If you're looking to really wow your dinner guests, serving a a whole smoked snapper should do the trick. Not only does it make for a really awesome presentation at the table, but you'll look like a smoking and grilling goddess. With my recipe for smoked whole snapper, you'll realize how easy it is and wonder why you never tried it sooner!

While it looks like it might be difficult, it is actually quite easy to smoke a whole fish. It's made even easier by having your butcher remove the innards of the fish for you. Just tell them that you plan on smoking the whole fish and they will prepare accordingly for you.

Once you're home, you just need to stuff the insides with aromatics and citrus and the smoker does the rest of the work. It will infuse the fish with fragrant smoke — the tasty unsung hero ingredient in this recipe! This recipe originally came from my cook book, “Healthy Electric Smoker” (affiliate link) and can easily be made on any smoker or grill set up for indirect cooking with wood added for smoke.

If you enjoyed this recipe, don't forget to tag me on social so I can see how it turned out! You can find me at @grillgirlrobyn on Instagram or on Facebook at GRILLGIRL!




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Citrus and Herb Smoked Whole Snapper

  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 1:20
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Set your smoker temperature to 250 degrees. For this recipe, I use alder or cherry smoking wood.


  • 1 whole snapper, gizzards removed and de-scaled (have your butcher do this for you)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper


  1. Drizzle the insides of the snapper first with olive oil, then add the salt, pepper and garlic and spread in the inside of the cavity evenly.
  2. Layer lemon and lime slices in the cavity starting from front to back and then add the thyme sprigs in the cavity. Save any remaining lemon and lime slices for serving with the fish once it’s cooked.
  3. Place the snapper on a frog mat and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees- this will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the fish.
  4. Once the internal temp has been met, remove and serve immediately with remaining lemon and lime slices. The outer filets will remove pretty cleanly for serving but be extra vigilant about looking for bones before serving guests.


  • While fish filets remove any danger of finding bones, smoking the entire snapper adds visual appeal and keeps the fish moist as the pocket of citrus, garlic and herbs steam inside the fish as it cooks.
  • This fish is wonderful on its own or served with warm tortillas (it’s easy to find gluten free and grain free at the supermarket), fresh avocado slices, chopped cilantro and hot sauce for quick and easy fish taco. You can also serve these with Charleston-style coleslaw for a complete meal.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: American, Seafood, Fish
  • Method: Smoked, Grilled
  • Cuisine: American, Seafood

Keywords: smoked snapper, how to smoke snapper, how to smoke fish

Did you like this recipe? Check out my other island-inspired favorites!


Caribbean Coleslaw with Pineapple and Shredded Coconut

Smoked Garlic Bacon Kale Oysters

Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos