Smoked Catfish

Smoked Catfish

Fried catfish may be a favorite, but have you ever tried smoking the fish? This recipe starts with a beer brine to keep the flesh nice and firm as it smokes and tones down the earthiness often associated with catfish. Then, it’s hit with a wet rub and smoked to perfection. The catfish in this recipe are smoked whole to deliver that wow factor and keep the flesh from drying out, so fire up the grill, grab a cold drink, and get your taste buds ready for a delicious and memorable main!
Servings 4
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes


  • Z Grills 450B Wood Pellet Grill
  • Z Grills Cherry Wood Pellets
  • Large Zipper Bag
  • Tongs
  • Knife
  • Probe Thermometer


  • 3 whole catfish, cleaned with heads removed
  • 12 ounces beer
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


  • Add the fish to a large zipper bag.
  • Combine the beer, orange juice, mustard, and salt to make the brine. Whisk until the salt dissolves.
  • Pour the brine over the fish. Pour in enough water, so the fish are covered.
  • Seal the bag, place it into a bowl to keep it upright, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove the catfish from the brine, and discard the brine.
  • Preheat your Z-Grills (preferably with branded apple or cherry wood pellets) or other wood pellet grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • As the grill heats, combine the oil and seasonings in a bowl.
  • Pat the fish dry, use a sharp knife to cut shallow slits in the fish, then rub with the oil and seasoning mixture.
  • Transfer the fish to the grates, close the lid, and smoke for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For super crispy skin, carefully remove the fish from the grill, and heat the grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once the grill comes to temperature, return the fish to the grates. Then, close the lid and cook for another 10 minutes or until browned to your liking.
  • Remove the fish from the grates, arrange it on a platter, and serve with your favorite side.


Clean catfish in a basin of water with lemon juice and salt. Use a sharp knife to remove the heads. If you don’t want to do this yourself, ask your fishmonger to do it for you.
Calories: 240kcal
Cost: 30
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked

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Z Grills

Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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