Smoking Trout - hot & fast, skin & no skin *Now Trout Bites

Discussion in 'Fish' started by thoseguys26, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    It's that time of year again where my favorite well stocked grocery lake starts producing a lot of healthy rainbows. This spring I plan on perfecting my smoked trout, pickled trout & trying out canning trout. Should be a great time. I've been eating fish for 30 years and smoking them for a dozen.

    Here's where I'm starting. The last trout I smoked it came out soo good I titled it the best smoked fish I've ever eaten. It all depends on what you like but for me, my last batch was perfect. My perfect is, nice smokey crusty pellicle, semi-dry but semi-moist meat, not oily, medium smoke flavor, very mild if no sweetness, mild hint of salt & pepper, very very mild hint of onion & garlic.

    I tried skin on and skin off to compare. Oh, I have an amzns smoker paired with a MES 40 so now that I have soo much more control over the key elements, I am trying to perfect my methods..

    The Dry Rub: (i'll have to look at my notes for fish & spice weights)

    Salt

    Black Pepper

    Brown Sugar

    Ground Red Pepper Flakes

    Onion Powder

    Garlic Powder

    Vacuum sealed.  4 hrs cured for fillets 1 inch thick or smaller, 6 hours for over 1 inch thick.

    Rinsed well, soaked in water for 1 hour. Patted dry and set in fridge on racks to form pellicle for 14 hrs.

    Cherry dust in my amzns.

    120°F for 1 hr smoke

    200-220°F for 1.5-2.5 hrs smoke until done

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    I always take the time to make my fillets boneless. Not only for myself but because I get a high request for smoked trout and many friends have kids or grandchildren. With my fillet style there are three methods of taking out the "Y" bones.

    1. Peaked nose pliers, meat raw. Take the back side of a fillet knife and rub it against the grain of the Y bones so they protrude and stick out. Then, one by one pull them out with your pliers.

    2. Carefully cut alongside the Y bones and pull / push out the bones with meat. You'll loose about 1/4'' of meat.

    3. Rub knife against the grain of the Y bones then cure and smoke and pull them out after smoking. This is the easiest BUT your presentation / appearance will not be the prettiest because you will expose the white meat under the pellicle when pulling out the Y bones.

    My preferred method is #1. You may pull a little meat with each bone but once you cure and smoke your fish, it'll cover the holes with the smokey pellicle and it'll look flawless.

    I will update each method with pictures in my next smoked trout tutorial to better explain each method and educate those who are not familiar with Y bones. I've had smoked fish whole, steaked and boneless and you can't beat a fillet that's boneless.

    ********************

    Cooled overnight.

    I already have some modifications to do next time. (Depending on fillet size, lower initial temp + a bit more smoke to achieve a darker smokier pellicle)

    This is my first controlled test so I don't have much data to compare but here are a few notes to follow.

    • The skin on meat had more moisture, not oily moisture just more moisture between flakes. Not fishy flavored moisture either.

    • The skinless meat actually had a slightly more fishy tasty due to the smoke penetrating the mud-line area (which I should have removed prior to smoking).

    Here's a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for reading!

    4 lbr

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    vacuum sealed

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    Time to dry and form a nice pellicle

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    Pellicle formed and time for smokey love

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    Skin and no Skin - you can see the Y bones sticking up on the bottom fillet. Rubbing the back of your knife against the grain (head to tail) works great.

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    Finished smoking and time to cool -   *** can you tell which fillet I pulled the Y bones out of and which one I did not? That's why I prefer my method # 1. Not only does the presentation appear better but you have an easier time getting all of the Y bones out.

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    Nice texture. I like a cross between dry and moist and flaky and stringy.

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
    remmy700p likes this.
  2. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow, great little tutorial and Q view.  Thanks for sharing, especially the skin no skin thing.
     
  3. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    You are welcome.

    I've learned a bit from this site and its members so the least I can do is return the favor.

    Now that my equipment is accurate to many degrees I can analyze data better so, in a way, I'm almost starting over! I'll get back to this thread with some more results and tests to make sure I am giving the most accurate information. Spawning season is knocking on my door so it's just a matter of playing hooky!
     
  4. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    I tend to be one of those people who doesn't sit still too long. Here's a delicious whipped cream cheese, green onions, fresh chopped Jalapeno, smoked trout dip with 'the works' pretzel crackers. Super delicious!

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
    remmy700p likes this.
  5. Now that's some great looking smoked trout! Gonna have to try that. Thanks for the great tutorial and recipe.
     
  6. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Thanks! 

    If you want more smoke flavor you can either use hickory instead of cherry or lower the 200° stage to 150° and it'll take another 45 minutes or so to finish the fish which will give it more time to soak up some smoke.

