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smoked fish

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Never smoked fish,my mom just bout grouper and Tilapia are these good fish to smoke with and if so do i put some type of dry rub like garlic or what?
post #2 of 16
From what I remember tilapia doesn't have very much fat in the meat like a salmon or trout would. I don't think tilapia would be a good fish to smoke. Unless you were doing a smoke/grill then it would be ok. Grill/smoke it at a higher temp pretty much grilling but giving it a bit of a smokey flavor.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks i think ill dry smoked than grill to give it a crust.
post #4 of 16
For the Tilapia, I think you could treat them like panfish. Here's what I use, copied from Rodbuilder

Smoked pan fish

I smoke perch, crappie and bluegill all the time. It takes about 3 hours at 150 and I use cherry for smoke. Here is the brine recipe that I use...

2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbs Ground Ginger

I only brine for 1 hours and then rinse and let dry in the refrigerator for about an hour before smoking. You can add or subtract to suit your taste. Recipe is good for up to 2 lbs of fish...

post #5 of 16
Tilapia takes on a good smoke flavor, just be sure you get all the bones out of the flesh. I smoke it quite often, but I've never tried grouper.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
the peices are less than 1/2 inch thick pretty thin so small cant take more than 2 hours
post #7 of 16
All great advice above for the tilapia... But no way no how would i ever smoke grouper ( it is too good too many other ways )icon_mrgreen.gif But that's just me...Happy smokes
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
My fish come out to salty i guess cause i dint rinse em off after the brine i used 1 cup salt 1 gallon water half cup brown sugar and brined for 4 hours hope that was't the mistake.
post #9 of 16

Here's everything you need to know about smoking fish. I usually use orange roughy, but don't limit yourself. They all taste good!

I like to make smoked fish before smoking meat, so I can serve it as an appetizer while the meat smokes.

Only problem I have is I never seem to make enough!


Smokin' Fish



½ gallon of water at room temperature

1 cups Kosher salt

½  cup brown sugar

1/6 cup lemon juice

1½ tsp garlic juice (or 1½ tsp garlic powder)

1½ tsp onion powder

1½ tsp allspice (it's best to sift this into the water to avoid clumping

1 teaspoons black pepper


In a glass, or plastic container (never wood or metal), mix all of the ingredients thoroughly until dissolved.

Place the fish in the brine solution ensuring that all pieces are completely submerged. Weight the fish to maintain complete submersion.

For short brining periods (three hours of less) in cool temperatures the brine may be at room temperature if the fish is well chilled before placing it in to the brine. If the fish is not well chilled or the room temperature is warm, place the brine and fish in a refrigerator for the duration of the time of brining, or you can place bags containing ice in to the brine mixture to cool.



Weight of Each Piece of Fish

Time for Brining

Under ¼ lb.

30 minutes

¼ lb. To ½ lb.

45 minutes

½ lb. To 1 lb.

1 hour

1 lb. To 2 lb.

2 hours

2 lbs. To 3 lbs.

3 hours

3 lbs. To 4 lbs.

4 hours

4 lbs. To 5 lbs.

5 hours

 The total weight of the fish is irrelevant. Time of brining is established by the weight of the individual pieces of fish



At the end of the brining period removed the fish for drying.

Lightly rinse in fresh water.

Place the fish on elevated racks for drying prior to smoking. It is easiest to use the same racks that you will use in the smoker. Lightly oil the racks  to avoid sticking.

Place the racks of fish in a cool breezy place protected from flying insects. We usually place an electric fan near the racks to provide a breeze.

The time for drying is usually about one hour while a thin glaze called the pellicle is formed on the fish. The pellicle aids in the development of the color and flavor as the fish is smoking. It also helps keep in the juices and retain the firm texture of the fish as it is smoked.



Any hard wood (alder, apple, oak, hickory, pecan, cherry, mesquite or grape stock) works fine for smoking fish.

Too much smoke will cause the fish to taste bitter. Use just enough wood to maintain a steady smoke.

Smoke the fish at approximately 190 degrees. Lower temperatures can be used with a corresponding adjustment to the smoking time. At 190 degrees follow these approximate smoking times. 


Weight of Each Piece of Fish

Approximate Smoking Time

¼ lb. To ½ lb.

1¼ hours to 1½ hours

½ lb. To 1 lb.

1½ hours to 2 hours

1 lb. To 2 lbs.

2 hours to 2½ hours

3 lbs. To 4 lbs.

2½ hours to 3 hours

 The chart represents smoking times which will vary based upon the type of fish your are smoking, the equipment you are using and the temperature at which you are smoking. Cooking time needs to be increased depending on how many times you lift the lid or open the door to check on progress.

Smoked fish is done when it flakes easily while pressing it lightly with a knife of fork. On larger pieces of fish you may want to test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.


Serve while warm.


If you plan to store the fish, remove the racks to an elevated surface to cool. I've found you can set the racks on top of empty beer cans. Usually there are plenty of those around. Once the fish has cooled for a half hour or so, wrap tightly in foil and place the foil parcel and store in a zip lock bag.


Edited by MikeBham - 11/10/11 at 11:23am
post #10 of 16

very informative mike..

post #11 of 16

I'd just coat with EVOO and dust with cajun seasoning. Depending on how thick it is it may take about 2 hours. You will have to check it often when it's close to getting done. 

post #12 of 16

Listen to MikeBham   That's the way I do mine, Drying it in cool air is essential. 

post #13 of 16

This one looks like the way to go (for now, at least)... LOL...Each recipe I find is better than the last.... Thank you (I now have to tip out the basic brine I made)

post #14 of 16

Mike Bahm's recipe is spot on.  Only modification I made is to substitute a moxture of equal parts cinnamon, clove, and ginger for the allspice and keep the smoker temp closer to the 180 mark using a mix of lump charcoal and cherry wood.  My wife is usually not a fan of salmon, but she was all over this stuff.  Thanks for the great advice!

post #15 of 16

I never brine the fish I smoke. Just add my spices and spritz with canola oil/lemon juice mix.



These are Spanish Macks and Bluefish. Smoking time around 3 to 3 1/2 hours. You need that long if you want to use the fish for dip. Choice of wood...pecan

post #16 of 16

To MikeBham,


Mike just came across this webpage hunting for smoked panfish cooking chart, time/temp.  Bought a new Masterbuilt electric smoker, and smoking Crappie Fillets.


Really apprieciate the great Info and chart for smoking fish.


What type smoker you use ?



Mark S. In Missouri

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