Trout!

A quick and easy fish to smoke, smoked trout is becoming all the rage at many of the high-end resturants popping up in the SF area. Making your own is fast & easy, especially if you have a dedicated smoker with easily controlled heat like mine (although after some time with it, I’d have been happier with the identical, but cheaper unit without the glass door & remote. Remote is handy, but the glass door is hard to clean, plus another seal that can deteriorate/fail over time, and you really can’t see anything it there when it’s cooking).

Active prep time: 5 minutes

Inactive prep time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless trout filets (we’re lucky, our local meat market sells them that way)
  • 2-4 Tbsp salt
  • Other powerded spices, if desired (pepper, garlic, dill)

Directions

  • Put one filet, skin down, in a deep (2″ deep or so) glass or plastic container.
  • Sprinkle salt and spices on the meat of the trout
  • Place the second filet flesh side down on top of the first piece. That way, the meat from both fish are touching the salt/spices.
  • Put a plate or another plastic/glass container on top of both pieces of trout, and weigh it down with something moderately heavy
  • Put in the refrigerator for about an hour. Unlike Salmon, which is thick and responds to a long cure, I prefer this fast cure for more delicate trout
  • During that hour, heat up your smoker to about 150 degrees and soak your wood chips (something mild, like pecan)
  • Don’t add water to your smoker! You want to dry the fish while it smokes, not keep it moist
  • 15 minutes before putting your fish in, add the wood chips to give them a chance to get going, since this is a really quick smoke cycle
  • Remove the fish from the refrigerator, there will be some liquid in the bottom of the pan. Congratulations, you just did a quick brine/cure!
  • Rinse the remaining salt/spices/juice from the filets, and pat dry with a paper towel
  • Put the filets, skin down, on a rack (or two racks) of the smoker. You may want to rub some oil on the skins to help prevent their sticking to the racks when you remove them
  • Leave in the smoker for about 20-25 minutes, turn the heat up to 225, and cook for 1 hour total
  • Remove fish, let cool slightly, and carefully remove from the racks onto a plate or cutting board (I find they stick more to the grates if you let them cool there, and are harder to get off in one piece)
  • Let cool, wrap any fish you’re not eating immediately in paper towels and refrigerate for up to 3 days (yeah, like it’ll last that long)
  • This is really similar to my Smoked Salmon recipe, but uses no sugar, and has a total store-to-eat time of just over 2 hours, instead of a full day