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smoked rainbows

post #1 of 13
Thread 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:


post #2 of 13


post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Tastes great with crackers and some smoked cheddar I did a month ago.
post #4 of 13

What is pellicle ???? I got a smoker to do trout in, since I fish four or five times a week.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter

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.
post #6 of 13

Thank you for the replay and the info....

post #7 of 13

I guess the next logical question would you have to do that?

post #8 of 13
Thread 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.
post #9 of 13

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.

post #10 of 13

That scum missile looks good enough to eat!

post #11 of 13
Thread 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.
post #12 of 13

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

post #13 of 13
Thread 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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