Smoked Seafood Recipes

Smoked Fish Recipes

Yes, Fish can be smoked on the BBQ, but keep in mind that because it is delicate, it typically isn’t cooked very long and the smoking woods used are general lighter: citrus fruit woods, alder,etc.

Lightly Smoked Cod Fish

Smoked   luefish

Cajun Smoked Catfish

Lemon Smoked Tuna Recipe

Smoked Shrimp Kabobs

The How-tos of Smoking Fish on a BBQ.


Lightly Smoked Cod Fish

Total time: 30 minutes
This is a cross between smoker cooking and grilling, and it flavored the cod perfectly:       a light smoke and dill combination.  It needed nothing else.


  • 2 filets of cod, or other thick, firm white fish, 350gr, 12.5oz
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 TBS olive oil, 13.5gr, 4.8oz
  • 1 TSP soy sauce, 5.3gr, .19oz
  • Wood chunks or planklets for smoking – any mild wood: orange, tangerine, grapefruit or apple.
  • Weber-type kettle barbecue or kamado with charcoal or Gas Grill


  • Put some charcoal in the barbecue, off to one side and light it.   Mix the soy sauce and the olive oil.  Brush on the fish.  Sprinkle the dill weed on top.
  • When the coals are glowing, add the fish – either in a basket or on a grill mat of some sort, to the other side – in other words, NOT over the coals.
  • Place a smoker box or a chunk or two of wood and cover.
  • Wait until the smoke is not thick and white, this will make the fish bitter
  • Check it halfway through and add more wood if it has stopped smoking. It’s done when if flakes easily with a fork.  Maybe 30 minutes.
  • To use a gas grill:   Only light one side of the grill.  Place the wood chunks or smoker box on the grill.  Keep the fish off of direct heat and the grill cover closed and vented or propped open an inch or so.


Smoked Bluefish

Bluefish is a cold-water Atlantic predator fish, they are a common sport and food fish here and are especially popular along the Connecticut coastline during the annual run that goes from mid-July through August.

Blues have dark and somewhat purple-bluish flesh which is oily and tends to be on the “fishy” side, similar to mackerel. If it’s handled properly – iced immediately after catching, and kept cold – the flavor is no stronger than other oily fish like salmon or swordfish. People who prefer very mild white fish often don’t care much for blue, however.

It’s grilled or to add a richer flavor to a fish chowder, and I also like cutting fillets into small bites and making “bluefish nuggets.” But most of all, I love it smoked.

Smoking bluefish isn’t complicated, but it does take some time. The process is similar to making homemade bacon with the biggest difference (besides the brine itself) being that the fish doesn’t have to sit in a cure for a week.

Preparing the fish:

Start by making a brine. You can make as much as you’ll need to completely cover the fish

1 quart water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup kosher or pickling salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 or 4 bay leaves, crushed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

Combine the water and soy sauce. Add the salt and sugar and stir or shake to dissolve completely. Pour over the bluefish to cover in a shallow pan and add the bay leaves, mustard seed, and peppercorns. Cover and refrigerate while brining – a minimum of four hours.

Brining the bluefish is important. It adds to and enhances the flavor, of course, but it also helps the fish to retain moisture during the smoking process. You should leave the fish in the brine for at least four hours, but it’s okay to let it go longer (even a couple of days if you’re not going to get to it right away – the brine is a great preservative also.) Just remember that the longer you leave it in the brine, the saltier it may be.

Getting ready for the smoker:

Smoke doesn’t like to stick to wet surfaces, and the heat of the smoker can drive moisture out of the fish. And so, the next step is as important as the brine. When you take the fish out of the brine, place the fillets on a metal rack set above a few layers of newspapers. Allow the fish to dry for several hours, until the surface of the fish is dry and feels a bit tacky to the touch. It will take at least three hours, but if it’s a damp day it can take five hours or more. If you’re squeamish about leaving the fish out that long, make room in the refrigerator for the racks and dry them in there.

That dry, sticky surface is called a “pellicle,” and it is formed by proteins on the surface of the fish as they are exposed to air. The pellicle will give the smoke a good surface to adhere to and protect the fish from giving up too much moisture while it’s in your smoker.

Smoking the fish:

When the fish is dry, transfer it to the racks of your smoker. Bring the temperature of the smoker up to about 200 F for the first hour of smoking, then drop it to 150 F for another two hours or so.

