Introduction: Easy Cajun Smoked Pan Fish

I have read about smoked fish as a means of preservation, but never realized that it is something that, when done right, can replace other cooking methods and deliver a tender, juicy and delicious dish.

For this I looked up recipes for smoked catfish fillets. I happened to have a brim (kind of like a crappie or blue gill) and decided to try it and a small catfish as well. As we tried the fish, we discovered that the pan fish was actually better than the catfish fillets.

Thanks to Smoke Grill BBQ for the starting point.


  • @ 1 Gal of water
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • Up to 4 lbs of pan fish
  • Unsalted cajun seasoning (I use Joe's Hot Stuff from New Orleans School of Cooking)
  • Hot sauce (Texas Pete or Crystal)
  • Smoker
  • Apple Wood for smoking (soaked)

Step 1: Brine Your Fish

Of course, start with cleaned, scaled fish.

Dissolve salt in water and make sure cooled off.

Place fish and brine into one or two gallon bags

Refrigerate 1 - 4 hours

Step 2: Start Your Smoker

Begin warming your smoker...note, you will be smoking at a low temperature to retain the moisture.

Target temp is 190 - 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Season Your Fish

Remove the fish from the brine and drain somewhat.

Season liberally with cajun seasoning

Drizzle with hot sauce

Step 4: Smoke Your Fish

Add wood chips to your smoker (since you are smoking at a low temperature you will only need about 1/2 cup of chips)

Place fish on the rack(s) away from the heat source.

Smoke for about 2 hours.

Fish will be done when it flakes and is translucent, just like when you cook it

Step 5: Serve

This is nice served with rice, or salad for a light summer lunch or dinner.

It is also good as a topping for bagels and cream cheese.