Smoked fish appetizers with mackerel, sturgeon, perch on woden cutting board

Halibut are the largest flatfish in the world, and are found all around the North Pacific. They usually live at a depth of 90 to 900 feet. The fish can live up to 40 years and, according to Piscatorial Pursuits, can weigh over 500 pounds. While smoking a whole halibut fish is not common, smoking the delicate white fleshed fillets is popular among home cooks and fishers. Simple to do with the right tools, wood and patience, smoked halibut is a delicious means of cooking the fish.

Wash the fillets thoroughly under running water. Pat them dry with a damp paper towel.

Insert the fillets into the sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over them, enough to cover all the surfaces. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag.

Brine the fish for 4 to 8 hours, turning the bag over several times to ensure even coating of the surfaces.

Place the woodchips in the large bowl and cover them with water. Soak them for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Spray oil on the grill of the electric smoker to ensure the fish does not stick to it while smoking.

Remove the fillets from the marinade and place the fillets on the grill. Let them air dry for one hour to allow a glaze to form. This seals in all the moisture while the fish cooks.

Set the smoker to 215 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the fillets, skin side down on the grill. Cook them for 7 to 10 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in to the thickest part of the meat reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve the fillets right away, or refrigerate them and consume within 2 to 3 days.


A variety of other woods can be used, such as apple or mesquite, to flavor the fish.

A good brine for halibut is: water, wine, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, onion powder and minced garlic. However, a variety of other seasonings can also be used.