Smoked Fish Brine

Smoked Fish Brine


A smoked fish brine will keep the delicate meat of the fish from drying out as well as work your seasonings past the skin and into the tender flakes of the fish.

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pound fillets, skin on
cup warm water
cup soy sauce
cup brown sugar
cup sea salt
tablespoon granulated garlic



Mix ingredients together in a large bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over fillets, making sure they are covered.

Hot Tip: Be sure to let brine cool completely before adding fish. Additionally, use a container large enough to hold all of the brine and fish comfortably.

Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours.


Remove fillets from brine, pat dry with paper towels.

Hot Tip: Discard brine after use.

While your smoker heats, arrange fish on racks and let dry for about an hour or until a glaze forms on the surface of the fish.

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  • frank | Jun 24, 2018

    how long you smoke per pound?

    This was Helpful (0)
    • Shelby Hood | Aug 6, 2018

      Typically, fish is smoked according to internal temperature of the fish. Here's a great article on smoking fish.

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  • Ladybug | Jan 4, 2019

    Do you combine all brine ingredients and heat to dissolve then cool and add fish?

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    • Char-Broil | Jan 14, 2019

      Yes, you want to combine ingredients using warm water to help dissolve the salt and sugar, then let cool before pouring over fish.

      This was Helpful (0)
  • TTM | Feb 28, 2019

    I used low sodium soy sauce and doubled the whole recipe because I had about 10lbs of lake trout. I let the fish soak in the brine for about 16 hours and then rinsed the fish with clean water before placing it on the racks and patted them down before allowing to sit for an hour. Friends told me everything from it being delicious to it being some of the best smoked fish they have ever eaten. The recipe is simple and perfect!

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  • Russ | May 13, 2019

    I made this with Bragg amino acid soy sauce and divided the salt using kosher, Himalayan pink and sea salt. I brined sea bass filets overnight, patted dry and let sit for about 3 hours till glazed over. I smoked using cherry and oak over a water pan for about 3 hours low heat. My wife made a dip with half of the fish and I put out the rest with some crackers. I went out to the garage to fry calamari and by the time I got back it was all gone. Best smoked fish ever.

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  • Paul S. U.P. Michigan | Jun 19, 2020

    The fish brine above is better if you add 1/2 cup molasses, 1 cup of apple juice, and 1/2 cup pineapple juice.
    I smoke with tag alder chips. EXCELLENT!!!

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    • Char-Broil | Jun 19, 2020

      That sounds most excellent! Thanks!

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  • Sharon | Aug 20, 2020

    I have silver bass no skin. I would like to try your recipe. Will it stay moist with out the skin?

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    • Char-Broil | Aug 26, 2020

      There really is no difference in how you cook a fish with or without the skin. As with all seafood, take care not to overcook. When cooking fish, cook it until the center reaches 145°F on an instant-read or meat thermometer.

      This was Helpful (0)
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