smoked rainbows

Discussion in 'Fish' started by wagdog, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    I started a thread earlier about using cure #1 for fish. I had knee surgery about two months ago and I am still lamenting the fact that I can't really get out and ice fish right now. Some friends brought me a few rainbow trout from a local reservoir (it happens to be one of a few reservoirs that I will keep trout from because of the high quality forage). I decided to take a few pics of the process. For the cure I like to use a 4:1 ratio of brown sugar (dark or light) to kosher salt. I usually add any where from 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (or more if I have a lot of fish) to the mix. This time I weighed the fish and added the appropriate amount of cure #1. I like to layer fillets (with the skin still on) in a rectangular plastic dish (like a tupperware or gladware item) and do a layer of fillets, apply rub, repeat. I put these in the fridge for probably 16 hours (about 8 hours is just fine). You should see a lot of liquid in the dish as the moisture gets pulled from the fish and it creates its own brine. I do a quick rinse of the fillets, pat them dry with a paper towel, and lay them out on my smoker racks (sprayed with a cooking oil). I like to use a small electric fan to help the pellicle form. It usually takes at least an hour or two for the pellicle to form. Then I sprinkle a spice mix that I put together using a recipe from a good fishing buddy. 3 parts black pepper, 1 part each ground cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. I used a mixture of alder wood and hickory in my Big Chief to smoke these for right at 6 hours. It was a tropical 20ºF  outside so I had to insulate the Big Chief a bit to keep the heat in. I like to take my fish to about 145ºF  which leaves the meat moist on the inside. Here are a few pics from the process (starting with pellicle formation):


    Pellicle is done. Now to sprinkle on a little heat:


    Out of the smoker:


    Yum:

     
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Beautiful
     
  3. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    Thanks! Tastes great with crackers and some smoked cheddar I did a month ago.
     
  4. What is pellicle ???? I got a smoker to do trout in, since I fish four or five times a week.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  5. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellicle_(cooking)

    There are two ways that I know of to help cured meat develop a pellicle. One is leaving it on a rack in the fridge overnight. The other is to put the meat on racks in a cool room with an electric fan blowing on the meat. For these particular trout, I laid them out on racks over newspaper to catch drips and let a fan blow in them for two hours. I think the room temp I measured was right at 61 degrees.
     
  6. Thank you for the replay and the info....
     
  7. I guess the next logical question would be.....do you have to do that?
     
  8. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    You don't have to. I've had fish that were taken right out of a brine, patted dry with a paper towel, and right into the smoker. Tasted OK to me. For my own tastes, I let the pellicle form because to me I get more smoke flavor in the fish. Your mileage may vary.
     
  9. I haven't smoked any trout yet but your recipe + pics look great.  Next time I'm at the local Asian market or Costco, I'm going to pick some up. Thank you for sharing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    That scum missile looks good enough to eat!
     
  11. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    Yeah smoking slime rockets does make them more tasty. These particular trout come out of a deep reservoir that has a healthy supply of zooplankton. Makes the meat nice and red/orange.
     
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I used to fish a lot in a small reservoir in southern Idaho and the rainbows were just bright red. Same deal.
     
  13. wagdog

    wagdog Fire Starter

    Nice. Love Idaho. Great fishing there for lots of species. I wonder how walleye would taste smoked. They aren't real fatty so I bet it would dry out a lot. Smoked catfish is excellent.
     

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