The Top 3 Woods for Smoking Trout

Best woods for smoking trout

Smoking trout is a popular cooking method that imparts a unique and delicious flavor to this delicate fish. While there are several types of wood that can be used for smoking, some woods are particularly good at enhancing the flavor of trout. In this article, we will explore the three best woods for smoking trout: cedar, cherry, and alder.

Cedar Wood

Cedar is widely considered one of the best woods for smoking trout because of its strong and beautiful aroma. It provides a bright, spicy, and almost citrusy smoke flavor that pairs perfectly with the mild and slightly sweet flavor of trout. In addition, cedar wood is abundant in regions where trout are commonly found, making it a historically and geographically appropriate choice.
To smoke trout with cedar wood, it is recommended to use cedar planks. These planks can be placed directly on the grill, eliminating the need for special equipment. The plank-smoking method allows for the preparation of whole trout fillets, ensuring even cooking and imparting the distinct flavor of cedar wood.

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood is another excellent choice for smoking trout. It offers a subtle cherry flavor that complements the natural flavor of the fish without overpowering it. The rich smokiness of cherry wood enhances the overall experience, creating a balanced and flavorful dish.
When using cherry wood, you have the option of using smoking planks or wood chunks. Smoking planks can be placed directly on the grill, while wood chunks are typically used in a smoker. The choice between these two options depends on personal preference and the equipment available. Regardless of the method chosen, smoking trout with cherry wood results in a delicious end product.

Alder Wood

Alder wood, a hardwood with a subtle and earthy flavor, is also suitable for smoking trout. It is important to note that the delicate nature of alder wood requires that it be paired with simple trout recipes that do not overpower its subtlety. Alder trees grow abundantly in regions where trout are abundant, creating a natural affinity between the wood and the fish.
Similar to cherry, alder wood can be used in the form of boards, blocks or chips. This versatility allows for the use of either a smoker or a grill, depending on personal preference and the desired smoking process. Regardless of the method chosen, it is recommended that the recipe be kept simple to allow the flavors of both the trout and the alder wood to shine through.

Smoking trout on a cedar board

Smoking trout on a cedar plank is a popular method that combines a unique smoky flavor with the rich texture and delicate flakiness of the fish. The following recipe is a basic guideline for smoking trout on a cedar plank:

  • 1 large trout fillet, boned (skin may remain)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cedar plank


  1. Soak the cedar plank according to directions, for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the grill to 150°C (300°F).
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  4. Remove the soaked cedar plank from the water and place on a clean surface.
  5. Place the trout fillet skin side down on the cedar plank.
  6. Spread the spice mixture evenly over the flesh side of the trout.
  7. Place the cedar plank with the trout in the grill and close the lid. Check periodically to make sure the board is smoking but not on fire, keeping the lid closed as much as possible to keep the smoke in.
  8. Cook the trout until it reaches an internal temperature of 63°C (145°F). Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the fillet.
  9. When cooked through, remove the cedar plank from the grill and serve the trout with your favorite side dishes. The cedar plank can also be used as a serving tray.

Smoking Salmon with Alder, Cedar, and Cherry Wood

In addition to trout smoking, alder, cedar, and cherry woods are excellent choices for smoking salmon. Salmon, a fatty and rich fish with a strong flavor, pairs well with the intense smoke imparted by these woods.
The same principles and methods used for smoking trout can be applied to smoking salmon. Cedar planks are particularly popular for smoking salmon as they enhance the natural flavor of the fish and provide a delicious smoky flavor. Cherry and alder wood can also be used, either individually or in combination, to create unique and exciting flavor profiles for smoked salmon.


When it comes to smoking trout, selecting the right wood is critical to achieving the desired flavor profile. Cedar, cherry and alder are three of the best options for smoking trout, each offering its own unique characteristics. Cedar wood provides a bright and spicy flavor, cherry wood adds a subtle cherry note, and alder wood imparts a delicate and earthy flavor.
Whether you use cedar planks, cherry wood chunks, or alder chips, experimenting with different types of wood can take your smoked trout to a whole new level. Remember to keep the recipe simple to allow the flavors of the fish and wood to shine through. Soak the wood as needed and monitor the smoking process to ensure optimal results.
By adding these top trout smoking woods to your culinary repertoire, you can create a delicious and flavorful experience for yourself and your guests. So fire up the smoker or grill, prepare your trout fillets, and enjoy the delicious results of smoking with cedar, cherry, or alder wood.


What woods are best for smoking trout?

The three best woods for smoking trout are cedar, cherry, and alder.

What flavors do these woods impart to the trout?

Cedar wood imparts a bright and spicy flavor, cherry wood imparts a subtle cherry note, and alder wood imparts a delicate and earthy flavor.

Can I use other types of wood to smoke trout?

While cedar, cherry and alder are the recommended woods, you can experiment with other fruit woods such as apple or peach for different flavor profiles.

Do I need special equipment to smoke trout with cedar planks?

No, you can simply place the cedar plank with the trout directly on your barbecue grill without any special equipment.

How long should I soak the cedar plank before smoking the trout?

Soak the board for a minimum of 30 minutes, but you may extend the soaking time up to 2 hours for optimal results.

Can I use the same wood to smoke other types of fish?

Yes, cedar, cherry, and alder woods are also great for smoking salmon and other types of fish, providing delicious smoky flavors.