Serving a whole smoked snapper makes for a really awesome presentation at the table, and makes you look like a Smoking/Grilling Goddess! If only people knew how easy it was! While it looks like it might be difficult, it is actually quite easy to smoke a whole fish, made easier by having your butcher remove the innards of the fish for you. Tell him/her that you plan on smoking the whole fish and they will prepare accordingly for you.

Then, you just need to stuff the insides with aromatics and citrus and the smoker does the rest of the work infusing 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 drop me a line and tell me so or tag me on social so I can see how it turned out @grillgirlrobyn on insta or on facebook at GRILLGIRL!


smoked whole snapper

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smoked snapper

Citrus and Herb Smoked Whole Snapper

  • Author: Robyn
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


-Serves: 2-2 depending on how large the fish is

-Serving size 1 filet

-Prep time 20 minutes

-Cook time 1 hour

-Smoking wood: alder or cherry

-Smoker temp 250

-Rest time: n/a



  • 1 Whole Snapper, inside 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.

Serve these with Charleston style coleslaw for a complete meal. 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.

  • Category: American, Seafood, Fish
  • Method: Smoked, Grilled
  • Cuisine: American, Seafood

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




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