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How to Smoke Carp to the Right Consistency

Carp fish, when freshly caught and smoked to the right consistency, is an excellent delicacy that you wouldn’t want to miss. If you are wondering how to smoke carp properly, you have come to the right place. Here, we will tell you the basic points you need to know to smoke this fatty fish to make it juicy and tender.

Carp is high on fat content; therefore, you can taste all the flavors and juices in it when you allow it to smoke for a few hours. You need to be very patient in the process, if you want to taste a plate of perfectly smoked carp. Before cooking the carp fish, you need to clean it well to make it suitable for cooking.

How to smoke carp – First step you should know – Cleaning

  • You cannot cook carp fish as soon as you have freshly caught it. Like most other types of fishes, you need to clean the fish properly to get rid of its strikingly dominant muddy accents. Here are the steps you should do diligently if you want to master the art of how to clean carp fish:
  • First, you need to remove all the scales from the carp, by using the back of a sharp knife all along the fish’s body.
  • While removing the scales is quite an easy task, the next process is something unique to carp fishes. Carps are known for their muddy flavors. After descaling the fish, you can use a knife or spoon to scoop out the dark blood line you find along the fish’s backbone.
  • The third step in cleaning is the most complex process in the entire procedure of how to smoke carp. This process involves removing the bones. Carp contains many small, hair-sized bones all over its body. So, it would help if you spent a lot of time getting the bones cleaned completely.

Brining the carp

The next step in making an authentic smoked carp recipe is to brine the fish well. Though the fish contains a lot of fat content, brining it for about 24 hours will make the fish tenderer and juicier after smoking it.

  • In one gallon of water, mix about 1.5 cups each of canning salt and brown sugar. Mix the contents well before you add your preferred spices. Around 5 tablespoons each of garlic powder and onion powder can be added to this mixture.
  • Place the cleaned carp in the brine solution. Transfer the contents into zipper-lock bags and put in the fridge for about 24 hours before you smoke the fish.

Process of how to smoke carp

Here, we have given the basic steps on how to smoke carp fish the right way. The steps are the same for all types of carp. So, if you want to know how to smoke Asian Carp or how to smoke buffalo carp, you can still go ahead with these steps:

  • In the last two hours of the brining process, you should go ahead and prepare the smoker.
  • Applewood, hickory and cherry are some of the best types of wood for smoking carp. Soak the wood that you choose in water for about 2 hours. After a couple of hours, drain the water completely and start with prepping your smoker.
  • Brush some oil on the smoker’s racks and light the wood after that. Let the smoker start working. Place the fish inside. You need to wait until the internal temperature touches 100 degrees F.
  • During the first three hours of smoking, you need to slowly reach the temperature intermittently, so that after 3 hours, the temperature reads at 160 degrees F.
  • Now continue to cook until the smoker’s temperature reaches at least 225 degrees F. You will notice this temperature after 8 hours. This will the same time when the internal temperature of the fish would have reached 180 degrees F.
  • Continue cooking at this same temperature for about 30 minutes for the fish to turn juicy and tender.

Some important points you should note while smoking carp:

  • Some people may not brine carp while smoking it. However, if you have used brine and brined the carp for 24 hours, you should also wipe the fish dry before putting it in the smoker. Allow the fish to dry for about 30 minutes, before you cook them.
  • Before placing the fish in the smoker, ensure that you rub oil on the racks, to prevent fish from sticking to it.
  • It will take 8 to 10 hours to smoke carp to perfection. So, please be patient and never try to take the fish out of the smoker before that. You need to be patient in the process.
  • If you want your smoked carp to be extremely juicy and tender on the inside, we recommend brining the fish for 48 hours.

Storing smoked carp properly

If you want to smoke carp to be consumed later, you should store them properly in the fridge. These are the steps you need to follow to store the smoked carp properly:

  • The smoked carp should cool down completely before you proceed to wrap them well.
  • Once cooled down properly, take each piece individually and wrap them in paper towels. Then, store the wrapped fish pieces in airtight containers.
  • You can store them in the refrigerator for about 14 days, but if you want to increase the shelf life, you can store the fish in the freezer. They stay good for up to 4 months in the freezer.
  • If the fish is not cooled down properly, it may get spoiled easily, even if you store them in airtight containers.


The carp is one of the fattiest fishes ever. Therefore, they tend to be extremely smooth and juicy, if they are smoked properly. The smoking process, per se, is very simple when it comes to cooking carp. You only need to pay attention to the prepping process. You can watch many videos and guides on the internet to know how to clean carp fishes perfectly and eliminate all the bones.