At the end of that time, average-sized fillets will be done – moist but firm, flaky, and dry, perfect for snacking or using as an ingredient in a dip or paté.

Larger, thicker fillets may need more time. Just extend the time at 150 F for as long as needed to get the firm texture you’re looking for.

The delicious finished product will have – a rich chestnut brown color, slightly darker around the edges, tender and moist but firm enough to pick up without falling totally apart. The flavor will be amazing: one of my friends described it as “fish bacon.”

Smoke notes:

Bluefish has a strong flavor, so choose your smoking wood accordingly. In this case, you may want to go with an assertive smoke like mesquite, hickory, or even walnut or cherry to hold up to the taste of the fish rather than choosing a mild wood like maple or apple.


Cajun Smoked Catfish

How to Smoke Catfish
This recipe is specially designed to enhance the flavor of the catfish with a little spice without masking the natural fish flavor with smoke. After years of smoking different kinds of meats and fish, there are special smoking techniques this recipe incorporates to ensure a delicious fish that won’t dry or overly saturated with smoke flavor. Brining the fish will help prevent it from drying out and using lighter fruit woods like orange or apple are just a few pointers that will help you along the way.

Cajun Smoked Catfish Ingredients

  • 4-8 catfish fillets
  • Water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup hot sauce (Louisiana preferred)
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cherry or apple wood chips

Smoked Catfish Recipe Directions

  1. This recipe calls for a brine to help the fish fillets absorb water and salt before smoking them. The brine will help keep the fish from drying out. Start by filling a couple casserole dishes half full with room temperature water. Put 1/2 a cup of salt in each casserole dish and then lay the catfish fillets inside the salty water mixture. Set the dishes in the refrigerator for 4 hours to let them brine.
  2. Fire up your grill to 200 degrees. Typical smoking is done between 220-250, but a little lower temperature for these catfish is nice to have to prevent them from cooking too quickly without absorbing the smoke flavor.
  3. Take your catfish out of the refrigerator and out of the brine mixture. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
  4. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper all along the top of the fillets and then drizzle hot sauce on top.
  5. Once your smoker is up to temperature, add orange, tagerine, cherry or apple wood. Then put your catfish on the smoker grate and close the lid. Position the vents 1/2 to 3/4 open. You can adjust the vents more closed to lower the temperature or open them to increase it while you are smoking. Make sure you maintain the same temperature the entire time you are cooking.
  6. Your catfish fillets should take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to smoke, depending on the temperature of your smoker and their distance away from the source of the heat. Once the fish has turned flaky white with a warm center, you can take it off the smoker and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. Letting the fish sit with foil over the top on your counter will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the fillets before serving


Lemon Smoked Tuna Recipe

How to Smoke Tuna Steak
Tuna is a great alternative to smoking red meat as it is packed with proteins and vitamins and also low in fat. Tuna steak typically comes from Ahi tuna, which is the most high quality tuna you can purchase. Canned tuna usually comes from Albacore, which is a lesser quality tuna with a fishier smell. This recipe is made with Ahi tuna steaks, but you can also substitute yellow fin tuna steaks if you are unable to find Ahi due to seasonality. Lemon is one of the most popular flavors paired with tuna and helps to bring out the natural flavors of all fish. This lemon smoked tuna recipe is sure to please a variety of pallets who enjoy a nice tuna steak.

Lemon Smoked Tuna Recipe Ingredients
  • 4 Ahi tuna steaks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 bag of charcoal (if you have a charcoal smoker)
  • 1 bottle of lighter fluid or a charcoal chimney starter
  • 1 or 2 bags of wood chips of your choice
Lemon Smoked Tuna Recipe Directions
  1. About and hour before you want to start cooking, combine your olive oil, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, salt, pepper, and minced garlic together and rub it directly on both sides of the Ahi tuna steaks. Place a slice of lemon directly on each of your tuna steak fillets. Make sure your lemon tuna steaks are either sitting on ice or left in the refrigerator to keep them chilled during this time.
  2. Light you grill smoker approximately 30 minutes, or 10 minutes before with a gas grill, before you want to start cooking.
  3. Place  your wood plankettes in an aluminum foil pouch or a metal smoker box. Punch holes in the foil pouch to let the smoke escape out the top.
  4. Next simply put your Ahi tuna steak fillets on the grates of your smoker.
  5. Check the lemon smoked tuna about a half hour into the smoking time and flip your tuna steaks. Be careful that the tuna doesn’t flake apart and fall through the grates by using a large spatula that can slide completely under the tuna steaks. Smoke the tuna for another half hour and your tuna should be ready to take off the smoker and serve. Garnish the lemon smoked tuna with a freshly sliced lemon.
Lemon Smoked Tuna Cooking Time

