What are the
best smokers for fish?
Smokers for fish used to be the traditional smokehouses in the old fisherman’s village and their function is to store the fish harvests and smoking them with wood shavings overnight. Another method people do in the old days is preserving the fish by curing it with salt (curing) and cold smoking them for weeks. Today, the methods of smoking fish in large quantities has gone mechanical. An example is the use of fish smoker types that use smoke condensates to turn a new form of smoke to hasten up the smoking process.
Since people have discovered fish smoking beginning with the fire pits, what we have now are the commercially-produced smokers that take out the hassles of the traditional method of using raw wood. We have now the best smokers for fish that use charcoal, gas, and electricity as the power source and comes the different forms of wood for smoking such as wood chunks, wood pellets, and wood chips. If you are wondering if the smokers for meat can be used for smoking fish, the answer is yes.
However, it is important to consider that when smoking fish, the meat of the fish is more delicate than the meat of land animals. So if some meat should be smoked up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the fish should not go beyond 180 degrees Fahrenheit or its meat may taste bad and disintegrate. Nevertheless, the smoking duration is also a big factor when smoking fish compared to smoking meat. Thick meat such as briskets can take as much as 16 to 18 hours of smoking. Fish, on the other hand, should not take more than 3-6 hours. Another thing to consider when smoking fish is the use of the best wood to smoke fish because certain woods can infuse more flavor to the fish’s delicate meat.
Best Smoker for Fish Reviews
We know that a lot of you are on this page because you are also looking for the right smokers for fish so we search for the best-rated fish smokers and gathered only those that have the most positive reviews to make your first fish smoking day positively unforgettable. Also, we choose these smokers because they have temperature control. We did not include any charcoal-type smoker because these smokers don’t generally have a thermostat or temperature control system. So here are the best meat/fish smokers we got for you.
TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker, 646 Sq. In. Cooking Capacity, Bronze Black and Bronze
This electric grill/smoker cannot only smoke fish but it is also an excellent smoker for a variety of meat. We are recommending this not only because of its versatility but it will perfectly suit your needs for smoking different kinds of fish. Fish, like meat, have different firmness so some of them require more smoke and heat. This fish smoker cum meat griller only needs wood pellets and because it is electric, you are totally out of using charcoal or gas for fuel that could be hard to control their temperature level.
This unit can offer so much versatility. You can use it for hot and fast cooking or slow and low smoking. You can also bake with it, roast, braise and barbecue any type of meat. So by having this single unit, you can cook almost any type of food and it only requires wood pellets that are easy to find. Made of heavy-duty materials that make it an all-weather type griller/smoker, this product is more protected from snow or sun though we do not recommend using it outdoor during a drizzle because this is an electrical unit.
For its special features, this product has a temperature range of 150 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and it offers 646 square inches of cooking space. It has an automatic pellet feeder so you can load up a whole bag of pellets and let itself cook your fish without the need for refueling. It also has locking wheels for mobility but most of all, it has a temperature control that will make you estimate your time of cooking. Traeger smokers are well-known for their durability and efficiency for grilling, barbecuing and smoking and we see this as one of the best smokers for fish and all kinds of meat.
Efficient electric smoker with temperature control
Auger feed draft induction fan to circulate the smoke better on food
Spacious cooking space
Single rack only
Standard Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
Don’t mistake this digital smoker to be using charcoal because this smoking unit also relies on electricity. Equipped with an advanced control panel with large blue LED display, this will let you control the temperature and read what’s happening with your food. Double-walled constructed for proper insulation, this unit comes to you fully intact which means you don’t need to assemble anything. With a maximum heat range from 160 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, you can smoke a lot of fish in it as it has four racks for smoking.
If you want to check your meat like turkey or brisket or ribs, this unit also comes with a thermometer probe and with a glance to the display, you’ll know what’s going in with your meat or fish. Some people don’t like their smokers to throw out smokes as it cooks and this unit has a large locking latch that securely seals the door and keeps the smoke tightly in with the food. With four adjustable racks and a total space of 725 square inches, you can cook a lot of meat including fish with this product.
You also won’t feel hassled feeding the wood chips because it has a separate firebox underneath and doesn’t need to open the door to access the wood smoker box. With its upright construction, this will let you smoke and cook food faster compared to other offset smoker types. Equipped with a heating element that has a heating capacity of 800 watts, this smoking machine can go a long way in dealing up with a variety of foods and we also see this as the best fish smoker because it offers a wide cooking temperature range.
725 square inch cooking space
Use wood pellets for more flavorful smoke production
Digital temperature control
Comes with a removable thermometer probe
Up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit heating capacity
Double latch door to keep smoke better
Keeps food warm after the timer has gone off
Four removable racks to smoke a lot of fish at the same time
According to some users, the issue can sometimes be with the thermometer probe that may not read temperature accurately
Camp Chef Smoke Vault
18" Vertical Smoker
This classic-looking pellet smoker can also be one of the best smokers for fish and it has a cooking temperature ranging from 160 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. And when you see that 400 degrees, you know that this smoker is a hardcore smoking machine because even the most expensive units won’t normally reach this far when it comes to heating capacity. This also means this machine can smoke from the most succulent fish to the firmest and thickest of meat.
