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How to Make Smoked Marlin with Our Fresh Recipe

Marlin is one of the rarest fish you can find, so if you catch it raw, it’s a great idea to prepare a marlin dish. Like any other smoked recipes, you need to be very patient in the process, if you want to master the art of how to make smoked marlin.

While the fish needs to soak in the brine solution for at least 8 to 10 hours, they also need to be smoked for an additional 8 hours, if you want to enjoy the authentic taste of the majestic marlin fish.

How to Make Smoked Marlin in the Classic Smoker

Before knowing more about this recipe, here are some basic tips you should know about smoking any type of fish in a classic or electric smoker:

  • The time that the fish has to soak in the brine and the time it needs to be smoked depends on its cut type and weight. Suppose the weight of one piece is less than 1/4lb; the brining time needs to be 30 minutes. For every additional 1/4lb of weight, the brining time needs to be increased by 15 minutes. So, if you use a big fish size, where every piece weighs about 5lbs, you should soak it in brine for hours.
  • Fish should be smoked at about 190 degrees, or more (as per the fish). The time for smoking depends on the weight of the fish. If the weight of each piece is about 1/2lb, you should smoke it for 1.5 hours. For every 1/2lb additional weight of the fish, you need to increase the smoking time by 30 minutes.

In the following sections, we will go through the ingredients and the process on how to cook smoked marlin.

Things You Need

Are you wondering how to make smoked marlin?

Here’s what you’ll need for it:

  • A good smoker or gas grill (classic offset smoker or an electric smoker would do)
  • Wood (we recommend using fruitwood if you don’t want the intense woody flavors in the fish) – 15 to 20 logs of wood
  • Charcoal – as needed

Ingredients for brining

  • Water – ¾ gallons
  • Apple juice – 2 cups
  • Soy sauce – 1 cup
  • Brown sugar – ¾ cup
  • Kosher salt – ¼ cup
  • Pepper (whole) – 1 tablespoon
  • Minced garlic – 1 clove
  • Bay leaves – 5
  • Zipper lock bags – quite a few

How to Cut Marlin for Smoking It Perfectly

If you want to know how to make smoked marlin the right way, here’s a step-by-step process you need to follow:

  • In a huge bowl, add all the ingredients needed for the brine. Mix them well until the contents blend properly. Let the contents settle well in the bowl for a while.
  • Now, you can proceed to cut the marlin. Usually, there are different cuts you can give to the fish; 6-inch-long strips, fillet steaks, big chunk.
  • As you cut each type, dip the pieces in brine and seal them well in 1-gallon zipper packs. Use three different packs for the strips, fillets, and chunks. Once you have filled the packs with the pieces, pour 1 or 2 cups of brine solution in each of them, before you seal them tightly.
  • Now, you have three, well-sealed zipper packs with the different cuts of fish soaking in the brine mixture. Place these packs in the refrigerator and allow the meat to soak in the mixture for about 8 to 12 hours.
  • Prepare your smoker by adding the wood and lighting the fire. You can use any smoker that you have. Allow the smoker to reach a temperature of about 200 to 225 degrees F.
  • Take the fish out of the zipper packs and wipe off the liquid on them, so that smoked flavor enters all the areas of the fish.
  • Keep a perforated sheet on the smoker and place your marlin pieces carefully on the sheet.
  • Ensure that you keep the strips far away from the fire, as you don’t want to overcook them. You can remove the strips from the smoker, once you have reached a temperature of 140 degrees F. This might take about 2 hours.
  • Let the steaks and roast continue to remain in the smoker. Remove the steaks from the smoker, once they reach a temperature of 160 degrees F. This might take about 3 to 5 hours to cook.
  • You can remove the roast finally from the smoker when it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F. This will take about 8 to 10 hours to get smoked completely.

How Long Does Smoked Marlin Last?

We recommend you enjoy your marlin as soon as you prepare it. However, if there are leftover marlins that you wish to consume later, ensure that you immediately seal the fish.

Wrap the marlin using air-tight aluminum foil, and store them in heavy-duty freezer-specific plastic bags.

Make sure the marlins are stored in well-sealed packages before you put them in the refrigerator. Smoked marlins taste good for about 2 to 3 weeks from the date of sealing. However, if you put them in the freezer, they taste good for anywhere between 3 and 6 months.

This time limit applies only if the seals are unopened. If you have opened the package, you should eat the fish within 3 days, regardless of whether you had stored it in the refrigerator or freezer.


The key to perfecting how to make smoked marlin the right way is to give enough for soaking and brining.

All you need to do is follow the timing we mentioned for the fish’s weight, and you’ll never have to eat undercooked or overcooked smoked fish anymore.

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