17 Best Smoked Seafood Recipes [Barbecue Fish, Crab, Lobster]

5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

Smoked fish and seafood are unlike any other barbecue meat. They offer protein-rich variety, ranging from buttery crab legs to caramelized mackerel. We’ve put together our best smoked seafood recipes to try this year.

best smoked seafood recipes

Seafood might not be the first thing you think of when planning your next round of backyard barbecue, but hear me out.

Just like ribs or brisket, smoked fish has plenty of variations. Whether it’s mackerel or butter-smoked shrimp, there’s a wide-ranging spectrum of flavors and methods to try out with seafood. Find your next favorite barbecue meat with our best barbecue seafood recipes. Let’s get into it.


smoked cod pieces served on plate

Cod is a great white fish for barbecue smoking because it’s quick and, with the right preparation, can lock in flavor perfectly.

This smoked cod is prepared with a quick dry brine before being smoked for just 40 minutes over applewood. The final result is a delicious fish fillet that carries a subtly sweet flavor. It can be enjoyed by itself as a quick appetizer, but we love it as a filling for smoked fish tacos.

Crab Legs

smoked crab leg recipe

The perfect summer main or side. When done right, King crab carries an unmistakable rich and sweet flavor, with a soft texture that’s like lobster. These smoked crab legs are no different.

Our recipe bastes them in a butter and spice mix, before smoking over light oak for just 30 minutes. If you’re new to home-cooked crab, this is the perfect place to start.


how to smoke tilapia

Tilapia is the fourth most consumed fish in the U.S. and one of the most affordable. Packed with proteins while low in saturated fat, there’s plenty to love about this fish.

Our smoked tilapia is brined, lightly seasoned, and cooked low and slow over alder wood. The end result is a tender and mild cut of fish that will blow everything else out of the water.

Cold Smoked Salmon

salmon fillets cold smoking in chamber

Forget eating salmon out of the pack, this is how you enjoy this classic fish cut. Cold smoked salmon locks in the rich flavors we all know but adds in an incredible edge of wood smoke that kicks premade salmon to the curb.

It does need to go through a few steps of preparation, including a salt-water brine and sugar curing solution. It’s then cold smoked at 80°F for 5 hours. It’s a lot of work, but the results are worth the effort.


smoked shrimp in foil packet with butter

Jumbo prawns, butter sauce, spice rub. Served with buttered bread and freshly squeezed lemon juice. What’s not to love?

Cooked for just 30 minutes in your BBQ smoker, this is as quick as barbecue seafood gets. This smoked shrimp recipe is prepared in a butter and BBQ rub bath before heated over oak.

Lobster Tail

smoked lobster tail recipe

Try these delicious smoked lobster tails for something adventurous. Cooked low and slow on your smoker and coated in beautiful garlic butter, this barbecue seafood recipe is one of a kind. The meat preparation and cooking process for this recipe are easy, and from start to finish takes just under an hour.

Sea Bass

smoked sea bass

Sea bass is suited to barbecue smoking perhaps more than any other type of white fish. Its firm meaty texture doesn’t crumble as easily as similar types of fish fillet, and soaks up flavors beautifully, whether it’s from dry rubs, marinades, or woodfire smoke.

Our simple smoked sea bass is prepared in a garlic butter marinade before being cooked low and slow over alder smoke for the perfect balance of smokey-creamy goodness.


smoked catfish recipe

Of all our barbecue fish recipes, this might just be my favorite. Our smoked catfish is made in a butter and Cajun spice blend before cooked over low and slow wood heat. Like with a lot of fish, it needs to be brined and cured, so will need the best part of a day to make. But the results speak for themselves.


homemade barbecue smoked mackerel recipe

Our barbecue mackerel is hot smoked low and slow over oak wood for two hours. It’s rich in fishy flavor and matched with an easy dry brine. Easy to make and easy to cook at home, this is as good as smoked fish comes.


smoked trout recipe

Trout is perfectly made for barbecue thanks to its thick texture and rich fishy flavor. It’s robust enough to withstand long exposure to smoke, and it locks in moisture on par with many traditional barbecue meats.

We prepare our smoked trout in a salt and herb wet brine, before cold smoking over alder for three hours. Easy.

Jumbo Shrimp Skewers

barbecue smoked seafood shrimp skewers

Create the perfect smoked seafood appetizer with these smoked shrimp skewers. Prepared in a simple marinade of fresh basil, crushed garlic and olive oil, these jumbo shrimp kabobs offer deep Mediterranean flavors that pair perfectly with barbecue smoke.


smoked walleye recipe

Walleye is an underrated meaty fish similar in taste and texture to cod, albeit with a hint more sweetness. Its rich, fleshy meat makes it perfect for hot smoking, as seen in our simple recipe.

Our smoked walleye is prepared in a milk bath and with beautiful dill and paprika seasoning, before cooked low and slow over alder wood. With only 40 minutes of smoking needed, this easy and quick recipe is a great place to start with walleye.


smoked tuna steak

Tuna steaks typically have a firm and meaty texture, making them a great go-to for people with an aversion to most other seafood. This texture and its mild taste make the steaks superb at absorbing flavors, which is why they’re delicious when cooked on the smoker.

Our easy smoked tuna steaks are prepared with a simple wet brine to lock in moisture before it’s smoked for just 45 minutes over oakwood.

Red Snapper

smoked red snapper

Fresh red snapper’s mild-but-sweet flavor makes the fish easy to pair with almost anything, and its meaty flesh makes it a superb choice for hot smoking.

Our smoked red snapper is prepared in fresh garlic and thyme marinade, and then smoked on cedar planks for the perfect blend of sweet and smoky barbecue fish.


smoked mahi-mahi

Mahi-mahi is a saltwater tropical fish that’s similar to swordfish, albeit with a slightly sweeter taste. It’s a mild-tasting versatile fish that lends itself to all manner of seasonings and dishes, making it a staple at many seafood restaurants. With slightly sweet and flakey meat, mahi-mahi is perfect for backyard low and slow smoking.

Our smoked mahi-mahi is seasoned with lemon pepper and herb seasoning, and then smoked on cedar planks for just an hour, before being topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The end result is beautiful hot smoked fish that’s just the right side of flakey.


smoked herring fillets

Herring is perfect for barbecue smoking thanks to its rich and firm texture, ensuring it holds its shape over heat and absorbs the flavors from the wood smoke. It has a higher fat content than other types of fish meaning that if you treat it right, it’ll be bursting with juicy flavor.

Our classic smoked herring is filleted and prepared in a simple sugar and garlic dry brine before it’s cooked low and slow over oakwood to deliver beautiful layers of flavor.


smoked whitefish

Whitefish is actually a catchall term for a variety of fish, from cod to haddock, and pollock to hake. Regardless of the exact spices, what they all share is flaky white flesh that’s fair lighter than oily fish like salmon or mackerel. Best enjoyed skinless and deboned, whitefish is taken to an entirely new level when cooked low and slow over smoke.

Our smoked whitefish is coated in a paprika-thyme paste before cooked over applewood for just 30 minutes. It’s sweet and smokey, with just the right amount of earthy notes from the herb paste.

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About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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