Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Smoked Trout

While my daughter and I were at the butcher's getting our bacon sliced she noticed these lovely smoked trout behind the glass counter. I have to admit, they were really pretty to look at, golden-bronze in color and heads on still, all neatly wrapped in cellophane plastic. The only thing unattractive was the price tag: $7.49 a piece!! At most they were 14 inches long.

My daughter was looking at the trout intently then looked up at me and said "We should make some of those." God bless her! She's gone beyond asking me to actually buy stuff like that and knows that I will say "yes" to attempting to making some ourselves. She's no dummy, she knows the project would include a fishing trip, too!

We came back with 10 rather small rainbow trout and set aside the 5 largest ones for our first try at smoking trout. The Smoked Trout recipe we used was from the Bradley Recipe Site which was designed for large trout filets. Since we were smoking a small amount of whole trout we did half the amount of brine we prepared and shortened the brine time a bit. Here's what you'll need:

  • up to 2 1/2 pounds of whole, cleaned trout
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/2 of small sweet onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
Combine all the ingredients, mix until salt and sugar is completely dissolved. Put your trout in a ziploc bag or other non-reactive container. Pour the prepared brine over the trout making sure the fish is fully submerged. Place in the refrigerator for 10 hours turning a few times.
After 10 hours remove the fish and rinse under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. With either tooth picks or pieces of wooden skewers to open the cavities of the fish for good air and smoke exposure. Place on a pan or cookie sheet and return to the frig for 2 hours to air dry.
Place your trout in a 135F preheated smoker. With the vent half open and water in the pan, smoke with 2 hours of cherry smoke. Alder and apple will work equally well.
After the 2 hours of smoking, increase the smoker temperature to 150F and continue cooking the trout until they reach an internal temperature of 140F. It took a cook time of approximately 6 hours of smoking and cooking to reach this temperature with our trout.
After the trout are complete, let them rest in the frig for 24 hours before eating them. It allows the flavors, especially the smoke flavor to marry and mellow. Enjoy!

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