Classic Smoked Walleye Recipe – Add Some Spice for Extra Flavor
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to enjoy fresh walleye, then you’re in for a treat. I’ve got an amazing recipe for smoked walleye that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re a fan of smoked fish or just looking for a new way to enjoy your favorite fish, this recipe will have you hooked.
As someone who loves cooking, I know that the right ingredients and cooking methods can turn any meal into a delicious masterpiece. And with this smoked walleye recipe, you’ll get to experience the smoky flavors and rich textures that come with smoking fish. It’s a creative backyard cooking that you will definitely love.
The recipe combines the natural sweetness of fresh water fish with the savory and smoky flavors of wood trimmings, creating a flavor explosion that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. It’s the perfect summertime meal, light and flavorful, that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
But what I love most about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. You can enjoy it as a light meal on its own or pair it with your favorite sides for a more substantial feast. And if you’re feeling creative, you can even try out different variations and experiment with different ingredient quantities and seasonings.
So, whether you’re an experienced fish cook or just getting started, this smoked walleye recipe is definitely worth trying. In the following sections, I’ll take you through the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, serving suggestions, and much more. So, grab your favorite drink, and let’s get started!
Why You’ll Love This Smoked Walleye Recipe?
If you’re a fan of fish, then you’ll definitely want to give this smoked walleye recipe a try. There’s something about the smoky flavors and tender texture of smoked fish that just hits the spot. And with this recipe, you get to enjoy all of that and more.
One of the things that sets this recipe apart is the way it brings out the natural flavors of the fresh walleye. By using a simple brine with the right balance of salt and sugar, you get to infuse the fish with a deeper flavor that makes every bite a delight.
But what really takes this recipe to the next level is the smoking process. Using your favorite aromatic wood, you get to infuse the fish with a smoky flavor that’s just out of this world. Whether you prefer pecan wood or apple wood chips, you can experiment with different types of wood to find your perfect match.
And let’s not forget about the Lemon Cream Sauce, which is the perfect complement to the fish. The bright, creamy sauce with a hint of lemon just brings the whole dish together, making it a complete meal that’s both delicious and satisfying.
But what really makes this recipe stand out is its versatility. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or a backyard BBQ, this smoked walleye recipe can be adapted to suit any occasion. You can even experiment with different variations and ingredient ratios to find your perfect flavor.
So if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your favorite white fish meat, this smoked walleye recipe is definitely worth trying. With its smoky flavors, tender texture, and zesty Lemon Cream Sauce, it’s a meal that’s sure to impress. So, grab your fish fillets and get ready to enjoy a delicious and satisfying dish that’s perfect for any occasion.
Before you get started with this smoked walleye recipe, you’ll need to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to create this delicious meal:
- 6-8 lbs. walleye fillet
- 1 cup salt (can be Kosher salt, coarse salt, or canning salt)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 lemons, sliced
- 1 cup wood trimmings (pecan wood, alder wood, or apple wood chips)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- Lemon wedges for serving
Lemon Cream Sauce:
- 4-5 sliced lemons
- 1-2 cups fresh water
- 1-2 cups heavy cream or cream cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh thyme for garnish
As you can see, the ingredient list for this recipe is relatively short and easy to find at your local grocery store. You’ll need fresh walleye, some dry ingredients for the brine, and a few aromatic wood trimmings for smoking the fish. Additionally, you’ll need a few ingredients to make the Lemon Cream Sauce, which is the perfect complement to the fish.
It’s important to note that the salt content in the brine is crucial for the success of this recipe. Be sure to use the right amount of salt, and always season the fish with salt before cooking to ensure it’s well seasoned. Finally, the Lemon Cream Sauce can be adjusted to your taste, so feel free to add more cream cheese or lemon juice as needed.
By gathering all of the necessary ingredients before starting, you can ensure that the cooking process goes smoothly and that you end up with a delicious and satisfying meal that everyone will love.
The Recipe How-To
Now that you have all of the necessary ingredients, it’s time to get started on the smoking process. Here are the step-by-step instructions for smoking walleye:
- Make the brine: In a shallow bowl, combine the salt, sugar, garlic, onion powder, granulated garlic, and black pepper. Mix well until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the lemon slices and cold water to the bowl and mix again.
- Brine the fish: Place the fish fillets in the brine, making sure they are completely covered. Refrigerate for 8-10 hours, or up to 24-48 hours for larger fish.
- Prepare the smoker: Preheat your smoker to 225-250 degrees F. Soak your wood trimmings in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking.
