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Smoked Carp Tails Recipe

If you're one of those people that don't like to eat carp – try brining and smoking it. Smoked carp tails are surprisingly tasty and once you've tried them, you'll wonder why this so-called rough fish has such a bad rap in the kitchen.

Smoked Carp Tails Recipe

Use a fruit-flavored wood to smoke your butterflied carp tails. (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)

Print Recipe

Bottom-feeding fish such as carp aren't considered good to eat by many in the United States. However, when prepared properly, carp is safe to eat and delicious. If you've never tried carp before, smoke it. You'll be surprised how tasty smoked carp is and wonder why you haven't tried it sooner.

When smoking carp, choose a fruit-flavored wood to use in your smoker for the best flavor.

If you have any leftover smoked carp, use it to make a bagel breakfast sandwich the next day!

How to Brine and Smoke Carp Tails

Yield: 6-ounce serving per person
Prep time: 15 minutes; 12-36 hours for brine
Cook time: 5-6 hours


  • 2 carp tails (with skin on and butterflied)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 cups sake
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon ground turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup smoked sea salt or kosher salt
smoked carp tails recipe ingredients
Ingredients for Smoked Carp Tails Recipe. (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)



  1. If you haven't already, remove the tails from your carp. For this recipe, we'll only be using the tails.

    carp tails
    Carp tails on a cutting board. (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)
  2. Butterfly your carp tails and then set them aside.

    carp tails
    Butterflied carp tails. (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)


  1. Heat the water just enough to dissolve the dry ingredients. Water should be lukewarm.
  2. Once the water is heated, pour in all of the dry ingredients (sugar, garlic, peppercorn, ginger, turmeric, chili powder, and salt) and stir until dissolved.
  3. Mix in the remaining liquid ingredients (soy sauce, hot sauce, sake, and apple cider vinegar) and stir.
  4. Cool the brine down by putting it in the refrigerator or putting the pot on ice to bring the temperature down. The reason for this is that you do not want to cook any of the carp with hot liquid.
  5. Once the brine is cool, put the brine in a food-grade bucket or another container large enough to hold the brine and carp. Zipped-top bags and vacuum sealers work wonders! Do not use aluminum. 
  6. Submerge your carp in the brine and let it soak for 12-36 hours.
  7. When time is up, remove the carp from the brine and pat it dry.


  1. Start your smoker and set to smoke at 180 degrees. (A fruit-flavored wood in your smoker is preferred.)
  2. Place your butterflied carp skin side down and smoke for 5-6 hours.

    carp tails
    Smoked carp tails ready to eat. (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)

Leftover Smoked Carp? Enjoy it on a bagel the next day!

Smoked Carp Breakfast Bagel Sandwich Recipe

Smoked Carp Breakfast Bagel Sandwich
Smoked Carp Breakfast Bagel Sandwich (Photo courtesy of Rydell Danzie)

Get the Recipe: Smoked Carp Breakfast Bagel Sandwich Recipe


To learn more about the authors of this recipe, Rydell Danzie and Vero Rodriguez of Field to Grill aka F2G, visit:

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