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Timber 2 Table - Brined and Smoked Hybrid Striped Bass

The next time you fill the live well with hybrids, use some for this versatile and delicious smoked fish

Brined and Smoked Hybrid Striped Bass

15 Min

Prep Time

180 Min

Cook Time



Easy, Medium


Once turkey season wraps up around here, attention turns to the big hybrid striped bass that start running down at the local lake. The spring run is the perfect time to stock up on a tasty, mild, white-fleshed fish that is extremely versatile in the kitchen. A good night will turn up several fish in the 6-to-9-pound range, and it doesn’t take long to fill up a cooler.

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This smoked fish is perfect by itself or used in other recipes.

One of my favorite things to do with them is to brine and smoke. I serve this as is, straight off the grill, or use it in fish dips, chowders, and the like. I prefer skin-on fillets for this method. Simply remove the scales during the cleaning process before filleting your fish.

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Scale the fish but leave the skin on to hold the fillet together on the grill.

Since the hybrids are extremely mild in flavor, the brining process is a great way to add both flavor and moisture to the smoked fish. Make the brine by heating the water and stirring in the salt and sugar. Once both have fully dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. Add the orange juice to give the fish even more flavor and a touch of citrusy sweetness.

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Mix the brine ingredients and pour over the fish before refrigerating from 4 to 8 hours.

Place the fish fillets in a large bowl or pan. Pour over the cooled brine. Add 1 tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning, black pepper, and bay leaves. Cover tightly and refrigerate the fish for at least 4 and up to 8 hours. Remove the fish from the brine, rinse under cold water, then pat dry with a paper towel.

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After the fish has brined, rinse and pat dry before smoking.

Heat your smoker to 180 degrees. Wipe the racks down with an oil-soaked paper towel or rag to prevent sticking. Place the fish directly on the rack, skin side down. Sprinkle the fillets with additional Old Bay seasoning.

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Sprinkle the fish with Old Bay seasoning.

Smoke for 2 to 4 hours, depending on fillet thickness. You are looking for an internal temperature of around 145 degrees and flesh that flakes easily when pressed with a fork.

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Smoke until the fish has cooked through and easily flakes apart.

Serve the fish warm as a main course or wrap tightly and refrigerate for use in other recipes. The smoked fish can be frozen for long-term storage.


2-3 pounds hybrid striped bass fillets, skin-on

2 quarts water

½ cup kosher salt

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup orange juice

Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon coarse cracked black pepper

2-3 bay leaves

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