Homestyle Smoked Fish Brine Recipe – People’s Favorite

smoked fish brine recipe

This smoked fish brine recipe is super easy and tasty, and make with lake trouts, kosher salt, brown suga, pickling spice etc.

Smoked fish are one of the best-flavored dishes one can ask for. I assume you agree with this statement too, since you’re here, friend. A perfectly smoked fish, brined properly, can light up your taste buds in every bite and can make your meal savory, fulfilling, and hearty. It’s going to leave you wanting more and more.

But to make the most delicious smoked fish, you need the right smoked fish brine recipe. Here’s the recipe that will surely make the cooking process smooth and fun for you if you want to try it out. 

What is Smoked Fish Brine?

A brine is a salt and sugar water-based solution for fish or meat before you smoke them. It adds a lot of flavor to make the fish more savory, moist, and mouthwatering in each bite you take from the dish. 

As for choosing the fish, you can use trout, salmon, tilapia, catfish, etc. But if you’d ask me for recommendations, I’d go for rainbow trout. Every fish will taste delicious when they are properly brined and smoked, but rainbow trout are a little bit extra. 

You need to know some facts, like the taste of those fish, to combine with the brine. Tilapia and catfish are less sweet than salmon or trout, so it’s likely the brine will need less sugar than usual. 

So, to make the perfect brine, you need to make the perfect solution with a proper recipe. You don’t have to look further, mates, because you’re in the right place. Here is the perfect smoked fish brine recipe you’ve been looking for. Let’s start then. 

Smoked Brine Fish Profile: 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes                         Brining Time: 8 Hours                       Drying Time: 2 Hours       Cooking Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes        Total Time: 11 Hours 30 Minutes

How to Make Smoked Fish Brine

Trust me when I say that brined smoked fish are addictive if you make them in the right way. Be it wet brine or dry brine, your call. But when you smoke the fish, it’s a flavors festival. To make the perfect brine, salt and sugar are essential, but for the spices you can personalize it. 

However, for instance, you can use pickle spice and make the process as easy as possible. Here’s the smoked brine fish recipe you’ve been looking for. 

Ingredients for Brine Smoked Fish

  • 1-3 Lake Trout
  • ½ Cup Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 8 Cups of Water
  • ½ Cup of Pickling Spice

Step-by-step instructions with Photos

Here are the simple steps to follow this recipe and enjoy your smoked trout just like you imagined it would be:


Step 1: Prepare the Fish

Clean the freshly caught lake trout with cold water after gutting it properly. Cut the fish into even-sized filets to ensure even cooking. Because smoking the whole fish will take more time to cook and might not be done evenly. Don’t forget to remove the remaining bones.


Step 2: Make the Brine

When you’re making the wet brine, mix brown sugar, kosher salt, water, and pickling spice together in a big saucepan to simmer. Cook and stir for a while until you don’t see any signs of salt and sugar, when they’ll dissolve properly. Now put the brine in a room to cool down in its temperature. 


Step 3: Brining Time

When your brine is cooled down to room temperature, put fish filets into it and coat them properly until they are submerged. Put the whole thing into a Ziplock bag or in a bag that is airtight. Place it in the freezer and brine it for at least 4 hours or even overnight for better taste. But not more than 24 hours. 


Step 4: Smoke the Fish

Ready the smoker by placing cold water into the drip pan, then preheat it to 200F. Meanwhile remove the fish filets from the brine and pat-dry them until there’s no pickling spices left. 

Now place them on an aluminum foil and put it on the smoker. Make sure the skin side is down on the paper. And smoke it for 1 to 3 hours, depending on how thick the fish filets are.


Step 5: Serve & Enjoy

When the fish is slightly opaque and starts to flake, check the internal temperature. If it’s 200°F, your smoked fish is ready. Don’t let it go over 225°F or else it will dry out.

Now serve your smoked trout with your preferred sides and enjoy it to the fullest. 

Time Needed to Make Smoked Fish Brine

According to this recipe, it has two phases to ultimately make the dish. The first step is to brine the trout, and the second phase is to smoke the trout. It takes a total of 11 hours 30 minutes. 

First stage takes 8 to 10 hours. Bringing the fish takes 4 to 24 hours, but the average is 8 hours. Drying the brined fish takes only 2 hours. 

For phase 2, prep takes only 10 minutes and cooking takes 1 hour 20 minutes. But, if you want to smoke the fish longer, I’d say that’s totally fine. You can go up to 3 hours. But don’t overcook the fish, it will dry out without warning. 

What Can You Serve with this Dish?

This smoked fish brine dish works well with any dish you add to. Whether it’s salads or pastas or maybe sandwiches, it rocks with everything, giving bursts of flavors. 

  • Smoked Trout Itself: At first try the freshly smoked fish with sides, and enjoy the smoky, flaky, and delicious fish itself. 
  • Pasta: White pasta, cream pasta, or baked pasta, add smoked trout to it and see the magic of flavors that treat your taste buds like none other.
  • Sandwiches: Replace classic ham or egg with smoked trout. It works whether it’s hot or cold. See the transformation of flavors and taste.
  • Charcuterie Platter: It has cold-smoked trout, capers, and mayonnaise. They make the platter intriguing and mouthwatering. You can also serve it as a cream cheese smoked trout dip on crackers, whether it’s hot or cold.
  • Salads: To make your salads more appealing or intriguing, you can add smoked fish in chunks. Simply transform your bland salads into healthy but tasty meals of the day. 

Cooking Tips for Smoked Trout Brine Recipe

  1. Make firm and fresh filets of the fish, ensuring similar sizes for even cooking. Because smoking time will depend on the thickness of the filets. 
  2. Find out your preferred brine style. Use a light brine or a shorter period of brining for the light, flaky texture of the smoked fish. Or choose a stronger or longer brining period for the chewy texture of the smoked trout. The choice is yours.
  3. Try to use light-flavored wood chips because the flavors might overpower the fish’s flavors itself. So be careful in this step. Cherry or apple wood chips are recommended. 
  4. Use aluminum foil between the fish and the grill so that it keeps the moisture of the filets and prevents it from being sticky.
  5. Smoke the meat at a low temperature. Do it until it’s 145 degrees Fahrenheit inside, measured by a meat thermometer. 

FAQs – Frequently Asked Question?

  1. Do You rinse off Brine Before Smoking?

Although keeping the brine will add more flavor to your smoked fish, it’s better to rinse off the brine from the fish and pat-dry the filets properly. This will help the filets to remain moist throughout the process. 

  1. Is One Hour of Brine Enough?

Honestly, it’s not enough to brine your fish filets for one hour. Brine them at least 4 hours to 24 hours for better taste and flavor. If you do it for only one hour, it might not be brined properly. 

  1. How Long is Too Long to Brine Fish?

You can brine fish overnight or for up to 24 hours, but not more than that. It might remove the tenderness of the filets and make it more crisp or dry. But it depends on how you want your smoked fish, crisp or tender, then brine accordingly. 

  1. How Do You Keep The Fish Moist While Smoking? 

Use aluminum foil or parchment paper to keep the filets moist. This stops them from drying out during the long smoking process.  


Got a family get-together or planning for camping out, try this smoked fish brine recipe-trout and have a mouthwatering hearty meal. Make sure to brine the whole night before you smoke the fish the next day. 

This recipe is an easier version of any smoked trout brine recipe to make the journey easier and possible for you. This way you’ll have fun making the dish. But be careful with fire while smoking the fish. Enjoy this dish with your loved ones and leave a comment below how the experience was and definitely the taste!

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