Do you like smoked fish? Do you prepare salmon, sea bass or trout? Have you got your favorite recipes? If so, you would need the best smoker for fish.
Quite naturally, hot or cold smoked fish is delicious. It’s healthy, protein-rich. Smoking lets most of the minerals and vitamins remain. Meanwhile, if you cook it at home (at your patio), do it properly. It must be 100% safe to eat.
So, what is a suitable, portable fish smoker? It’s simple and intuitive to use. Ease of cleaning is highly desirable. The cooking area is to be sufficient. Are there any other considerations? Let me highlight metal smokers and compare their features and benefits.
Best Smoker for Fish in 2023
So, which smoking techniques to prefer: cold or hot? Which one is safer? Which method provides richer taste? Let’s figure it out!
1. Cuisinart COS-330: Best Portable Electric Smoker
Why is the metal smoker so good? Would you smoke a trout or salmon for the first time? This unit can become your choice. Why? It’s intuitive-to-use. The device is convenient and versatile. Additionally, it’s quite spacious. 548 sq. ft. of space inside are pretty good.
It’s sufficient to prepare a BBQ for the whole family and many friends. I think you can place even a small pig there. Several fishes can be perfectly smoked and flavored, as well. What about smoking a whole fish? Would you like to place a medium-sized shark to the chamber? I guess it’s possible. Just remove the racks.
What’s about the Cuisinart brand? It’s proudly US-based. The company was founded in 1973 in Stamford, CT. Now, it’s incorporated by the famous Conair Corporation. Actually, it deals with a wide range of household appliances. Their products include toasters, scales, and microwave ovens.
Is the smoker special? It is made in Massachusetts, by the Fulham Group. Yes, it is perfect to be used in your backyard. It’s safe and intuitive as it’s electric. Cleanups are not complicated.
Features and Specifications
Some beneficial features are quite standard for electric smokers:
- a thermometer on the door;
- a 1500-watt burner;
- a water pan;
- side handles;
- the broad range of temperatures (100-400°F).
The temperature control is advanced. Actually, the thermometer belongs to analog type. Is it the device’s downside? I doubt it. The unit is quite reliable. The thermometer provides accurate calculations. A long, 3-year warranty, is available.
So, I recommend the electric smoker for occasional use. It would be good at holidays. It’s great to cook a turkey. The food volume is large. Why wouldn’t you taste some smoked fish? It would find a good place among your favorite dishes.
2. Dyna-GLO DGO1176BDC-D: Best Charcoal Smoker for Travelers and Beginners
Are you a follower of traditions? Do you like natural things? If so, the smoker is made for you. Quite naturally, it’s a bit more difficult to deal with. Cleaning and keeping the fire in requires some efforts. It’s a time-consuming option. However, the flavor and the fish taste is unrivaled.
This smoker belongs to offset, vertical type. It’s suitable for:
- Outdoor use;
- Holiday trips.
During the trips, it can become a real godsend! The fish smoker machine is suitable for remote places. Haven’t you got a generator in your RV? No electricity? No access to the natural gas pipes? Now there will be no problems! Even a propane tank is not necessary. The charcoal fuel is not expensive. You can buy it in any local shop.
What does the offset design mean? The smoker consists of 2 separate chambers. One of them is a firebox. The larger one is designed for food cooking. So, this unit is really sturdy! It’s difficult to use. Meanwhile, it’s heavy-duty. The internal space is huge! It makes 1,176 ft3. 6 grates are available.
So, you can place a lot of fish inside. Commercial smoker’s application is possible. Additionally, it is intended to slow smoking. Just select the cold smoking technology. I guess it’s amazing for fish. But, smoking fish without brine, prefer the hot method. It’s safe.
So, I recommend the spacious smoker to travelers. If you are sentimental, it can become your choice. The unit’s cleaning and maintenance require some time. But its performance is great!
3. Camp Chef SMV18S: A Perfect Commercial Fish Smoker
Are you going camping? Why don’t you take a propane tank along? This fuel is quite affordable. It lets you cook smoked fish very fast. The other of your favorite dishes will be perfect, as well. Actually, the unit is not lightweight. However, it’s portable. When you are traveling, it’s a great advantage.