The cooking time for this lemon smoked tuna is about 1 hour. Some people like to eat Ahi tuna steaks rare or with sushi, so you really can’t go wrong when it comes to the cooking time on this recipe. You just want to leave the tuna steaks on the smoker long enough to absorb the smoky flavor of your wood.


Smoked Shrimp Kabobs

How to Make Smoked Shrimp Kabobs
Shrimp is a great smoked food because the smoke brings out the natural flavors of the fish. Like most of smoked shrimp recipes, there are actually two different ways to cook them. Some people prefer to purchase jumbo shrimp with the shell still on, and others prefer to smoke shrimp without the shell. If you are going for presentation right when this tasty appetizer comes off the smoker, we recommend removing the shell before you put the shrimp on. Otherwise, some people prefer to leave the shell on as it can protect the shrimp from becoming too smoky in flavor that can overwhelm some pallets. Either way, smoked shrimp kabobs are an easy recipe to make a before dinner treat.

Smoked Shrimp Kabob Recipe Ingredients
  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds large or jumbo shrimp (20-25 pieces of shrimp)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of charcoal (if you have a charcoal smoker)
  • 1 bottle of lighter fluid or a charcoal chimney starter
  • 1 or 2 bags of wood chips of your choice
Smoked Shrimp Kabob Recipe Directions
  1. Light your charcoal  or whatever type grill you have approximately 30 minutes, or 10 minutes before with a gas grill, before you want to start cooking.
  2. Place your smoke wood in an aluminum foil pouch or a metal smoker box. Punch holes in the foil pouch to let the smoke escape out the top.
  3. Season your shrimp with all of the ingredients: garlic, parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Next, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil on top of the shrimp.
  4. Then skewer your shrimps on a kabob, going through each shrimp at the top and bottom.
  5. Place your shrimp kabobs on your smoker once it is heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the wood chip foil pouch directly on your charcoal or inside your metal smoker box. The smoke will rise and flavor your shrimp throughout the smoking process.
  6. Smoke the shrimp for about 30-35 minutes or until your shrimp reaches an opaque white color.
Shrimp Kabob Smoking Time

Smoked shrimp recipes have an extremely short cooking time. Some people eat shrimp raw, so the smoking process will lightly cook the shrimp and give it a great flavor. Your shrimp should only cook for about 30-35 minutes or it will begin to dry out on the smoker.


The How-tos of smoking fish in a smoker or BBQ grll

The Best Fish to Smoke
  • Fattier fish like salmon or sea bass absorb smoke better than leaner fish. While any fish will be delicious cooked in the smoker, we suggest going with tuna, salmon, sea bass, or sailfish for tender, moist smoked fish.
  1. How to Prepare Fish.
    There are many different ways to enjoy smoked fish, and these variations mostly depend on how you prepare it.  Whole fish makes a delicious smoked fish treat because the skin crisps up and separates from the meat of the fish.  Fish fillets with skin on are our favorite, though, because they are easy to eat and hold up well in the heat of the smoker.  Be prepared to brine your fish. We have instructions on how to do that.
  2. Choose the Right Wood!
    Sweet, mild woods like orange, tangerine, apple, cherry, or alder are the best option for smoked fish because they won’t overpower the delicate, mild flavor of the meat., with the exception of stronger tasting fish like blue fish .
  3. Smoke Fish. Preheat smoker and add planklets to get things going. We suggest letting the smoke wood preheat for about 30-45 mins (when the smoke is no longer white, but then and bluish). Add fish and let smoke for about 3 hours at 175-200F.
  4. Test the Temperature. Whether your fish is caught wild from a stream or plucked from the meat aisle, it’s vital to smoke your fish until it has reached a safe internal temperature.  Most fish fillets will be done once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. You can use a digital meat thermometer to check the temperature throughout the cook time to be sure.

Hot Tip: If your fillets aren’t thick enough for the meat probe to get an accurate reading, calculate the smoke time for about three hours plus 30 minutes per pound of fish.