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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  7. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Still testing out different elements! This batch came out a touch more salty as planned,  just about perfect amount of salt.. Very very good but I am making batches for many friends who have a huge range of pallets so that's why I'm still testing.  I didn't soak it in water after brining, for an hour like my first recipe I posted above. 

    I also kept two trout for baking, I have some amazing recipes for stuffed trout. I like to take the time to butterfly them so they're boneless. It's really not tricky you just have to understand where the bones angle and as you know, practice makes perfect. The rib bones are easy, you'll save more meat after each job and the  Y bones will get much easier once you figure there make and angle. Even if you screw up a bit you'll still not waste much meat, maybe a 1/4" (unless it's 4 lbs or up). I'm sure there are some tutes here for butterflying fish boneless but I'll make one in the near future to help out. 

    Basically it's the rib bones and the Y bones. And the spine if you butterfly the fish. You'll see the pic I took of the trout in the bag before I vacuum sealed it to show you the different cuts I made. 

    I vacuum sealed the little trout because we won't eat it for about 4 days and I wanted to keep it as fresh as can be. 

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  8. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It looks great when you will find the perfect taste i will love to learn from you
     
  9. Those are some nice looking rainbows.....How big were they?

    We catch quite a few in a stocked lake near the boundary waters in Minnesota but unless it's been in there for a year or more they are only about 10 inches but you do get an occasional 16 or bigger.....I have heard there are some 7 pound plus rainbows in the lake.   And that is one of the main reasons the wife and I used our xmas money to get a smoker was so we could smoke trout this summer. Of course I am smoking all sorts of stuff waiting for summer!!! Thanks for the info!!!!!
     
  10. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    I'll update this post pretty frequently over the next month or so. I'm getting close. I've smoked awesome fish for many years but now with the new equipment there's much to learn because of the control I have in all the elements! Pretty fun!


    The biggest out of this batch was maybe 2.5 - 3 lbs, 17'' give or take. In a couple weeks when they start to stage for spawning, the bigger rainbows will come out and they'll average 3-6 lbs and I've caught a couple 7lbers and saw a 9.5 lber! They're like steelhead in the spring, it's awesome!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  11. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit


    I will keep posting up here, but as you know, your 'flavor' is your flavor; so Im happy to share mine but it might not be yours. 

    Did some more alongside some pickled rainbow trout.. Smoked was Great, can't wait for the pickled because I tried some new ingredients this time.

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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  12. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    Absolutely #1 for those pin-bones!!!! I have a pair of needle-nose pliers that is kept aside just for this purpose.

    Sounds like you like the same texture as I do. I like them somewhere between dry and moist - hard to get it just right. Need to keep close-tabs on it - also need to remove the thinner pieces earlier than the thick ones.

    I used to do with skin-on, but after trying skin-off, I found I like it better skinless - it's pretty easy to remove the mud line when you fillet them.

    I've been seeing more and more posts using dry brining... and think I'd like to give it a try. I'm already planning to try another brine recipe from SMF on the fillets I have thawing right now, but my next batch will go dry. I would think that it would draw more moisture out and get me to the texture I want a bit sooner.

    I'm interested in the whole pickled fish process - could you post some instructions on that as well - those jars look yummy.
     
  13. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    I am in the process of another big batch. Just smoked this time, no pickling, but I will do a informative post on pickling in the near future. Mud line is easily removed, I actually just meant the dark meat under the skin but I may change my mind after this batch. I'm doing some more experimenting this time and I'm glad to share.

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  14. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice........................[​IMG]
     
  15. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    That beast was 7.2 lbs! He took a little caddis pupa on my 4 wt fly rod. That was fun!!

    Taking them out of the brine now and time to earn their pellicle.

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  16. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Pellicle earned. Time for the smoker.

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  17. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Rubbed a little pure maple syrup on each of them and some black pepper. Two got a sprinkle of Habanero powder.

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    All done. IT 170°F

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    Y bones sticking out nicely. Again, I rubbed the back of my knife against grain of the Y bones a couple times to loosen them up a bit. I do this right before I start the brine.  When the meat dries and shrinks from smoking/cooking they stick up straight.

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    Easy picking, slide right out.

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    Opened one up for a taste. Perfect. It'll dry up and lose a little moisture after an overnight in the fridge.

    I took a few skins off (while hot) and scraped the dark meat off to see if that'll make any difference in the final cooled product.

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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  18. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Turned out fantastic today after they cooled overnight.

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  19. fishnhnter

    fishnhnter Fire Starter

    Thanks thoseguy!! Am i reading your temperatures correctly in your very first post here? 200f for 1 hour and then 100f for another hour? And then pull them at 170f? Heck, its 102f here today, i can just set them outside and they'll cook. Seriously, i need help before i start these fish on Friday. Smoker temp, time and internal temp? THANKS,!
     
  20. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    Great tutorial and pics!
     

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