What about the Camp Chef Company? It was founded in 1990. So, it’s experienced. The company is located in Hyde Park, Utah. It’s American-based. It specializes in outdoor cooking equipment. So, what is the smoker? It’s heavy-duty. It’s versatile and easy to use. What are the special features? They include:
- advanced snap-ignition;
- safe-to-use burner dump;
- stainless steel door;
- a reliable handle.
The smoker’s output is really huge. It can reach 18,000 BTU/hr. To compare it, the charcoal device produces up to 15,000 BTU. So, the propane smoker is really powerful.
Does it support the highest smoking fish temperature? Can it reach 550 degrees? Maybe, the thermometer’s scale can show it. However, I guess 350°F is quite sufficient. On the contrary, you can start at 50 degrees. It’s pretty beneficial for fish. This food is too tender for roasting.
Low temperatures are easy to set up. Why? Thanks to 3 adjustable valves available. Are only 2 racks are included? What I see, are 3 grids. Additionally, quite good accessories are available, such as:
- a water pan;
- a tray for wood chips;
- 2 adjustable and 1 jerky rack;
- a porcelain base tray.
The smoker would not require exhausting cleaning. Additionally, you can cook some bread or pies inside. What a great idea for a holiday! You can feel cozy even if you are traveling.
So, I recommend the smoker for campers and travelers. This device is not the tallest possible. However, it’s sufficient for a large family. You can cook any dishes inside. It’s fast and easy. The instructions are intuitive.
4. Smoke Hollow 26142E: An Entry-level Smoker for Fish
Why do I recommend the smoker? It’s safe and convenient. The unit’s fish smoking benefits include:
- perfect insulation;
- adjustable temperature control;
- stainless steel accessories.
The smoker is pretty capacious. It’s 35.5 inches tall. The cooking area is 1.3 ft3. Meanwhile, it’s still recommended for a family. Maybe, for a small group of friends. However, you can place a whole turkey on every grid. That’s enough place for 2-3 dozens of large fishes.
The heat indicator is very good. It’s accurate. The temperature control belongs to the digital type. Well, stable temperature is essential for fish smoking. The sensor is really top-quality and innovative.
Meanwhile, the unit is pretty lightweight. You can install it anywhere in your patio. The cable length is to be sufficient, that’s all. It’s easy to assemble and clean. The advanced insulation is supported by:
- thick steel walls;
- magnetic lathing system;
- adjustable draft control.
No smoke leakage is possible. Additionally, the handle is cool to touch. It’s spring-wire, handy and convenient. The temperature range is pretty wide. 175-325°F is sufficient for the fish. The smoker is powerful. The output of 1500 Watts is really good. However, it’s not versatile.
Chrome-plated grids, a water pan and a wood chips tray are just the standard accessories. What’s about the Smoke Hollow brand? The company was established only in 2005. However, it’s a US-based manufacturer. It’s located at Columbus, Georgia.
The brand specialized in durable and hassle-free grills and smokers. Therefore, I recommend the unit for use at the patio. It’s great during family parties. Quite naturally, this model doesn’t include any glass window. Now Bluetooth included. No wheel on the bottom. But it’s reliable.
5. Masterbuilt MB20073716: A Compact Fish Smoker for Your Patio
Do you prefer to celebrate at your patio? Why don’t you use a portable smoker? An electric unit is really safe and easy to maintain. What about this model? It’s really lightweight. You can place it anywhere indoors or outdoors. Going camping, you can take it along, as well. Only if an electricity source is available, of course.
The portability advantages are supported by:
- foldable legs;
- compact design;
- comparatively thin walls.
The smoker is easy for storage and transport. Well, the legs are quite thin. I guess they are made of a kind of lightweight metal. So, the unit is not stable or sturdy. The walls and racks are still reliable. They are stainless steel.
Would you like to know more about the Masterbuilt company? It’s famous and experienced. The factory is family-owned. It’s based in Columbus, GA, as well. The enterprise was established more than 45 years ago. Its products are quite popular. They are innovative and top-quality. The range includes fryers, cookers and grills.
