Smoked Trout Recipe

Make smoked trout that tastes as good as, or better than, store-bought.

3rd time's a charm! After a couple of mediocre attempts to make good smoked trout, I found a recipe that was both simple and excellent. I get no credit for adaptation here - the recipe was straight from Smoke Grill BBQ, and finally gave me that flavor that tastes like the smoked trout you buy in stores. I will continue to try different recipes, but so far,  I rate this one a winner.

I used 2 large Ruby Trout fillets, skin on, from Costco. They were marinated for a few hours, and then smoked in my Green Mountain Daniel Boone pellet smoker for 2 hours 10 minutes . .. until an internal temperature of 145F. The result was moist, smoky, and rich. We ate it hot, and it was delicious. But the leftovers were SO good cold, with cream cheese and crackers, that we likely won't be heating them up. 

TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 50 min

  • Prep:        10 min
  • Marinate:  2+ hr
  • Inactive:   30 min
  • Cook:       2 hr 10 min

YIELD:    4 servings

LEVEL:  Medium



Cut slits into the skin of the trout to allow the marinade to penetrate. It requires a sharp knife.

Marinate the raw trout for at least two hours. Mix the lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together in a large ziploc bag. Add the trout fillets, make sure the marinade reaches all of it, then place in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I used Ruby Trout in these photos.

Start your smoker and adjust the temperature to 225F. I used a hickory / fruitwood mix for my wood pellets, and ended up with quite a strong smoke flavor. Some folks prefer less smoke, so use a pure fruitwood - that's up to your personal preferences.

Rinse the marinade off, pat dry, then lay the trout on paper towels, skin side up. Let it dry there for 20 or 30 minutes or so while you're smoker is coming up to temperature.

Oil the grates of your smoker so the skin does not stick to it. Place the trout directly on the grates of your smoker and place a couple lemon slices on top of each trout. 

Smoke until the trout reaches 145F internal temperature. A cooking alarm and/or cooking thermometer is the only way to do this accurately. My filets took 2 hours and 10 minutes.


  • 2 trout fillets, skin on
  • Marinade:
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 4 tablespoons garlic salt
    • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced

More Photos

I used Ruby Trout filets from Costco.

I cut into the skin on each side to allow the marinade to penetrate into the meat.

I cut into the skin on each side to allow the marinade to penetrate into the meat.

After marinating, the meat takes on a darker tone.

I didn't want to open the smoker lid and cause a stall mid-cook, so I made sure to hook up my cooking alarm so I could monitor the fish temperature from afar.

Start your cooking timer and set your temperature alarm for 145F.

Hot off the grill. Smells wonderful, and basically falling off the skin as you can see from the piece on the right.