Hot-smoked Scallops (Coquilles St. Jacques)

I remember very well the first time I tasted a scallop, which was at the christmas party of PricewaterhouseCoopers (one of my first employers) in 1998 as an hors d’oeuvre. Scallops, also known as Coquilles St. Jacques, are perfect as a hors d’oeuvre because they taste fantastic and are exactly the right size. I didn’t know what they were, but liked them straight away and they have been one of my favorite foods ever since.

Although I had never heard of hot-smoked scallops, I thought it would work well and so I tried it and found out that it works extremely well! Hot-smoking is easy to do: you just need a dedicated smoking oven (or an old pan) and smoke dust. Hot-smoked scallops are perfect as an hors d’oeuvre at a party (because you can make a lot of them with hardly any work, certainly much less work than sauteing them!) or as part of the antipasti of a dinner. With a dedicated smoking oven that you can also use outdoors, it’s also great to serve a hot hors d’oeuvre when you are away from your kitchen. This is what I did when I made these.

By the way, hot-smoking means that the food is roasted/cooked and smoked at the same time. This is different from cold smoking, which is for instance used for smoked salmon. For this you need more complicated equipment, because you need the smoke and not the heat that is needed to create the smoke in the first place.

You will be amazed how good this tastes if you see how simple the ingredients are. But trust me, it is amazing! Of course it depends on the quality of the scallops, but fresh out of the shell is good enough for this preparation.


fresh scallops

salt and freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

smoke dust


Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Toss with salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil. (If you bring the scallops in a container like I did, just add the other ingredients, cover with a lid and shake. Do not do this beforehand because the salt will make the scallops soggy.)

Put the smoke dust in the smoker. I used beech.

Add the dripping tray and the grill. Spread out the scallops.

Close the smoker, light the burners and smoke for 15 minutes.

In an informal setting you can put toothpicks in the scallops and serve them straight from the smoker (use oven mits because the smoker will be hot). For a nicer presentation you can of course also transfer them to a plate.


12 thoughts on “Hot-smoked Scallops (Coquilles St. Jacques)

  1. Smoking the scallops sounds great. Question- have you tried sous-vide cooking scallops?

    We got a home sous vide setup, btw. It is working well, tried it on fish so far with success. longer-cooked red meat later this week…


    1. I have tried sous-vide cooking scallops, but did not think there was any benefit. I believe that it may be different with very fresh scallops that you have to take out of the shell yourself, but I have not tried that yet.

      Great to hear you have the sous-vide setup!


      1. Thanks, we find a quick sear at very high heat works well for fresh sea scallops, but was curious if sous-vide was a worthwhile option. Thanks for the quick reply.


        1. I have seen others reporting good results with cooking fresh sea scallops sous-vide at 50C/122F or so and then searing at very high heat, but as I said with the 3-days-out-of-the-shell scallops I tried it with, I didn’t notice much difference between seared only and sous-vide follow by seared. If you do try and get different results, I’d love to hear it. BTW have not read anything about sous-vide yet on your blog.


          1. You will soon. Just 2 days of cooking and finding the optimal temperature for firm “medium-rare” fish. Any thoughts on temperature for salmon or striped bass? Our book suggests 122F for medium rare…

            Steak and then chuck roast over the weekend… We cook with grass-fed beef and are looking forward to sous-vide helping the meat maintain moisture…


            1. I’ve made an overview of sous-vide times, temperatures and recipes on the sous-vide page of my blog

              122F is probably a good temperature for striped bass, but for salmon 109F is much better.

              For steak 122F or 131F depending on how rare you like medium rare.
              Chuck roast 3 days at 131F is amazing. Not just the moisture (it will still release a lot!) but foremost because after 3 days the chuck roast will be like steak!


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