3-Step Smoked Trout Fillet Recipe- Traeger, Pit Boss, or Other Pellet Grill

This 3-step smoked trout fillet recipe is bursting with flavor and is a simple and delicious way to cook fresh trout. Few ingredients and easy instructions make this smoked trout recipe accessible to experienced smokers and newbies alike. Enjoy it on top of a salad or as your main, smoked trout is a super versatile high protein delicacy.

About Smoked Trout

I didn’t grow up eating fish; since being married I have been slowly learning to cook with it. When my husband came home from a fishing trip in Northern Saskatchewan toting a large cooler of fresh rainbow trout and other freshwater fish, I knew that we would need to get creative with a variety of different cooking methods. Cue the pellet grill! Everything tastes better with a little bit of smoke flavour- especially trout.

Similar to salmon, trout is meaty with beautiful orange-pink flesh. Unlike salmon, trout is a fresh water fish and it is generally smaller and slightly lower in fat. Whether you have caught your limit in trout or you scored some at the local grocery store, I would argue that there is no better way to cook your trout fillets than over smoke. I like to use a pellet grill because it is really reliable and consistent heat. If you are a whiz with open flame, venture out and use an alternative smoker.

This recipe works for all kinds of trout including lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and steelhead trout.

Smoked Trout Brine

Super simple with three ingredients (kosher salt, brown sugar, cold water), this wet brine is a no brainer. Brining fish is the best way to enhance the flavor, texture, and moisture content. A bonus to brining fish is that it is a quick process! Fifteen minutes brine time for a small fillet is best– any longer and your fish will begin to cure. Larger trout fillets or whole trout can handle about 30 minutes of brine time.

If you want to add extra flavor to your brine, throw in some chopped fresh dill, garlic, or onions. The fast brine time means that these extra flavors won’t have a lot of time to set in… I opt. to season the fillets with my favourite spices and herbs after they have been blotted dry with paper towels.

Key Ingredients + Equipment

Smoked Trout Fillet Ingredients

Fresh Trout Fillets: My fillets were around 0.27-0.32 kg or 0.6-0.7 pounds. Adjust the cook time depending on how big your fillets are. Opt for skin-on fillets- it keeps the fish moist and prevents them from sticking on the smoker.

Fresh Dill + Lemons: Use this as garnish for your smoked trout fillets.

Dry Rub: I love the Fin and Feather dry rub from Traeger for this recipe. Use your favourite fish seasoning or opt to make your own with Dry Rub from Simply Recipes.

Brine Ingredients:

Cold Water

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar helps to add a slight caramel flavor while mellowing out the salt.

Kosher Salt: I love to use pink himalayan salt.

Equipment

Pellet Smoker: I love my Traeger Ironwood 885. It has tons of room and consistent heating. Other great pellet smoker brands include Pit Boss, Green Mountain Grill, Rec Tec, Etc…

If you are using a charcoal grill, gas grill, or other smoker, consider placing the trout fillets on the grill grate over indirect heat.

The Best Pellets/Chips for Smoked Trout Fillets

Ultimately, any wood chips or pellets will work great for smoking fish. Mild or fruit wood chips are very popular and don’t overpower the trout’s natural flavors. The following are some of my favourite woods for smoking trout:

  1. Pecan: Pecan pellets are my ultimate favourite for smoking all kinds of meat. They are neutral and allow the flavours of the meat to shine through.
  2. Alder: Alder is another mild flavored wood and lends nicely to smoked trout.
  3. Maple: Slightly sweet, this wood works great for smoking all kinds of fish.
  4. Oak: Oak whisky barrel chips offer a unique flavor and aroma when cooking fish.
  5. Apple or Cherry: These wood pellets offer a mild fruity flavor that will boost any mild fish.

Batch + Yield

This recipe yields four servings (one smoked trout fillet/person)

Store the smoked trout fillets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.

Tips + Tricks

Use skin-on trout fillets when possible to retain moisture and prevent it from sticking to the grill grates. If you don’t have skin-on fillets, brush the underside of the fillet with olive oil and place on a soaked cedar grilling board.

Use good quality, fresh fish! Your end product won’t be as tasty if your fish isn’t relatively fresh. If your fillets are frozen, simply thaw them in the fridge overnight.

Exactly How To Make Smoked Trout Fillets

BRINE.

Make your simple brine. Mix the brown sugar, salt and cold water in a large bowl until it is fully dissolved and combined. Pour over your fillets and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes for small fillets or up to 30 minutes for large trout fillets.

After your desired brine time, drain the fish and blot the fillets dry with paper towel. Simply season liberally with salt and black pepper to taste or use your favourite rub (Traeger Fin and Feather is a great option). If you want to make your own seasoning, Simply Recipes has a great dry rub for fish and seafood.

