Smoked halibut is an easy way to cook fish on a Traeger or electric smoker. Flaky protein packed dinner with butter or olive oil that is healthy and simple to make for family your dinner.
This is how to smoke halibut to fork tender and flaky. If you love cooking outside during the summer months, or year round you will find that fish smoked comes out delicious. Once you enjoy this one you can move on to other varieties. (affiliate links present)
Smoked Fish Recipe
We started cooking things out of the sea years ago and shared how to smoke salmon with dry rub that was just so so good. With white fish it is better to use milder flavors really. A bit of olive oil and seasonings is really ideal for fillets of this nature. Once done you can serve with veggies or rice.
For this one you need either fresh or defrosted fillets. Cooking frozen fish this way is not recommended. Just wait until they thaw to get going on this. Another thing to consider when prepping is that you want all the pieces to be the same size and similar thicknesses. If not they will get done at different times and it is harder to serve together.
How to Smoke Fish
A bit of acid will not only add flavor to your pieces but also tenderize the meat. Giving it a bit of time to marinate in the fridge is recommended for the best flavor and texture but optional. To get started you are going to need;
- 4 fillets halibut
- 1/4 c olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Fresh is always best but you can use bottled lemon juice
- Parsley is always best fresh too
When done you really don’t need anything. If you have kids they may be used to having tartar sauce but really that isn’t necessary. Easy to throw together though with 1/2 mayonnaise and half relish though. I will say our fish taco sauce is better though.
If you feel like you want more of a pick up and go dish I’d serve with small tortillas, cabbage and feta cheese to make yummy fish tacos.
You can use a pellet grill with wood chips or electric for this. If you had your own favorite brine you would want to mix all brine ingredients together and let it sit inside for an hour while you’re waiting for your machine to preheat. I like alder wood or apple for these when I am hot smoking.
- Pat dry with paper towels first to remove the moisture from the outside. Then brush halibut fillets with olive oil.
- Sprinkle fresh halibut pieces with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and parsley, on top and bottom. Pour lemon juice over the top. (some like a sprinkle of brown sugar to add sweetness)
- Place in refrigerator, on a plate, covered for 1 hour.
- Fill smoker with hardwood BBQ pellets.
- Prepare smoker by placing 2-3 long sheets of aluminum foil along the bottom of the smoker element, underneath the rack, for easier cleanup if desired.
- Brush grill rack clean.
- Set smoker to smoke.
- Once it starts smoking, set temperature to 200°.
- Add the fish, cooking on grate skin side down. Smoke for 1.5-2 hours (depending on thickness) or until fish reaches an internal temperature of 135 – 140° F inside.
Remove, cover to keep warm for 15 minutes and then serve with frozen peas and carrots on the side for a super healthy meal.
Best Fish to Smoke
When it comes to smoking fish fillets, some varieties are better suited for this cooking method due to their flavor, texture, and oil content. Here are some of the best choices;
- Salmon is a popular choice for smoking due to its high oil content and rich flavor. Its firm flesh holds up well to the smoking process, resulting in a delicious, smoky taste. Both Atlantic and Pacific salmon varieties work well for smoking.
- Trout, especially rainbow trout, is another excellent option for smoking. It has a delicate and slightly sweet flavor that pairs beautifully with smoky undertones. Smaller-sized trout can be smoked whole, while larger ones can be filleted before smoking.
- Mackerel is a fish with a rich and robust flavor that stands up well to smoking. It has a high oil content, which contributes to its distinct taste and moist texture. Mackerel can be filleted and smoked to perfection.
- Bluefish is a strongly flavored fish that lends itself well to smoking. It has a rich and oily flesh, which helps retain moisture during the smoking process. Bluefish is best smoked when it’s fresh, as it can spoil quickly.
- Various whitefish species, such as cod, haddock, or halibut, can be successfully smoked. While they have a milder flavor compared to other fish on this list, they still offer a delicious taste when smoked. Whitefish fillets work best for smoking.
- Tuna is a meaty fish that can be smoked to create a unique and savory flavor profile. It has a firm texture and a distinct taste that pairs well with smoky notes. Tuna steaks or thick fillets are ideal for smoking.
- Shellfish like smoked mussels actually work quite well.
How to Smoke Halibut
The smoking process imparts a delicate and distinct flavor, so it’s best to start with the best-quality fish you can find. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow proper smoking techniques, including brining or marinating the fish, controlling the temperature, and monitoring the smoking time to ensure the best results.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
- 1 smoker
- Pat dry with paper towels first to remove the moisture from the outside. Brush halibut with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and parsley, on top and bottom. Pour lemon juice over the top. Place in refrigerator, on a plate, covered for 1 hour.
- Fill smoker with hardwood BBQ pellets. Prepare smoker by placing 2-3 long sheets of aluminum foil along the bottom of the smoker element, underneath the rack, for easier cleanup if desired. Brush grill rack clean.
- Set smoker to smoke. Once it starts smoking, set temperature to 200°. Place halibut steaks on grill grate. Smoke for 1.5-2 hours (depending on thickness) or until fish is at 140° F inside.