Learn to make delicious hot smoked cod on your pellet grill or charcoal smoker using this complete step-by-step guide.
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at smoking fish? While smoking salmon is a more common fish to use for this process, there is something truly delicious about using light and buttery black cod fillets instead.
Don’t be intimated by the hot smoking process. In fact, with a quick overview outlined below, you will have a solid understanding of this simple fish recipe in no time.
I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the article to get the key points to smoking cod by understanding the brining process, creating the pellicle, and how to properly hot smoke.
The best part is when you have leftovers, you can make this Florida smoked fish dip recipe too!
Let’s dive in!
- Large Dish (glass works best)
- Small Cookie Sheet
- Cooling Rack
- Meat Thermometer
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
What Is Black Cod?
Black cod is a type of cod fish that also can go by the name of sablefish. While it is very similar to the regular cod fish that you are used to buying, it’s actually richer and a lot more buttery than standard cod.
While I always love salmon, cod is a nice and light mild flavor fish. In fact, it’s becoming one of my favorite fish recipes.
This fish may be harder to find in local grocery stores, so try your hand at your local fish market. It is also easier to find with a lot of online retailers these days, like E-fish (get $25 off your first order with code BONAPPETEACH).
You can purchase it as whole fish fillets or in pieces. Either will work for this recipe.
What Is Hot Smoking?
There are two main ways that fish is smoked; either with hot smoking or cold smoking.
Cold smoking is a great way to add smoke flavor without really cooking your food and generally uses temperatures around 180 F. This is a little harder to achieve and while I can respect this process, I prefer the texture of hot-smoked fish instead.
Smoke the black cod fillets at a low and slow temperature between 200 F- 225 F. You can hot or cold smoke on a pellet smoker for easier temperature management, but any smoker works for this recipe.
If you have heard of black cod, chances are you have also heard of the famous miso black cod recipe from the restaurant Nobu.
This is my take on the popular dish and I highly encourage you to follow this brine recipe if you can.
- Sake (a dry sake wine is best)
- Mirrin or Rice Wine Vinegar
- White Miso Paste
- Cold Water
- 2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
While this recipe imparts a lot of flavors, you can also do a simple dry brine of salt and brown sugar and cover the fish completely. This is a more traditional method for fish smoking.
Prepping your fish before smoking is critical to this recipe. Here are a few things you need to make sure happen prior to smoke.
- Start at least 24 hours in advance with this process
- Combine the sake, mirin, and miso in a pot and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes to burn off the alcohol (or you will end up with ceviche).
- Let it cool and mix in the cold water, sugar, and salt.
- Prep the fish by removing any pin bones and leaving the skin on (cod is a delicate fish so this helps hold it together)
- Place the fillet pieces into a large dish and cover it with the brine mixture.
- Let it marinate for 4-8 hours in the fridge.
- Remove it from the marinade and rinse it under water (do not skip this step). Pat very dry with a paper towel and place each piece on an elevated wire rack over a baking sheet.
- The cod should sit in the fridge like this, uncovered overnight to build the shiny, sticky coating called the pellicle.
- Preheat the smoker to 200 F.
- Keep the fish cold in the fridge until you are ready to place it on the grill grate. Keep it on the wire rack for easy transfer.
- Close and hot smoke the fish until the internal temperature of 140 F. Let it rest to hit a final temperature of 145 F.
- Remove the fish from the smoker and let it rest at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are a few other commonly asked questions to help guide you through this cook!
How do you know when smoked cod is done?
Use a meat thermometer and place the probe into the thickest part of each fish fillet to determine accurate internal temperature. Fish is safely cooked according to the USDA when it hits 145 F.
What to serve with cod?
The smoked cod tastes great over crackers or sliced bread. Garnish with some fresh lemon juice, a little soy sauce, and some fresh ginger or chili garlic sauce to go with the miso fish flavor.
I also love to get a little fancy and make crispy rice patties, topped with sriracha mayo, sliced avocado, and topped with the flaky smoked cod pieces.
How long does cooked cod last in the fridge?
Store the leftover cod in an airtight container and cover it with plastic wrap. Smoked cod will last up to 7 days in the fridge but is best when used within 3-4 days after hot smoking.
Smoked Cod Recipe
- 2 lbs. Black Cod Fillets Bones removed, sliced into 4 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Sake
- 1/4 cup White Miso Paste
- 1/2 cup Mirin
- 1 cup Cold Water
- 2 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- If you haven't read through the full article above, do so now. Plan this cook at least a day in advance.
- Pat the black cod fish fillets dry with paper towels. Use tweezers to remove any pin bones.
- Slice the fillets into smaller pieces, about 3-4 inches long and wide. Place them in a shallow dish and set the fillets aside.
- In a pot, combine the sake, mirin, and miso. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool
- Let it cool fully to room temperature and add the cool water, sugar, and salt.
- Pour the mixture over the black cod fillets so they are fully covered over the top. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 4-8 hours.
- Remove from the marinade and rinse each piece of cod. Pat each piece very dry with paper towels.
- Place each piece of cod onto a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place the rack of fish back into the fridge and leave it uncovered overnight to form the pellicle.
- Preheat the smoker to 200 F. Keep the heat between 200 F.-225 F.
- Remove the black cod from the fridge right before placing it onto the smoker. Transfer the wire rack with the fish fillets straight onto the grill grates for ease.
- Smoke the cod fillets until each piece reaches an internal temperature of 140-145 F. Remove the fish from the smoker and let it rest at room temperature
- Serve over crispy rice with sriracha mayo and avocado or with crackers, sliced bread, and veggies!