Attempting To Smoke Trout

Discussion in 'Fish' started by blinky, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    Hi everyone, I live in Missouri and my wife and I regularly go trout fishing with our friends down in the Ozarks. After staring at a freezer full of rainbow fillets long enough, one feels compelled to get creative preparing them. I remembered the delicious smoked fish my grandfather used to bring home from the butcher shop in the '60s. I haven't had fish like that since.

    I talked to some BBQ buffs I know, and they all recommended one of the smaller electric smokers. So, I just bought a 30" Masterbuilt smoker from Bass Pro Shops.

    I have no idea what I am doing, but I googled "trout smoking" and it led me here. I've already read through a ton of existing threads on brining and smoking fish and I THINK I know enough to jump in and try smoking my first batch this week (if we get a day without rain). Wish me luck!
  2. ibbones

    ibbones Meat Mopper

    Ca't offer any advice but I would like to know how it turns out.  I have some red fish in the freezer that need to be done.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's how I do mine. 4:1 sugar (brown) to salt (kosher) mix. Get a glass or plastic container. Put a layer of the rub in the bottom, lay your fillets skin down until you cover the rub. Put a layer of rub on top, put a layer of fish on top skin down, cover with rub. Repeat until down. Put in the fridge for 6-8 hours. Remove, rinse, rest on a rack in front of a fan it in the fridge to form a pellicle (sticky surface). Then season with what you want and smoke. I run my smoker under 180, and take the fish to the texture I want.
  4. Hi, I love my 30" MES.  I smoke trout all the time.  

    Here is my gig:

    brine for one hour in salt water.

    pat dry

    rub olive oil on both sides by hand

    dress.   I always use fresh ground black pepper and I like the following combinations:



    Lowry's seasoned salt and a bit of chili powder or paprika

    I smoke for about 1.75-2 hours at 220 degrees.  I use walnut, cherry, or apple.  I frankly don't see a lot of difference with the woods.

    You can get 12 fillets in a 30" ...
  5. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    83340 -- do you eat that fish right off the smoker, or is this the kind of smoke you chill and eat cold?
  6. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Here is what I do:


    1/2 Gallon Water

    1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

    1/2 cup of Kosher Salt

    Some Garlic Powder (2-3 TBS)

    Some Onion Powder (2-3 TBS)

    Some Chili Powder (1-2 TBS)

    3-4 TBS of lime juice (you can also use lemon or both)

    Bay Leaf

    I heat up half of the water and dissolve the Salt, Sugar, and herbs.  Once dissolved I cool down and add the rest of the water.  Place fish in brine and toss in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

    Rinse with cold water and pat dry. I rub the fish with a bit of olive oil and lightly with brown sugar.

    I smoke for 3-4 hours using Alder wood.

    Good Luck and Smoke ON!
  7. both!  I often smoke trout if someone invites me to dinner.  That gets eaten warm.  I also refrigerate it and eat it cold.  It is great as a protein element for an arugula or kale salad.

    It keeps about two weeks in fridge.

    Try lavender and rosemary, it has a great Mediterranean taste.  Based on other posts I am going to try a brown sugar brine also.

  8. I've tried using a longer brine in 4 parts brown sugar to one part salt.  I am sold.  I used to do one hour in salt water.  Overnight in the fridge in the sugar/salt brine brings the flavor to a new level.  

  9. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    A friend is suggesting dry white wine instead of water for my brine...anybody ever try this?
  10. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    Just put 8 rainbow fillets in brine. I went with 3 parts brown sugar to 1 part salt, plus a healthy sprinkle of dill and a jigger of Cointreau just for something different. I plan on smoking it this evening after work.
  11. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cointreau? Let me know if you "find it" in the smoked product.

    In my experience some of the condiments "get lost" in the process.

    Now adding fine spirits to pate made from that smoked trout would be a different story.
  12. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    I will be surprised if it's actually detectable, but I had a little airline bottle of it that I have no better use for. I am also using orange wood, so there might be a slight hint.
  13. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    Finally smoking 8 fillets tonight.

