Smoking Fish?


Tom L

Harry Soo says one thing, others say the opposite. Can I smoke fish in my WSM 22 and not have it make everything else smell like fish later? Don't want to ruin my baby.

I've done it. Are you cold smoking, hot smoking or just cooking fish with smoke? It's the oils that run which create the problem. I've done whole sardines and they would be about the worst you could get for odor and oil. Using foil or planking is the answer to preventing a long lasting odour and you have to catch any oils or drips. A thorough burnoff of the grill or grills and or washing will eliminate any lasting odor.
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I've smoked salmon filets on the OTS by using charcoal baskets and a pan between them. I thought of using the WSM but Harry says no so I didn't. I figured since I use the kettle at higher temps normally I could burn out the smell/taste easier/better with it. It turned out great and the smell/taste on other foods has not been an issue.
I'm curious on this as I want to make a fish dip, using probably trout, this time of year and bluefish when it's available in this part of the world, and am wondering about the smell and if I should cold or hot smoke it.
I don't cook fish or hotdogs in my smokers. From the information I have read here, it's just not worth the risk to me.

I have done salmon several times on my WSM, using the recipe Chris has posted in the Cooking Topics on TVWB. I have never had any problems with odors or flavors being transferred to other cooks. I don't know if it's because I haven't smoked a lot of it, or if I have just been lucky. I can see where it could be an issue if you smoked a lot of it, and often. But I won't hesitate to do it again. If you end up trying it, let us know how it went.

Bottom line ... Harry's competition WSMs only see competition meats.
Kinda think the same is true for any competition pitmaster's smokers, be it WSM, pellet smokers, or stick burners.

For all others, mileage may vary...

--> what I should have added to original post... If you are not doing comps, Go For It !!! :wsm:
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I've had my WSM for approximately 5 months. I've smoked salmon at least twice, scallops at least twice, and grouper once, so we're talking smoking fish at least once a month. I always foil, so maybe that's why, but I have never detected any hint of fish odor when it has come time for the next cook. And I've had multiple people tell me "that was the best turkey/chicken/pulled pork/ribs I've ever tasted." I would imagine that for competitions, maybe there's some extremely slight difference that it makes, but neither I nor any of my family members or friends have noticed any issues.
Love that recipe. Best salmon I've had. Had it the next day with bagels and cream cheese. Unbelievable
Though many people have done it without any issue, it still gives me pause. Had read Harry Soo’s admonishment against fish in the WSM, but the fact that others are mentioning makes me think I should wait until I try smoking fish in my new Bullet. After I “gunk it up”, maybe. So I'll probably smoke it in my old Cheapo Offset Smoker.
I've done tile fish without a problem. If you're not using it for competitions you are good to go.
Harry Soo says one thing, others say the opposite. Can I smoke fish in my WSM 22 and not have it make everything else smell like fish later? Don't want to ruin my baby.

A WSM is typically going to want to run too run too hot to properly smoke're going to be cooking it.
In my electric smoker I go back and forth from beef jerky to fish and don't notice any ill effects.

This is one of the best articles on salmon smoking basics.
Jeff explains all of the key details...
I wouldnt do it.. I do my fish in a big chief electric smoker.. save the WSM for the other meats. the little chiefs or the big chiefs are cheap and do a fine job.. and yes it is way worse off than my WSM with fish oils I would never want in my WSM.. plus how much and how often is to be considered also.. I do alot of fish.. to much to taint my WSM.