Smoker Recipes

Slices of German smoked goose
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

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What you’ll find below is my collection of smoker recipes for various meats and fish, as well as a few general tips on smoking in general.

Smoked meats are some of my favorites, and while the basic process for smoking is all very similar — salt cure, dry, smoke, eat, repeat — there is a lot of nuance and variation in exactly how you get to that point. Many of these recipes are designed for wild game or wild fish or shellfish, but you can almost always substitute store-bought meat and fish.

The best food to smoke is food that has some fat in it. Period, end of story. Yes, you can smoke lean foods, like lean fish, but I don’t much like it — as a strictly smoked product. If, on the other hand, you are simply cooking, say, a leg of venison over a slow smoky fire just until it hits medium on the inside, then that works great.

Strictly smoked foods are under the smoke for a long time at often very low temperatures. Hot smoking is somewhere between 80°F and 225°F, but at that higher end you are really getting into barbecue country, which is similar, but different. Below 80°F, you are cold smoking.

Speaking of barbecue, this is also best done in a smoker, and for those smokers where you can control the temperature, you can even roast things, which is what you get once your temperature passed about 325°F.

My sweet spot for timing in most of these recipes is four hours. You can smoke most meats in that timeframe and get a nice level of smoke without destroying the meat. Fish takes less time, and something like wild hog BBQ takes a lot longer.

As for the smokers I prefer, I mostly use a Traeger Timberline, which is just about as badass a smoker/pellet grill as I’ve ever used. The only other smoker I recommend is a Bradley — for smoking seafood and fish. I’ve used all sorts of other smokers, though, even an old Weber kettle. You can rig something up no matter what you have on hand.

Keep in mind these are all smoker recipes for hot-smoked products, and hot smoked meats and fish do not keep as long as cold smoked things, such as salami or salmon.

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Smoked Meats

A whole smoked pheasant on a cutting board.

Smoked Pheasant

A whole smoked pheasant is a beautiful thing. Don’t you agree? This one’s glazed with maple syrup.

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Boneless smoked turkey breast

Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast

This will make the best sandwich meat you’ve ever had. Perfect with homemade mustard and lettuce on a roll.

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honey glazed ham recipe

Honey-Glazed Smoked Ham

I do this with boneless wild boar hams, but you could use domesticated pork, too. This is a ham in the style of an Easter Ham.

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finished smoked duck recipe

How to Make Smoked Duck

Sliced, smoked duck or goose is heaven on a plate — or in a sandwich.

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German smoked goose breast recipe

Smoked Goose Breast

A very special recipe for a German smoked goose breast, from Pomerania in Northern Germany. One of the best things I’ve ever made.

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Slices of goose pastrami on a cutting board.

Goose Pastrami

Another awesome thing to do with goose breasts. This works best with Canada geese or domesticated geese.

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Closeup of smoked pork chops on a cutting board

Smoked Pork Chops

When life brings you nice, thick pork chops, smoke ’em! You get fat to render, meat to eat, and bones to cook with beans or greens!

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Smoked Fish and Shellfish

finished smoked salmon recipe, with fish on cooling rack

How to Smoke Salmon

My method for smoking salmon is very simple, but I’ve perfected it over many years. It’s a wet-brine with a maple glaze, although I prefer Alaskan birch syrup when I can get it.

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Adding spruce tips to Smoked Lake trout

Smoked Lake Trout

Lake trout are similar to salmon, and you can use the recipe above for your lakers, but I like this recipe better. It reflects the cold, Northern lakes these fish swim in.

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pieces of candied salmon on a cutting board.

Smoked Candied Salmon

This method of smoking salmon uses a dry cure with lots of brown sugar. You also glaze the strips salmon with maple syrup to make this some of the best road food you’ll ever eat.

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Smoked mussels made at home

Smoked Mussels

By far the best way to eat mussels, in my opinion. These freeze well and are great on their own with a little olive or squash seed oil, or tossed in salads or pasta.

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smoked oysters recipe

Smoked Oysters

Similar to my smoked mussels, only with pretty little oysters. Great mixed into pasta or soups.

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smoked sablefish recipe

Smoked Sablefish

A classic New York deli specialty, this is smoked black cod or sablefish with a little glaze of honey and a light dusting of paprika.

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smoked shad recipe

How to Smoke Shad

Shad is an awfully bony fish, and smoking it is a great way to get through the bones.

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smoked sturgeon recipe

Smoked Sturgeon

Sturgeon is firmer and meatier than most fish, so I use a dry cure here. The result is mind-blowingly good.

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