SMOKE.

Preheat your smoker to 185°F (85°C).

Place fillets skin side down, directly on the grill grates.

Smoke the trout fillets for 1.5-2 hours. Use a probe to measure the internal temperature of the fish. It should read 145°F (63°C). Alternatively, you can use an infrared thermometer to measure internal temp. Larger fillets will take a longer amount of time. Trout is done when heated to 145°F and the flesh is opaque and easily flakes apart.

SERVE.

Garnish your smoked trout fillets with a sprig of dill or other fresh herbs and a lemon wedge. A squeeze of lemon juice goes a long way to boost your trout’s flavor. Serve warm over a kale salad, with a side of rice, or your favourite side! You can also cool the smoked trout and serve it with your favourite crackers, cheese and other snacks. Flake your smoked trout fillets and add them to creamy pastas and potato salads.

Printable Smoked Trout Fillet Recipe Card

Smoked trout fillets on a marble board with lemon wedges, dill, peppercorns, and fresh greens.

3-Step Smoked Trout Fillet Recipe - Traeger, Pit Boss, or Other Pellet Grill

Yield: 4 fillets
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This 3-step smoked trout fillet recipe is bursting with flavor and is a simple and delicious way to cook fresh trout. Few ingredients and easy instructions make this smoked trout recipe accessible to experienced smokers and newbies alike. 

Ingredients

  • 4 trout fillets
  • 4 springs of dill
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dry rub

Brine

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups cold water

Instructions

  1. BRINE. Make your simple brine. Mix the brown sugar, salt and cold water in a large bowl until it is fully dissolved and combined. Pour over your fillets and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes for small fillets or up to 30 minutes for large trout fillets. After your desired brine time, drain the fish and blot the fillets dry with paper towel. Simply season liberally with salt and black pepper to taste or use your favourite rub (Traeger Fin and Feather is a great option). If you want to make your own seasoning, Simply Recipes has a great dry rub for fish and seafood.
  2. SMOKE. Preheat your smoker to 185°F (85°C). Place fillets skin side down, directly on the grill grates. Smoke the trout fillets for 1.5-2 hours. Use a probe to measure the internal temperature of the fish. It should read 145°F (63°C). Alternatively, you can use an infrared thermometer to measure internal temp. Larger fillets will take a longer amount of time. Trout is done when heated to 145°F and the flesh is opaque and easily flakes apart.
  3. SERVE. Garnish your smoked trout fillets with a sprig of dill or other fresh herbs and a lemon wedge. A squeeze of lemon juice goes a long way to boost your trout’s flavor. Serve warm over a kale salad, with a side of rice, or your favourite side! You can also cool the smoked trout and serve it with your favourite crackers, cheese and other snacks. Flake your smoked trout fillets and add them to creamy pastas and potato salads.

Notes

Use skin-on trout fillets when possible to retain moisture and prevent it from sticking to the grill grates. If you don’t have skin-on fillets, brush the underside of the fillet with olive oil and place on a soaked cedar grilling board.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 1941mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 17g

Did you make this recipe?

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FAQ

Is trout a good fish to smoke?

Trout is a great fish for smoking. More mild in flavour when compared to salmon, trout soaks up a lot of smokey flavor to make a delicious entree or appetizer.

What is the difference between hot smoked and cold smoked trout?

Hot smoked trout is usually eaten soon after cooking as a main or a side. Cold smoked trout is similar to smoked, candied salmon- used as more of a snack or appetizer. Hot smoke trout is “cooked” to a certain temperature where as cold smoked trout is preserved through the smoking process, not cooked.

What can I eat with smoked trout?

Smoked trout it delicious served over a bed of fresh greens like kale, spinach, or lettuce. It pairs well with fruit such as sliced apples and mild starches like rice or potatoes. If you are feeling ambitious, serve it on a toasted piece of my homemade whole grain sourdough!

What is the best temperature to smoke trout?

Trout is best smoked around 180-200°F. Any higher than 215°F and you risk cooking the fish too fast without retaining that delicious smoke flavour.

Can you smoke trout without a brine?

Yes! You can skip the brine if you are pressed for time and ingredients; however, Brining the fish intensifies flavour, texture, and moisture. I’m “pro brine.”

How long does it take to smoke trout fillets?

This simple smoked trout recipe takes around 1.5-2 hours to bring the trout fillets to an internal temperature of 145°F. If your trout is more meaty, budget around 2.5 hours.

How do I know my smoked trout is done?

Use a probe or other thermometer to ensure that your trout internal temperature is at 145°F. Fully cooked trout should be opaque and should flake easily.

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