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Steelhead trout...brined, dried and smoked!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

This was the first run with the new Master Forge dual fuel smoker, quite happy with the results overall although next time I'll use a little more wood to enhance the flavor of the smoke.  Sorry for the mediocre quality of the pics, I used my cell phone for these ones rather than my digicam!

 

Fish has been brined for 45 minutes, now set out on the grills to dry.

IMG-20120428-00355.jpg

 

Using sugar maple chips.

IMG-20120428-00356.jpg

 

After the smoke cleared...

IMG-20120428-00361.jpg

 

Time to peel off the skin!

IMG-20120428-00362.jpg

 

Dang that looks good!

IMG-20120428-00363.jpg

 

Tasted great!

IMG-20120428-00364.jpg

IMG-20120428-00365.jpg

post #2 of 24

I've never smoked steelhead, yet! How does it compare to smoked salmon, does it have that strong fishy taste like regular trout? I have smoked salmon a few times and it turns out good.

It looks like yours turned out good.

post #3 of 24

Now post pictures of them when they came out of the river!!  I've only been able to fish for steelhead a few times and they are a total gas.  Loads of fun.

 

Great looking Q.  I had a rainbow I caught in New Zealand smoked by a local shop while I was there on a semester abroad.  I'd eat it with a smoked sharp cheddar cheese I bought at a corner store near where I lived.  WOW.  It doesn't get much better.

post #4 of 24

That's some good lookin steelhead!

post #5 of 24

Great Fish!  I smoke steelhead trout all the time because it is cheaper than salmon where I live and tastes very similar.  Why'd 'ya remove the skin; its great to eat!

post #6 of 24

Tell us about your brine.  I just tried a new one on the last steelhead I did based on white wine and soy sauce.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

The taste was very mild, not overpowering at all, and this particular fish had a bit of fat on him so the meat was quite tender (not sure if steelhead are like this in general or if we just got a chubby sucker!)  We were going to get out some cheese to go with it but it was so good no one wanted to go in the house to get it ready once the fish was done, we stood around the table outside scarfing fish for a good 20 minutes solid before we were finally too stuffed to eat anymore on the spot!  Next time though we'll bust out the good stuff, we live about 30 minutes away from a GREAT cheese factory, St. Alberts, they have PHENOMENAL cheese product!!!

 

http://www.fromage-st-albert.com/eng/eng.htm

 

He he, I "fished" him out of the cooler at Costco!

steelhead.jpg

 

As far as the skin goes, well, I've never been big on fish skin but I suspect it would have been quite good as it seemed quite tender as well, just not my thing is all.  biggrin.gif

 

The brine recipe and process that I used is one I got from a post on the forum, linking & quoting below for reference and to give credit where it is due!

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/90289/smoked-fish

 

Quote:  MikeBham

Here's everything you need to know about smoking fish. I usually use orange roughy, but don't limit yourself. They all taste good!

I like to make smoked fish before smoking meat, so I can serve it as an appetizer while the meat smokes.

Only problem I have is I never seem to make enough!

 

Smokin' Fish

 

Brine:

½ gallon of water at room temperature

1 cups Kosher salt

½  cup brown sugar

1/6 cup lemon juice

1½ tsp garlic juice (or 1½ tsp garlic powder)

1½ tsp onion powder

1½ tsp allspice (it's best to sift this into the water to avoid clumping

1 teaspoons black pepper

  

In a glass, or plastic container (never wood or metal), mix all of the ingredients thoroughly until dissolved.

Place the fish in the brine solution ensuring that all pieces are completely submerged. Weight the fish to maintain complete submersion.

For short brining periods (three hours of less) in cool temperatures the brine may be at room temperature if the fish is well chilled before placing it in to the brine. If the fish is not well chilled or the room temperature is warm, place the brine and fish in a refrigerator for the duration of the time of brining, or you can place bags containing ice in to the brine mixture to cool.

 

 

Weight of Each Piece of Fish

Time for Brining

Under ¼ lb.

30 minutes

¼ lb. To ½ lb.

45 minutes

½ lb. To 1 lb.

1 hour

1 lb. To 2 lb.

2 hours

2 lbs. To 3 lbs.

3 hours

3 lbs. To 4 lbs.

4 hours

4 lbs. To 5 lbs.

5 hours

 The total weight of the fish is irrelevant. Time of brining is established by the weight of the individual pieces of fish

 

Drying

At the end of the brining period removed the fish for drying.

Lightly rinse in fresh water.

Place the fish on elevated racks for drying prior to smoking. It is easiest to use the same racks that you will use in the smoker. Lightly oil the racks  to avoid sticking.

Place the racks of fish in a cool breezy place protected from flying insects. We usually place an electric fan near the racks to provide a breeze.

The time for drying is usually about one hour while a thin glaze called the pellicle is formed on the fish. The pellicle aids in the development of the color and flavor as the fish is smoking. It also helps keep in the juices and retain the firm texture of the fish as it is smoked.

 

Smoking

Any hard wood (alder, apple, oak, hickory, pecan, cherry, mesquite or grape stock) works fine for smoking fish.

Too much smoke will cause the fish to taste bitter. Use just enough wood to maintain a steady smoke.

Smoke the fish at approximately 190 degrees. Lower temperatures can be used with a corresponding adjustment to the smoking time. At 190 degrees follow these approximate smoking times. 

 

Weight of Each Piece of Fish

Approximate Smoking Time

¼ lb. To ½ lb.

1¼ hours to 1½ hours

½ lb. To 1 lb.

