Recipe: Smoked Asian Carp

This recipe was shared with us by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Steve Robillard, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (recipe adapted from recipe in Outdoor Illinois, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, May 2002).


  • 5 pounds Asian carp steaks or fillets (skin on)
  • 1 cup kosher or pickling salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Charcoal for smoker
  • Wood chips (cherry or apple)


Mix salt and sugar in a bowl. Roll fillets in salt/sugar mixture until coated. Seal fillets in a re-sealable
plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Flip bag over and refrigerate for an additional 2
hours. Remove fillets and rinse under cold water. Place fillets on a cooling rack until water dries.
Soak wood chips in water one hour before smoking. Light charcoal and let it burn until covered with a
light ash. Fill smoker’s water pan to create steam in smoker and keep fish from drying out.
Lightly oil the grill and position brined fish skin-side down on the rack. Add a handful of wood chips to
charcoal and close smoker. Replenish chips every 20–30 minutes. Most fish will be cooked in 1–2 hours,
but times will vary with the outside temperature and the number of coals.

Finished fillets will have a golden honey to mahogany color, depending on the type of wood chips used.
Cooked fish will flake easily and be opaque on the inside. Allow fish to cool and serve “as is” or use in
recipes that traditionally call for smoked salmon.

Makes 20 servings, so enjoy with friends!

Battering Asian carp fillets. Photo credit: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Preparing Asian carp fillets. Photo credit: Paula Ouder, Louisiana Sea Grant.


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