    I couldn't find a good place to let my fillets sit out to form a pellicle. I didn't want the whole house smelling of raw trout, but I didn't want to just leave them exposed outdoors. So I got creative and made a magnetic-mount "screen door" for my smoker:


    Unfortunately, I think I put them on the racks too wet to start with, so I didn't get a real sticky coating. After a couple of hours, I went ahead and cranked 'er up. I did 30 min @ 140, 30 min @ 160, then peeked in. There was hardly any smokiness. The orange wood chips I was using had hardly discolored, so I dumped them, put in applewood pellets, and raised the temp to 220. We'll see how they look in about 90 minutes...
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
    dirtsailor2003 likes this.
  14. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    For all my inexperience, they turned out surprisingly successful! They are more sweet than salty, very smokey, and very moist (perhaps a bit too moist - in the future I will make sure they go in a bit drier). They were in the smoker for a total of of 2 hrs 45 minutes. Even with the smoker set on 220 degrees for 100+ min, the temperature of the fillets was just reaching 160 degrees when I removed them. I had wrapped most of them in foil before realizing that I hadn't snapped a photo. Here you can see I've been nibbling already.


    I've learned a lot and already know a few things I'll do differently next time, but for my maiden smoke, I am pleased as punch.
  15. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    They certainly look tasty.  Nice job.

    We don't have trout here but I have catfish and striper in the freezer...Hmmmm 
  16. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you don't like sweet you don't need to use sugar in the brine. I don't like sweet fish, I did a few dry brines with sugar , gradually lowering the sugar/salt ratio. My usual brine now does not use sugar at all. If the wish was too moist try dry brining next time.

    Why did you cook it to 160F? 145F is enough. In fact I don't use a thermo when smoking fish. I pull it out when it gets flaky.
  17. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    I don't mind the sweetness, in fact I like it, but I would like a little more balance between the flavors.

    I didn't cook to 160 by design, I just left them in until they had reached the right level of moisture. I only mentioned it because I was surprised how slowly the temperature of the meat rose inside a 220-degree smoker. I feared I might overlook them at that setting.

    As for the earlier question about the Cointreau, the aroma is definitely there, but I can't detect it in the taste. It was only one jigger in 6 cups of water, so that's understandable - a larger amount might have made more difference.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  18. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    Smoked another batch of trout. The pro smokers who had tried my first batch said it was spot on, but family and friends said it was too salty. So this time I halved the salt in my brine. We wanted to serve it at a party the day after we got back from our fishing excursion, so I could only let the fillets brine overnight (12 hours). I smoked it for the same length of time as my first attempt, but because of time constraints, could not let a pellicle develop much at all beforehand.

    The result was very different from my first batch. Much more subtle taste but still surprisingly good. Definitely less taste from the brine and a bit less smoky, but you could really taste the trout which most people enjoyed. I guess if you start out with really good quality fish, it's hard to go wrong.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Blinky, morning.....

    Try a dry brine... 1:1 salt/sugar plus spices... every 1000 grams of that mix, add 60 grams of cure #1... will cure 55#'s of fish.. Mix very well and remix each time you use it...
    Filet the trout.. lay 1# of fish skin side down in a plastic container... sprinkle 18 grams of the mix over the meat... repeat... place in refer... next day or two, turn and mix the fish gently, they will have firmed up and liquid will have been drawn out of the meat... After a couple / four days, rinse well, form a pellicle and cold smoke for several hours... elevate temps to cook to your liking... Because you have weighed the salt and sugar etc. the trout will never get too salty or too sweet... after the first batch, adjust stuff to your liking....

    Note... If you want more sugar for instance.. instead of 500 grams + 500 grams for the main mix, make it 480:520 or 450:550 so you will still add the same cure #1 and still add the same 18 grams per pound... or get with me and I will help you with a different recipe....

    Use 18 grams of the cure mix per pound of fish... that will give you a 2% salt and 2% sugar and 150 Ppm nitrite... plus spices... (max. allowable nitrite for fish is 200 Ppm nitrite)

    Just did these...

    Here's from awhile back.....
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  20. blinky

    blinky Newbie

    Thanks for the instructions. I'll have to give a dry brine a try. We had a banner day in the stream last Monday and have about two dozen fillets still in the freezer.

Share This Page