1½ hours to 2 hours

1 lb. To 2 lbs.

2 hours to 2½ hours

3 lbs. To 4 lbs.

2½ hours to 3 hours

 The chart represents smoking times which will vary based upon the type of fish your are smoking, the equipment you are using and the temperature at which you are smoking. Cooking time needs to be increased depending on how many times you lift the lid or open the door to check on progress.
 

Smoked fish is done when it flakes easily while pressing it lightly with a knife of fork. On larger pieces of fish you may want to test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

 

Serve while warm.

 

If you plan to store the fish, remove the racks to an elevated surface to cool. I've found you can set the racks on top of empty beer cans. Usually there are plenty of those around. Once the fish has cooled for a half hour or so, wrap tightly in foil and place the foil parcel and store in a zip lock bag.

 

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

The taste was very mild, not overpowering at all, and this particular fish had a bit of fat on him so the meat was quite tender (not sure if steelhead are like this in general or if we just got a chubby sucker!)  We were going to get out some cheese to go with it but it was so good no one wanted to go in the house to get it ready once the fish was done, we stood around the table outside scarfing fish for a good 20 minutes solid before we were finally too stuffed to eat anymore on the spot!  Next time though we'll bust out the good stuff, we live about 30 minutes away from a GREAT cheese factory, St. Alberts, they have PHENOMENAL cheese product!!!

 

http://www.fromage-st-albert.com/eng/eng.htm

 

He he, I "fished" him out of the cooler at Costco!

steelhead.jpg

 

As far as the skin goes, well, I've never been big on fish skin but I suspect it would have been quite good as it seemed quite tender as well, just not my thing is all.  biggrin.gif

 

The brine recipe and process that I used is one I got from the following post on the forum in a reply by MikeBham:

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/90289/smoked-fish

 

 

Brine:

½ gallon of water at room temperature

1 cups Kosher salt

½  cup brown sugar

1/6 cup lemon juice

1½ tsp garlic juice (or 1½ tsp garlic powder)

1½ tsp onion powder

1½ tsp allspice (it's best to sift this into the water to avoid clumping

1 teaspoons black pepper

post #9 of 24

I got steelhead at Sam's, much cheaper than salmon.  Used it for lox.  Very good at 1/2 the price.

post #10 of 24

When buying the fresh Salmon at Sam`s Club for making Lox , should it be frozen first and then dry cured and cold smoked to take care of any Parasites?? Or does the salt from the dry cure for two or three days take care of all the bugs???

post #11 of 24
Looks good
post #12 of 24

I second that skin, I like it a little crispy ! It's great your smoke looks great also

 

 

 

 

 

John

post #13 of 24

Steelhead is a great fish to catch and eat. I fished them for years in Lake Superior. When you catch them while trolling, the come to the surface of the water and dance on their tails on top of the water to try to spit the hook. Just as a point of interest, Steelhead Trout is a Rainbow Trout that has left stream life and adapted to live in the lakes. They grow much larger in the lakes and loose their prismatic stripe which runs downs the center of the scales on each side. See the difference below.

steelhead-trout.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS THE STEELHEAD ABOVE, NOTICE THE CENTER LINE BUT NO RAINBOW OR PRISMATIC COLOR IN THE CENTER STRIPE. GROWS LARGER AND LIVES MOSTLY IN THE LAKES. ALSO FEWER SPOTS ON THE UPPER BACK AND DORSAL FIN.

rainbowtrout%20fig2.jpg  

THE RAINBOW TROUT IS A MUCH MORE COLORFUL FISH WITH A BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW PRISMATIC STRIPE RUNNING DOWN THE SIDES. LIVES MOSTLY IN STREAMS, SMALL LAKES AND MOUTHS OF RIVERS. ONE OF IF NOT THE ONLY TROUT WITH  ORANGE TO BLOOD RED MEAT DEPENDING LARGELY ON THEIR DIET. THE FLESH IS SOFTER AND MORE DELICATE THAN SALMON. DELICIOUS EATING FARE.

post #14 of 24

Looks good. Looks just like how I prefer mine. Nice job.

 

I've only kept about 2-3 steelhead in my life. I've caught 100's. Inch for Inch they are one of the strongest and hardest fighting fish around. I've yet to catch a sea run steel and all of mine have come from the great lakes.

 

I fly fish and I've gotten beat up by many many steel. They are no easy task to land. They fight, jump, head shake like crazy! That's why I release all of mine because I love them soo much and I can eat other trout/fish. Brookies are my favorite to eat, hands down. have nothing against others who eat them, I just don't.

 

Here's what a great lakes steel looks like. What a BEAUT!

 

steel.jpg

post #15 of 24

Beautiful fish....!

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Great info and pics guys, thanks!!!

post #17 of 24
Cool thing about steelies is that when they head for the rivers to spawn, they get those great colors back. Out in the lake, we call them "chromers" because they're mostly shiny silver, once they hit the rivers, though, here's what happens to them:
IMG_1371.jpg
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

Nice!  More good info, thanks!

post #19 of 24

They get their spawning colors when they enter fresh water. That's a male steel. They transform and grow a kipe jaw like the one in your picture. It's pretty amazing.

post #20 of 24

Wow those pics are great.  I just started fresh water fishing last year and the largest trout so far (farm raised and planted in a pay lake) is a little over 8 lbs.  I've been tuna fishing all my life, but i'm enjoying the "hunt" of catching freshwater fish as it really is pretty hard to find and catch them unlike salt water fish which are all about the fight.

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