- Smoke the fish: Remove the fish from the brine and rinse under cold water to remove excess salt. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the fish fillets with brown sugar, Kosher salt, garlic, and fresh dill. Place the fish on the grill grates and smoke for 10-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
- Prepare the Lemon Cream Sauce: In a separate bowl, combine lemon slices, fresh water, and heavy cream or cream cheese. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the lemon mixture. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve and Enjoy: Remove the fish from the smoker and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve with Lemon Cream Sauce, fresh thyme, and lemon wedges on the side.
As you can see, smoking walleye is a relatively simple process that requires a few key steps. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can ensure that your smoked walleye is cooked to perfection and has the perfect combination of smoky flavors and tender texture.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of wood trimmings and ingredient ratios to find your perfect flavor. Whether you’re smoking walleye for the first time or are an experienced fish cook, this recipe is sure to impress and will become a staple in your kitchen. So, grab your fish fillets and get ready to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion.
Substitutions and Variations
While this smoked walleye recipe is delicious as is, there are plenty of ways to customize it and make it your own. Here are a few variations you can try:
- Air Fryer Walleye Fish: If you don’t have a smoker or grill, you can still enjoy delicious smoked walleye by using an air fryer. Simply place chunks of fish in the fryer basket and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. The result is crispy and flavorful fish that’s perfect for a light meal.
- Beer Batter Fish Fry: For a more indulgent treat, you can try making beer batter fish fry. Dip the fish fillets in an egg wash, then coat them in a bread crumb mixture or cracker mixture. Fry the fish in oil for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. The result is a delicious and satisfying meal that’s perfect for a summertime cookout.
- Dill Tartar Sauce: While the Lemon Cream Sauce is the perfect complement to smoked walleye, you can also experiment with different types of sauces. For a tangy and flavorful option, try making Dill Tartar Sauce. Combine mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, fresh dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl. Mix well and serve with the fish.
- Parmesan-Crusted Smoked Walleye: For a more decadent flavor, you can try making Parmesan-Crusted Smoked Walleye. Mix panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Dip the fish fillets in an egg mixture, then coat them in the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the fish in an ovenproof baking dish for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to customize this recipe and make it your own. Whether you prefer a light and healthy meal or a more indulgent option, you can experiment with different variations and ingredient ratios to find your perfect flavor. So, grab your fish fillets and get ready to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion.
Serving and Pairing Suggestions
Once your smoked walleye is ready, it’s time to think about how you want to serve it. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions to make the most out of this delicious dish:
- Lemon Cream Sauce: The Lemon Cream Sauce is a must-have for serving with smoked walleye. Its tangy and creamy texture complements the smoky flavors of the fish perfectly. You can also add some fresh thyme for a pop of freshness and a beautiful garnish.
- Lemon Wedges: Lemon wedges are another classic accompaniment to smoked walleye. Squeezing a wedge of lemon over the fish can help bring out the flavors and give it a bright and refreshing taste.
- Bright Lemon Cream Sauce: If you’re looking for a more vibrant and citrusy sauce, you can try making a Bright Lemon Cream Sauce. Combine orange juice, lime juice, orange juice concentrate, and pineapple juice in a bowl. Whisk in cream cheese until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Wine Pairing: For a perfect wine pairing, try serving smoked walleye with a crisp and dry white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The acidity in the wine will help cut through the smoky flavors and complement the fish perfectly.
- Side Dishes: When it comes to side dishes, you can never go wrong with a fresh and colorful salad or some roasted vegetables. A simple side of steamed asparagus or green beans can also be a great option. Or, if you’re feeling indulgent, try serving the fish with some creamy mashed potatoes or a buttery risotto.
As you can see, there are plenty of serving and pairing suggestions that can take your smoked walleye to the next level. Whether you prefer a classic Lemon Cream Sauce or a more vibrant and citrusy option, the right accompaniments can make all the difference in how the dish is perceived. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect pairing.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating Options
If you’re planning to make smoked walleye for a special occasion or a large group, you might want to consider some make-ahead, storing, and reheating options. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your smoked walleye:
- Make-Ahead: The brining process can be done ahead of time, and the fish can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24-48 hours before smoking. You can also prepare the Lemon Cream Sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Storing: If you have any leftover smoked walleye, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to wrap the fish in a paper towel or kitchen towel to absorb any excess moisture.
- Reheating: To reheat the smoked walleye, you can either place it in the oven or in a pan on the stove. For the oven, preheat to 350 degrees F and bake the fish for 10-12 minutes, or until it’s heated through. For the stove, place the fish in a pan over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it’s heated through.