And as long as you will be using the best wood to smoke fish, you will enjoy smoking any type of fish with this gas smoker and will suitably fit your pocket with its price. For its special features, this smoker has 2 adjustable racks, 3 adjustable damper valves (1 on top and 1 on each side) to let you regulate fully the temperature inside and control the release of smoke. For durability, its body is made of heavy gauge steel.
To read the temperature, its door has a temperature gauge that can accurately read the internal temperature from 50 to 400 degrees. If you want more portability for your fish and meat smoker, this propane fish smoker will let you cook outdoor regardless of the weather. It also doesn’t require a match or lighter when lighting it up because it has a snap-ignition that will instantly set up the fire in one click. For its water tray and racks, these are made of porcelain base and are removable. Now you can enjoy smoking your fish using your favorite wood and can give your meat and fish the savory taste you want from natural wood smoke using gas. And one more thing, this comes with a bonus recipe and also some cooking tips and ideas to utilize this smoker’s potential and to enjoy it better.
Temperature gauge on the door
3 dampers for controlling the internal heat and release of smoke
Body made of durable steel
Uses widely available wood pellets
Heat range from 160 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Burner drum can be controlled from the front to control flame/heat (like gas stove)
Total height: 44 inches
Temperature can be hard to control if you are not familiar with the gas smokers
Best Wood To Smoke Fish?
Fish when slowly cooked in a smoker can bring out their delicious and natural taste as its meat gets infused with the smoky taste of wood. As its meat becomes more tender, this can be peeled away easily and there you can smell that aroma that you can only smell on smoked fish that is cooked with the flavorful types of wood. Unlike with the meat that you can taste more the smokey flavor of the wood, fish meat becomes more delicious with smoking and will even taste better if you have prepared them accordingly.
This is why it is very important to choose the best wood to smoke fish because aside from spicing up your fish with your favorite seasonings like citrus and fresh herbs, the option for wood can make or break the real tastes of your fish. But what are the perfect woods for fish smoking since fish come in different species and therefore have different meat firmness and tastes?
Experts say the best wood to smoke any kind of fish would be the type that should not overpower the delicate and mild flavor of the fish meat. Good examples are the apple, cherry and alder woods. With meat, the favorite wood is usually hickory and the second is applewood. So why applewood is always on the top list regardless of the kind of meat and fish? It’s because applewood will always give that sweet smoke that the meat will absorb. Cherry is also a sweet wood so any fruity wood type that can be used for smoking can be good for smoking fish.
Salmon is the most popular fish for grilling and smoking in the US and the three best types of woods to smoke fish are the hickory, apple and alder. Alder can produce that smoky “sweet flavor” although its level of smokiness is low. Applewood can give out that “fruity flavor” while its smokiness is on a medium level. Hickory can offer that “bacon taste flavor” on the fish and its smokiness level is heavy.
Tips on How to Smoke Fish Better in Fish Smoker
There are various ways to enjoy smoked fish but it will still depend on how you will prepare your fish before smoking. Some experts have tips on how you can get the best from your fish either you have caught them fresh or bought them from the supermarket or if you want to smoke the fish whole fish or in fillet. Here are some of their best suggestions.
Preparing the Fish
You have 2 options. Smoke the fish whole or in fillet. Smoking the fish whole will make its skin crisps and as you eat it, the meat can easily separate from its bones which add pleasure to eating. Smoking fish fillet is much easier and faster and it can absorbs the seasoning much better. Using the best smokers for fish, it doesn’t matter if you will smoke fish in any form. As long as you don’t over smoke it and you choose the perfect smokey wood, your fish won’t go wrong.
Preheat the Wood Chips
Before you get going with your smoking, preheat your smoker first by adding either wood chips, wood pellets, or wood chunks and smoke it for about 45 minutes. Preheating the smoker can make the smoke to circulate better while you can easily estimate your smoking time as the wood is already burning up.
Smoking the Fish
Smoke the fish for about 3 hours or depending on the kind of fish at a temperature range from 160 degrees to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set the Temperature
The smoked fish should reach an internal temperature before you could assume that the fish has been fully cooked. So for most fish including fish fillet, the internal temperature should reach about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. To know the fish temperature, you can use a thermometer probe although the more accurate gadget is a digital thermometer with a probe. Some of the best smokers for fish are now equipped with thermometer probes.
Brining the Fish (Optional)
Brining is the process of curing food with brine or sea salt (coarse). This can preserve the fish while seasoning it. You can also mix any of the following to the brine: spices, sugar, herbs, or caramel. Then cover the fish with the brine for about 24 hours so that the salt and other spices could be absorbed. You can also spray the fish with light vinegar to add more flavor while it’s smoking. If you have so much fish to smoke, cover it with brine layer by layer.
Choosing smokers for fish should not be a difficult task because most of the smokers we use today have temperature control either electronically or manually such as dampers and exhausts. Especially the electric smokers, that are equipped with digital temperature control and with internal probe and glass doors, these will tell you if the fish is already done.
The units we have shown you here were carefully chosen and we consider them to be some of the best smokers for fish because their heat and temperature can be easily managed. Remember that fish can cook faster compared to meat and they can get spoiled when they get overcooked or over smoked. You must also use only the best wood to smoke fish and we have given you the three of the best woods.