Smoked Brook Trout & Tilapia (Hickory Smoke)

Discussion in 'Fish' started by bearcarver, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Small Labor day Smoke (Brook Trout & Tilapia):

    A few weeks ago, one of my Son's tower monkeys asked me if I'd smoke a couple small Trout for him.
    I couldn't say no, because all of those crazy kids are always willing to help the Old Bear, whenever he needs it !!!
    I told him to bring them over.
    Once I saw them, I knew I needed something to go with them, because I couldn't see bothering with 5 little Brookies all by themselves.
    So I got 3 pounds of Tilapia fillets from Giant. I sliced the rib cage section off of the fillets, and fried them up for Breakfast, because that part was much too thin for smoking.

    Day #1 (Brine & Prep):
    I thawed the 5 Brook Trout, cleaned them up a bit more, and put them in the following brine with the Tilapia Fillets.
    Put 1/2 quart of apple juice in a pot on the stove, bringing to low boil & then down to simmer.
    Add to this;
    6 ounces of soy sauce
    1/2 cup of non-iodized salt
    1/2 cup of brown sugar
    1/2 tsp of Garlic powder
    1/2 tsp of Onion powder
    1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp of Dried Bay Leaf Flakes (or 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves)

    Stir until salt is dissolved. Then add 1 1/2 quarts of water & ice to cool quickly.
    Leave the pieces submerged in this brine for 4 hours in fridge.
    Note: I usually brine my larger pieces of Salmon for 6 hours, but that would be too long for these small Trout & fillets.
    After removing from brine, rinse each piece well, pat dry, and lay on paper towels.
    Then I put them on the smoking racks, and put in my meat fridge (uncovered) over night to begin the forming of the pellicle.

    Day # 2 (Smoking):
    8:00--------Pre-Heat Smoker to 120˚.
    8:15--------Put in MES 40, with bigger pieces on #2 shelf, and smaller ones on top shelf.
    8:30--------I filled my old prototype AMNS with Hickory & lit both ends (I want these good & smoky).
    8:45--------After a nice pellicle is formed I put my AMNS on the bars of my MES 40.
    10:30------Smoke was a bit too heavy, even for my taste, so I put the one end out.
    11:00------Bump heat up to 140˚.
    1:00--------Bump heat up to 160˚.
    2:00--------Bump heat up to 180˚.
    3:00--------Bump heat up to 190˚.
    4:00--------Removed smoked fish when all pieces were over 140˚ internal. Some were up to 158˚.
    Allow to cool awhile, and put in fridge until next day for eating & wrapping.
    That's about it,


    Sorry about the pics, but if you zoom in they are much better:


    Brine cooling down:

    All fish in brine, and going into fridge for 4 hours:


    The rest of the fillets on another rack:

    One end of my AMNS lit & ready:

    My Smoking quarters:

    Completed---Good snacking stuff !!!

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
    gary s likes this.
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just In Time!

    Great Looking Smoked Fish Bear!!

  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great stuff Bear!

    Wish we could get brook trout down here.

    Spent my summers in Wis. as a kid, trout fishing almost every day.

    You just can't beat fresh trout in a cast iron skillet over an open fire!
  4. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Bear how was the Tilapia smoked. I have been looking for a good freshwater fish besides the usual salmon and trout ?  Nice job !
  5. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Bear, what a way to start the morning, ...good looking fish.

    I love trout, that's something I really miss, one 8" trout costs $12 here and it's probably so dry it would bounce if ya dropped it.

    I have a question about the Tilapia, I've seen it in the stores and wanted to try it, but Mrs JPT saw a program on the TV about Tilapia that is farmed on the Mekong, turned her off completely, I looked on the net and it seems there is a large debate about "Nam" Tilapia, so...., where does your Tilapia come from, obviously it's not poisoning you.

  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Roller!!!
    I smoked it all together like I said above. It came out as good as the trout.


    Thanks Gene!

    $12 for an 8" Trout?!?!   Wow, I could make a fortune up here!!!

    Hmmmm---Vietnam Tilapia??  

    I cheated, and had Mrs Bear pick them up on her normal weekly shopping trip, so I don't know where these were from.

    I slept within 100 yards of the Mekong for 7 months, and I know the water was always mostly brown.

    My base camp was actually built by dredging the Mekong, and piling enough sand to make a 40 acre plot of land.

    I'll have to look the next time I get to Giant, personally.

  7. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    They are raising alot of them in the USA now...
  8. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic


    Great looking fish. How did the tilapi taste? Good as salmon?

  9. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

  10. nice looking place
  11. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's a link regarding tilapia. Stick with US raised fish or run the risks. I, personally, stopped eating the Chinese imports...who knows what they feed them & suspect little control of farming methods. I mean, if they have lead in kids toys what's in the fish? I've also heard, but can't verify, some countries use Tilapia in ponds with other farmed fish to eat the sludge off the bottom as they are bottom feeders.  
  12. Good lookin' smoke as usual bear!

    I too have heard that tilapia are used at fish farms to clean waste from the other fish. I believe my little guy had me watch an episode of Dirty Jobs that featured a striped bass fish farm and the tilapia were used for waste management in their bass tanks. Makes you think twice about eating it. Of course I am also a huge fan of channel catfish and God only knows what they eat from the bottom of rivers, lakes ect. But man oh man they are tasty fried up!
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Todd,


    Thanks Al !!!

    That frying pan thing is why my PA stocked Rainbows, and the stocked & native Brooks, and Browns never make it to the smoker.

    However, big trout are better in the smoker, because they get more oily & stronger flavor once they get about 18" long or better.

    I normally fry little Brookies this size, but the kid wanted them smoked---So I smoked them.

    The way he left here with them, I'm not sure if he's going to eat them. He was opening the zip lock bag & sniffing the smoky smell.

    I think he might punch a couple holes in the bag & hang them from his mirror as an air freshener!!!!

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks JC!

    I think the Tilapia tasted similar to the Salmon I smoke, but I used the same brine too.



  15. Looks great Bear. As usual, well detailed post
  16. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you muchly, Bear! I'll give it a try.

  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank You Very Much!


    Thanks jake!

    I'll be watching closer where they're from.

    I love Catties & Walleyes, and I know they're bottom feeders too.

    I also read that most of the toxic stuff is stored in the fat of a fish, and there was little or no fat on these fillets.

    I gotta do more research.


    Thanks Willie!

    I gotta look into this.

    This is only the 3rd time I ate Tilapia.

    The first time, I and a SP5 buddy of mine from Ohio caught a whole mess of them in Oahu, near Schofield Barracks.

  18. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You're welcome Bear. For me, more of a boycott thing than health reasons. If you ate them every day there might be more concern but if only once in a while you're probably ok. I used to sling food for a major distributor and they were always showing us films etc. on how the processing plants in Asia are pretty dismal. Not all, but most, are very lax with refrigeration and such. Plants in the US are more concerned with public health but even some of those are suspect at times. We have all seen/heard about the ground beef recals. It's really a crap shoot sometimes.
  19. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Down here its Basa,a sort of catfish from Vietnam. Fed ?? who knows. I wont eat it. Interestingly the Chinese love our freshwater perch,native fish that are farmed but to our standards but dont go for farmed fish from Asia so much. Message in that!!
  20. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lucky that i went to your profile to see if you put anything new other wise a would missed this one .

    it looks yummy and a great step by step recipe ,the Qview is closer to a bearview[​IMG]


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