- Freezing: If you have a lot of smoked walleye left over and don’t want to waste it, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Be sure to wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. To reheat, simply thaw the fish in the refrigerator overnight, then use the oven or stove to reheat.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your smoked walleye stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Whether you’re making the fish ahead of time for a special occasion or have leftovers from a family dinner, these storing and reheating options can help you get the most out of your delicious meal.
Smoking walleye is a relatively easy and straightforward process, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you achieve the best possible results. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Removing Pin and Rib Bones: When cleaning your fish, be sure to remove any pin bones or rib bones. These small bones can be a choking hazard and can also affect the texture of the fish when smoked. Use a pair of pliers or tweezers to remove the bones before brining and smoking the fish.
- Brine Ingredients and Ratios: The ratio of brine ingredients can affect the salt content of the fish, so it’s important to get the measurements right. Use canning salt or Kosher salt for the brine, as table salt can be too fine and can result in an overly salty fish. A good ratio to follow is 1 cup of salt for every gallon of water.
- Choosing the Right Wood: The type of wood you use for smoking can have a big impact on the flavor of the fish. Alder wood and pecan wood are great options for smoking walleye, as they have a mild and slightly sweet flavor that won’t overpower the fish. Apple wood chips are also a good choice, as they impart a slightly sweet and fruity flavor.
- Checking the Temperature: It’s important to monitor the internal temperature of the fish when smoking, as overcooked or undercooked fish can affect the flavor and texture. Use an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fish, and remove it from the smoker when it reaches 145 degrees F.
- Smoking Time and Temperature: The smoking time and temperature can also affect the flavor and texture of the fish. For best results, smoke the fish at a temperature of 225-250 degrees F and for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish fillets.
- Avoiding Excess Water: When removing the fish from the brine, be sure to rinse it under cold water to remove any excess salt. Pat the fish dry with paper towels to remove any excess water, as this can dilute the smoky flavor of the fish.
- Rubbing the Fish: Rub the fish fillets with brown sugar, Kosher salt, garlic, and fresh dill before smoking. This will give the fish a deeper flavor and make it more tender.
- Letting the Fish Rest: Let the smoked walleye rest for a few minutes before serving, as this will allow the juices to redistribute and the flavors to develop.
By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your smoked walleye is delicious and perfectly cooked every time. Whether you’re a seasoned fish cook or trying smoking for the first time, these tips can help take your dish to the next level.
In conclusion, smoked walleye is a delicious and versatile dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re a seafood lover or just looking for a new recipe to try, this dish is sure to impress. With its smoky and savory flavor, tender white fish meat, and various serving options, it’s no wonder that smoked walleye is a favorite dish of many.
One of the best things about this recipe is how customizable it is. Whether you prefer a light and healthy version of the dish or a more indulgent treat, you can experiment with different variations and ingredient quantities to find the perfect flavor. The Lemon Cream Sauce is a must-have for serving with smoked walleye, but you can also try different sauces, wine pairings, and side dishes to complement the dish.
While smoking fish can seem intimidating at first, following the tips and tricks outlined in this recipe can make the process easy and foolproof. From choosing the right wood to monitoring the internal temperature, each step is crucial to achieving the perfect smoky flavor and tender texture.
So, whether you’re grilling in your backyard or cooking for a special occasion, smoked walleye is a dish that’s sure to impress. With its delicious smoky flavors and tender fish meat, it’s a dish that’s both satisfying and wholesome. So, grab your fish fillets, fire up the smoker or grill, and get ready to enjoy a delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion.
- Smoker or grill
- Wood chips (Alder or Pecan are recommended)
- Baking sheet
- 4-5 lbs Walleye fillet skin removed
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- Lemon wedges for serving
- In a large bowl, mix together the Kosher salt, brown sugar, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, and fresh dill.
- Rub the mixture all over the Walleye fillets, making sure to coat them evenly.
- Cover the fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-10 hours.
- Preheat the smoker or grill to medium-high heat.
- Place the Walleye fillets on a greased baking sheet and smoke or grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145°F.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges.
- Be sure to remove any pin bones or rib bones from the fish before smoking.
- If using a grill, place the fish on the grill grates and grill on indirect heat for a smokier flavor.
- The smoking time may vary depending on the size of the fish fillets.
- If you want a creamier sauce to go with your fish, you can try making a Lemon Cream Sauce by combining lemon juice and sour cream in a bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Shara @The Bird BBQ
Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.