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Smoked Red Snapper

Today, we’re diving headfirst into the world of smoked red snapper fillet – a dish that’s as delicious as it is visually stunning. I’ve got my apron on and a twinkle in my eye because we’re about to embark on a culinary adventure that’ll make your taste buds do the tango. So, grab your fishing hat, and let’s reel in the details on creating this smokin’ masterpiece!

smoked snapper recipe

How to Make Smoked Red Snapper

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Smokin’ red snapper fillet is a labor of love, but the payoff is worth every minute. Here’s a quick rundown of how to whip up this delectable dish:

  1. Catch of the Day: Start with some fresh red snapper. Whether you’re out there with a fishing rod or you snagged it at the market, make sure it’s cleaned and gutted. We’re talking about a fish that’s ready to party!
  2. Brine It, Baby: In a large bowl, whip up a brine using water, salt, sugar, and your choice of spices. Give that snapper a nice, long soak in this flavorful concoction. It’s like a spa day for the fish!
  3. Prep the Grill: Fire up your grill While your fish gets all cozy in the brine. My friends, we’re talking charcoal or wood – none of that gas grill nonsense. The smokier, the better!
  4. Season to Perfection: Once your snapper has soaked up all that briny goodness, pat it dry and hit it with your favorite seasoning blend. Lemon, garlic, and a dash of cayenne never hurt anyone, right?
  5. Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em: Place the fillets on the grill, skin-side down, and let the magic happen. Use wood chips or chunks – hickory, cherry, or applewood are all winners – to infuse that unmistakable smoky flavor.
  6. Low and Slow: Smoking is all about patience, folks. Maintain a steady temperature of around 225°F (that’s about 107°C for our metric friends), and let your snapper cook for 2-3 hours. It’s like a slow dance with deliciousness!
  7. The Flippin’ Game: If you’re feeling adventurous, you can give those fillets a gentle flip halfway through. It’s like a fishy acrobatics show, but be gentle, we don’t want any casualties.
  8. Finishing Touch: When your snapper reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (that’s around 63°C), it’s time to take it off the grill. Let it rest for a few minutes – we all need a breather after all that smokin’!
  9. Serve with a Smile: Plate up your beautifully smoked red snapper fillets, garnish with some fresh herbs and lemon wedges, and bask in the admiration of your dinner guests. You’re a culinary genius!

How to Prepare

Now that we’ve got the recipe down let’s talk prep work. You wouldn’t go into battle without your armor, right? Well, the same goes for smoking red snapper. Here’s how to fillet it like a pro:

  1. Get the Right Tools: You’ll need a good fillet knife – sharp as a tack – and a sturdy cutting board. Safety first, folks!
  2. Scale It Down: Start by scaling your snapper. You can do this by running the back of your knife against the scales, moving from tail to head. It’s like a fishy massage!
  3. Remove the Head: Remove the head just behind the gills with a swift, confident cut. It’s like performing a magic trick but with a fish.
  4. Gut It Out: Next, make an incision from the belly to the gills and carefully remove the innards. Be gentle – no one likes a mess!
  5. Fillet Away: Lay your snapper on its side and make a long, shallow cut along the top, right behind the pectoral fin. Follow the spine all the way to the tail. Voila! You’ve got yourself a fillet.
  6. Skin Deep: To remove the skin, start at the tail end and slide your knife between the flesh and the skin, keeping it at a shallow angle. It’s like peeling off a snug pair of jeans!
  7. Trim and Clean: Trim off any excess skin or fat and give your fillet a final rinse. You want that snapper looking its best!

smoked red snapper fillet

Best Wood Choices

Alright, folks, let’s talk about the unsung heroes of smoked snapper – the wood chips! The right wood can take your dish from good to legendary. Here’s the lowdown on your best choices:

  1. Hickory: The king of smoky flavors! Hickory wood chips give your snapper a bold, robust taste that’ll have you coming back for seconds.
  2. Cherry: Looking for a touch of sweetness? Cherrywood is your go-to. It adds a subtle, fruity undertone to your fillet.
  3. Applewood: If you’re after a milder, slightly sweet smokiness, applewood is the answer. It pairs perfectly with seafood.
  4. Pecan: Pecan wood brings a nutty, buttery richness to the party. It’s like a symphony of flavors in your mouth!

How to Serve

Now that our culinary masterpiece is ready, it’s time to talk presentation. We eat with our eyes first, right? Here’s how to serve smoked red snapper in style:

  1. The Plating: Place those beautifully smoked fillets on a platter, skin-side down. It’s all about the aesthetics, my friends!
  2. Garnish Galore: Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs – parsley, cilantro, or chives – over your snapper. It’s like adding a pop of color to a masterpiece.
  3. Lemon Love: Arrange some lemon wedges around the fish. Squeeze some of that zesty goodness over your fillet just before digging in. It’s like a citrusy surprise!
  4. Sides Matter: Pair your snapper with roasted veggies, a crisp salad, or creamy mashed potatoes. It’s all about balance, folks!

Overall, serving smoked red snapper is an art form; you, my friend, are the artist. Let your creativity shine; remember, food is meant to be enjoyed!

smoked red snapper recipe

So there you have it, folks – the ultimate guide to mastering the art of smoked red snapper fillet! It’s a journey that’s as fun as it is flavorful, and I hope you give it a shot. Remember, cooking is all about experimentation and having a blast in the kitchen.

And as I wrap up this flavorful adventure, I just want to say thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this culinary escapade. Keep those grills smokin’, and remember: Life is too short for bland food.

Smoked Red Snapper

Indulge in the rich flavors of smoked red snapper with our foolproof recipe. Elevate your seafood game and create a memorable dining experience.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 4


  • 1 whole fresh red snapper about 2-3 pounds, cleaned and gutted
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
  • Fresh herbs parsley, cilantro, or chives for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Brining the Red Snapper

  1. Combine the water, kosher salt, brown sugar, minced garlic, lemon slices, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Stir until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
  2. Place the cleaned and gutted red snapper into the brine mixture. Ensure that the fish is fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. This brining process will infuse flavor and keep the fish moist during smoking.

Preparing the Smoker

  1. While the snapper is brining, prepare your smoker. Start by lighting the charcoal or heating the wood chunks until they burn and produce smoke.
  2. Fill the smoker's water pan with water to help regulate the temperature and keep the fish moist during cooking. Preheat the smoker to a steady temperature of 225°F (about 107°C).

Seasoning and Smoking

  1. Remove the red snapper from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
  2. Season both sides of the fish generously with your choice of seasoning. A combination of lemon, garlic, and a dash of cayenne works wonders.
  3. Place the seasoned red snapper fillets on the grill grates of the smoker, skin-side down. If your smoker has multiple racks, ensure enough space between the fillets for proper smoke circulation.
  4. Add your wood chips or chunks (hickory, cherry, or applewood) to the smoker. This is where the magic happens! The smoke will infuse that delicious smoky flavor into the snapper.
  5. Close the smoker lid and maintain a constant temperature of around 225°F (about 107°C) using the vents. Smoke the fish for 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (about 63°C). Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Serving with Flair

  1. Carefully remove the smoked red snapper fillets from the smoker using tongs. Place them on a serving platter, skin-side down.
  2. Garnish the fillets with fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, or chives, for a burst of color and flavor.
  3. Serve your smoked red snapper with lemon wedges on the side. Squeeze some zesty lemon juice over the fillets before indulging in this culinary delight.
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