It the unit compact? Well, that’s right. The smoker includes only 2 grids. It’s not too large. However, you can smoke a large turkey on each rack. About 8 large fishes can be placed inside. I think that’s enough for a small family.
You can serve the smoked food for several friends. Meanwhile, if you are in a hurry, this smoker is preferable. It’s safe, easy to clean and maintain. The device is great for beginners. It’s excellent to present as a gift.
So, why do I recommend the 23”-tall electric smoker? It’s really handy and easy to use. The output reaches 1,400 watts. That’s pretty good for such a lightweight device! It’s powerful. The temperature control is advanced. The gauge is available. It belongs to the analog type.
6. Char Broil Analog: Large-Capacity Electric Fish Smoker
Do you still have to stay at home? Enjoy your time, having a family party. Now you can hang out with your friends. Why don’t you do it in your backyard? Smoke delicious fish by yourself. It’ll taste better than in a restaurant, as you cook your own meal creatively.
You don’t have to invest a lot in your smoker. Use a simple and affordable solution. The analog electric smoker by Char Broil is convenient and feature-rich. If you are a beginner in outdoor cooking, it might be your right choice. In terms of fish smoking, electric devices are preferable. They are mess-free and clean.
The smoker maintains constant temperature. Your fish absorbs vapor, becoming delicious. It adds it taste and flavor. The appliance is safe and versatile. You’ll have to use it indoors, as it’s still corded. Do you want to cook outdoors? Use a long and safe, water-resistant extension cord. It is to handle the smoker’s wattage.
Features and Specifications
The analog smoker by Char Broil is sturdy and durable. It stands out by;
- Double-wall construction.
- Two exhaust ports.
- Insulated chamber.
- 544 in3 of cooking space.
- 1200-watt, powerful heating element.
- 3 reliable cooking grates.
- Convenient carry handles.
The door-mounted, traditional temperature gauge belongs to the analog type. It looks like a dial that accurately represents the heat variations. It doesn’t let you control the temperature remotely. You’ll have to open the door to add wood chips. But the smoker is still very easy to control and use.
Char Broil is a reputed and reliable company. It manufactures top-quality outdoor grills and smokers since 1948. It focuses on reliability and innovations. So, their analog electric fish smoker is durable and well-built. It comes with a 1-year warranty. Additionally, the product is simple in use, easy to clean and maintain.
Buyers’ Guide: How to Choose Best Smoker for Fish?
If you really like fish, how would you cook it? Why don’t you smoke it in a fish smoker? It would get a perfectly moist texture. You would adore the delicious flavor. Smoked fish is healthy. It contains a lot of proteins, unique fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
According to the NIH Institutes, these acids are essential components of phospholipids. They provide energy for your body. Additionally, omega-3s play an important role in human:
- brain, heart, bone and eye health;
The acids are effective against inflammation, anxiety and depression, mental disorders. They help prevent cancer, reduce asthma and alleviate pain. I hope, you eat fish every day. It’s an important nutrient.
So, what is the best smoker for fish? It definitely features:
- Multiple deep and shallow racks;
- Reliable temperature control;
- Perfect sealing.
The fish cold smoker or hot smoking techniques should not let the smoke fly out from the device. Additionally, it’s important not to overdo the fish. The temperature is to be below 250°F, for sure. Therefore, a fish smoker is to be sturdy, thick, durable, heavy.
Hot and Cold Smoker
If you want some moisture remains, don’t overdo the fish. The temperature of about 145-200 degrees is the best for multiple fish species, for example:
The seafood like oysters, scallops or shrimp would need even more delicate smoking. Only about half an hour is sufficient. So, if the temperature is easy to control, it’s a benefit.
So, cold smoke vs hot smoke: let’s figure it out what is the difference between them?
Cold smoked fish is really delicious. It’s rich in fats and vitamins. However, to prevent any risk of bacteria and contamination, it’s recommended to use:
- a lot of salt;
- various herbs, spices, and brines.
It would be preferable to dry the fish before smoking. However, it depends on the recipe.
