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@hardwaterhackers Smoked Whitefish

This brine works great for lake whitefish, tullibee (aka cisco), and other similar oily white meat fish. It even works great for northern pike.



  1. Rinse fillets well in cold water
  2. Combine dry ingredients and 1 quart (950 mL) water in a mixing bowl. Mix until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
  3. Add brine to a food grade container with remaining water. Mix well.
  4. Add fillets to brine.

Place brined fillets in refrigerator or cooler packed with ice for 16 hours. A longer brine time will result in saltier fish. Thinner fillets should be brined for less time to prevent becoming overly salty. After brining, rinse fillets well in cold water and place on drying racks. The fillets will need to dry for 3 hours on drying racks in a refrigerator or a cool location to allow pellicle to form.


Spray smoker racks with a non-stick spray to prevent sticking.

For smoking whitefish, I like to use a mix of apple and hickory chips. Cherry chips are also a good option in place of hickory. Light smoker and ensure chips are smoking before placing fish on racks. Keep temperature between 180-190 degrees F (82-87 C) to keep fillets from drying out. Apply smoke for 2 hours. Keep fish in smoker at the same temperature for another 1-2 hours. Monitor fillets for desired moisture content. I prefer my smoked whitefish a little drier. Decrease total cooking time if a higher moisture content is desired.

whitefish in brine

whitefish in smoker

smoked whitefish