Smoked Seafood Platter

| February 8, 2010 | 2 Comments

For those of you who don’t get excited by raw seafood, smoked is a refreshing way to serve a variety of seafood that makes an easy and beautiful dinner presentation.

When Charles and I went to Paris many years ago, I remember the  displays outside the restaurants, with fish, oysters, clams and shrimp arranged in beautiful designs along with fresh herbs in cases of ice. It was a nice way to lure in customers.

So yesterday, with my fresh-caught trout soaking in a brine solution in the fridge, I took an inspiration from my memory of Paris and decided to create a tray of smoked seafood for our dinner party. At the neighborhood supermarket, I headed to the seafood section and found that they had live oysters, clams and mussels, as well as wild shrimp in a variety of sizes.

Smoked seafood platter comprised of trout, shrimp, mussels and oysters.

There would be five of us for dinner so I decided that in addition to the five trout I had caught myself the day before, I would get five jumbo shrimp, ten mussels and a dozen oysters. Then I headed to the produce section to get a couple of bunches of dill and a lemon.

With my shopping complete, I headed home.

To smoke seafood, you don’t need a fancy smoker. Charles and I have developed a technique that uses our Weber round kettle grill for smoking. All you need is some alder or apple wood chips and some heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Make a tray to hold the wood chips out of two layers of heavy-duty foil and poke some holes in the foil so that the chips will get heated from the coals. Light a small amount of coals, just enough to mound on one side of the Weber grill and place your tray of chips on top of the coals. You should bend or roll up the sides of your foil tray so the chips don’t fall into the coals.

Next, I place the metal grill on and spray it with cooking oil to keep the fish from sticking, and I set an oven thermometer on the grill and close the top. When the chips start to smoke and the internal temperature in the grill reaches 200 degrees F, you can close the top grill vent partially in order to retain as much smoke as possible and you’re  ready to start putting the seafood in. The key is to put all of the seafood that you want to smoke on the cold side of the grill, opposite where the coals and your tray of wood chips are. You don’t want the seafood over the coals.

Smoked Seafood

  • When smoking trout, I clean the trout and then place it for 15-30 minutes in a brine solution of 4 cups (1 l.) water, 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) salt, smoked peppercorns, 1 (5 ml.) teaspoon of dried dill and 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of thyme.  This will help flavor the trout as well as pump it full of moisture so that it doesn’t dry out too much during the smoking process. Rinse the fish thoroughly before putting them on the grill.
  • To smoke the seafood, I did it in two rotations: The first was the trout and shrimp, the second was the oysters and mussels.
  • After half an hour, check the smoker and turn over the shrimp and fish. It takes only an hour in the grill for the seafood to be cooked and to absorb the smoky flavor and aroma.
  • Remove the fish and shrimp and let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  • Using an oyster knife, shuck the oysters and remove one half of the shell. Keep the oyster flesh in the other half and drain the liquid. Place the oysters on the grill.
  • If you want to smoke clams, shuck them first just like the oysters and put them on the grill.
  • For mussels, you can either put them right on the grill and they’ll open slightly during the smoking process, or you can steam them for a few minutes until they completely open and then place them on the grill to smoke.
  • The clams, mussels and oysters will also finish smoking in about an hour. Check the grill periodically to make sure the wood chips are still smoking. If your first batch of  chips is no longer smoking, you should make another aluminum foil tray of wood chips and replace the burned-out batch.
  • After an hour, remove the clams, mussels and oysters and let cool before refrigerating.
  • For those of you who like a dipping sauce with your seafood, here’s an alternative to cocktail and tarter sauce. Combine 2 cups (480 ml.) sour cream, 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) garlic seasoning, 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) finely chopped dill, 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) finely minced shallot.
  • Arrange your smoked seafood on a nice serving platter a few minutes before your guests arrive and decorate with lemon slices and some sprigs of dill.


— Vic

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Category: Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (2)

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  1. Ed Schenk says:

    Smoked seafood is outstanding. I used to do a dish with smoked scallop, Black pepper past and anchovy viniagrette.

  2. Alan says:

    I have found that nothing goes better with Oregon seafood than Mazama Pepper Vodka from Bend. We cook oysters in the shell on the grill then drizzle a bit of Mazama Pepper Vodka on the oyster.

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