How to Smoke Fish in an Electric Smoker?

How to Smoke Fish in an Electric Smoker?

Smoking fish with an electric smoker is a culinary journey that transforms fresh catches into savory delights. Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking to elevate your catch or a home cook eager to delve into the world of smoking, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of achieving perfectly smoked fish using an electric smoker.

Choosing the Right Fish:

Begin your smoking adventure by selecting the right type of fish. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, or mackerel are excellent choices, as their higher oil content adds flavor and moisture during the smoking process. Ensure the fish is fresh, properly cleaned, and scaled.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

1. Fresh Fish Fillets:

Opt for fillets with skin intact for added flavor and moisture retention.

2. Brine Mixture:

Create a brine by combining water, salt, sugar, and optional herbs or spices for added flavor. Submerge the fish fillets inside the brine for as a minimum 1-2 hours to beautify flavor and moisture.

3. Wood Chips: 

Choose wood chips that complement the delicate flavor of fish. Fruitwoods like apple or cherry work well. Soak the chips for about 30 minutes before smoking.

4. Seasonings: 

Customize your fish by adding seasonings like black pepper, garlic powder, or a sprinkle of herbs before smoking.

Step-by-Step Smoking Guide:

1. Preheat the Electric Smoker:

Start by preheating your electric smoker to a temperature between 180°F to 225°F (82°C to 107°C). This slow cooking method imparts a rich smoky flavor to the fish.

2. Prepare the Fish:

Remove the fish fillets from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Allow the fillets to air-dry for about 15-30 minutes to form a tacky surface known as the pellicle, which allows the smoke adhere to the fish.

3. Add Wood Chips:

Place the soaked wood chips in the electric smoker’s chip tray or box. Ensure that you follow your smoker’s instructions for wood chip placement.

4. Season the Fish:

Lightly season the fish fillets with your chosen spices or herbs. A easy mix of black pepper and garlic powder complements the smoky taste fantastically.

5. Arrange on Smoker Racks:

Place the seasoned fish fillets on the smoker racks, leaving space between each piece for the smoke to circulate.

6. Smoke the Fish:

Carefully position the smoker racks inside the preheated electric smoker. Close the smoker door, and let the fish smoke at the set temperature for 1 to 3 hours, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of the fish, aiming for at least 145°F (63°C).

7. Monitor and Adjust:

Periodically check the wood chip levels and water pan in the smoker. Add more soaked wood chips if needed and ensure there’s enough moisture to prevent the fish from drying out.

8. Finish and Rest:

As soon as the fish reaches the favored internal temperature, cautiously get rid of it from the smoker. Allow the smoked fish to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Tips for Perfectly Smoked Fish:

1. Experiment with Wood Flavors:

Try different wood flavors to discover your preferred combination. Alder, apple, cherry, and hickory are popular choices.

2. Maintain Consistent Temperature:

Keep a consistent smoking temperature for even results. Fluctuations can affect the texture and flavor of the fish.

Explore Brine Variations: Experiment with brine ingredients such as citrus, honey, or soy sauce for unique flavor profiles.


Smoking fish in an electric smoker is an art that rewards patience and attention to detail. With the right techniques and a hint of creativity, you could turn ordinary fish into a delectable smoked delicacy. Share the fruits of your smoking endeavor with friends and family, and savor the satisfaction of mastering the art of smoking fish in your electric smoker.

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