Though fish and seafood probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think of throwing something on the smoker, these recipes are starting to rise in popularity for backyard chefs. This is likely due to their healthy, low-calorie benefits while still packing the necessary proteins that everyone’s diet needs to stay well balanced. Smoking these delicacies imparts a flavor that most people have never experienced in these types of foods because restaurants don’t take the time to prepare them by smoking them. Lighter fruit or nut woods pair best with these recipes as denser woods should be used with red and dark meats.
There are several methods for preserving seafood. The practice of preserving and buy fresh seafood online can be wet or dry-cured, fermented, pickled, and smoked. This comes in handy if you have had a successful catch on a fishing excursion and have too much to eat all at once. Smoking fish is often a preferred method for home cooks. You can fit a lot of seafood into a smoker. A Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is an ideal vehicle.
Smoked Whole Snapper with Chimichurri Recipe
The meat was flaky and moist. The skin was a little smoky. There wasn’t a piece of leftover. In the recipe developed here for a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, I used the same concept with a few modifications. The fish is gutted, cleaned, stuffed, and placed on a foil raft so it won’t stick to the rack and so the smoke permeates the flesh. It is cooked low and slow. With super fresh fish there is really no need to brine or cure, just season generously.
Remember to ask your fishmonger exactly how fresh the fish is. Look into the eyes to see that they are bright and clear. Smell the fish. There should be no fishy odor.
You can easily double this recipe to do 2 whole snappers in your smoker. I like to serve this with a chimichurri sauce that is rich in herbs alongside some smoked smashed red potatoes.
4 to 5 lb. whole snapper, scaled and gutted
2 TBSP butter at room temperature
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 fennel bulb + fronds, woody stalks and core discarded, sliced thinly
1/2 small white or yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 whole lemon sliced thinly into rounds
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
- In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and EVOO. Add the salt and pepper. Slice the fennel, onion, and lemon. Reserve some of the leafy fennel fronds.
- Prepare your smoker by adding wood chips to the tray and water to the bowl. Preheat the smoker to 225˚F. Open the top vent.
- Generously coat the inside and outside of the fish with the butter and EVOO + salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the fennel slices, onion, fennel fronds, and half of the lemon slices. Place the fish on 2 sheets of aluminum foil. Turn up the edges of the foil to hold the moisture in.