Hot smoking is safer. It’s fast and easy. Smoking can last for not more than 90 minutes. What a great idea for BBQ! So, which type of smoker would you choose?
Gas vs Electric Smoker
There are 3 types of smokers I recommend you herewith.
When and where would you use each of them? Charcoal smokers, for example, offset ones, are really sturdy and durable. They are versatile, spacious, heavy-duty, cost-efficient.
Portability and ease of cleaning can be compromised. Charcoal devices ensure the deepest possible flavor. If you’ve got a propane tank, take a propane smoker along. It finds some place in your trailer. These devices are portable, flexible fast, and easy to use.
These smokers need virtually no heating. So, they are time-saving. As to electric appliances, they are becoming more and more popular nowadays. The smokers are:
- easy-to-clean and maintain;
- safe and reliable.
Standing out by pretty simple constructions, electric smokers are compact. However, the size is sufficient for fish. These devices are user-friendly. For, example, you can control the temperature from your smartphone. So, they are preferable to use at home or at your patio. An electricity source is necessary.
How to Smoke Fish in an Electric Smoker?
Going to smoke some salmon or sea bass:
- Prepare the fish, gut and brine.
- Get suitable wood chips.
- Preheat the smoker.
- Smoke the fish.
- Check the temperature.
- Enjoy the fish!
An electric smoker is to be used outdoors. At least, it should be a well-ventilated and fire-proof place. Yes, some wood is added to the electric smoker, as well! It supplies a pleasant flavor. The best wood species for fish smoking are oak, maple, mesquite, pecan, hickory, apple, and cherry.
Smoking fish in an electric smoker is intuitive. Your compact appliance looks like a small refrigerator. It’s easy to use and clean. Electric smokers are simpler to set. They let you control temperature more accurately than propane and charcoal units. Units that come with digital control panels are more advanced. They feature clickers (remotes) and Bluetooth.
Smokers that include analog dials don’t let you step away. You won’t be able to monitor your fish preparation from the nearest lawn. But they enable precise indication. Thankfully, the gauge on the door provides external temperature control. Entry-level models are more affordable. Their features are straightforward, suitable for beginners.
How Long to Smoke Fish in Electric Smoker?
Every electric device requires seasoning and preheating. It’s not messy, but you still should not use it indoors. You are to eliminate fire risk, avoid burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. Get a suitable, weather-proof extension cord. Connect it in your yard.
Thus, but for the cases of power outage, an electric smoker saves your time. Preheating takes about 45 minutes. It should reach the temperature of 220-225°Fahrenheit. You can add wood chips before you start smoking your delicious fish. They are not essential. Electric heating element cooks the food.
But the chips of your choice add amazing smoke flavor. Burning wood supplies more authentic smoking results. So, you should purchase and have not less than 4 cups (1 pound) of hardwood chips. It’s enough for 3-5 hours of smoking.
Now, you can place your fish into the rack. What is the ideal temperature to smoke it? You need to apply lower heat than to cook large pieces of meat. Hot smoking requires 180-225° F and 2-3 hours of cooking in a smoker.
During the first hour of smoking set lower temperature (about 150 degrees). It lets the fish absorb incredible smoke flavor and aroma. If you cook delicious fish for a party, hot smoking a suitable method. You are to consume your smoked salmon, tuna or sea bass within a day or two. It’s shelf life is not long.
Cold smoking takes several days or weeks. Low temperatures (80-85 degrees) are enough. Salt and drying eliminate bacteria growth. It preserves your tasty fish. So it develops a long shelf life.
Anyway, don’t forget to brine the fish beforehand. Brining takes not less than 7-8 hours, depending on the fish size and thickness. It may last 14 or 24 hours. Your recipe also matters. It would be necessary to cool your fish in a fridge before smoking. Rinse it and let it air dry after brining. It takes about an hour.
The total preparation and smoking time is about 3-4 hours. So, enjoy your fish and don’t forget to eat it as often as it’s healthy.
The best smoker for fish is an electric one, like the one by Cuisinart. It’s durable, versatile and spacious. Charcoal units, like the smoker by Dyna-GLO, are sturdy and heavy-duty. Propane devices are portable and flexible.