time usually takes 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of your fish and how many you’re smoking at one time.
Serving Size:1 fish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 1369mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.
Originally posted on July 29, 2011. Updated with new pictures.