Smoked Trout Fillets: Brined or Marinated Recipe

Smoked Trout Fillets: Brined or Marinated Recipe

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Smoked Trout Fillets: Brined or Marinated Recipe
4.7 - 3 vote[s]

Have you ever gone fishing during fresh water trout season and scored a great deal of fish? Reservoirs and lakes are often stocked with extra trout during this time of year. Rivers and running streams are often naturally abundant with wild trout. Trout can be caught either with a casting pole or a fly rod. The latter takes a bit more skill but is a worthy challenge for anglers.

There are a variety of trout species. Both the common brown trout and rainbow trout are prized by recreational and serious game fishermen. These are also the varieties you can often find in grocery stores and fish markets. These fish move quickly and are able to hide from view with their skin color blending into often murky waters, rocky shores, and thick vegetation.

Raw trout flesh resembles salmon in texture and often in color. In fact, trout and salmon are in the same family of species. Yet, the meat of many fresh water trout lightens in color when cooked and the flavor is a bit milder than salmon. The fillets are ideal for smoking to impart more flavor.

You can gut and clean a whole trout, stuff the cavity with herbs and lemon, wrap in foil, and grill for approximately 15 minutes. This is a perfect, quick, outdoor entrée. But, what about those extra fish you might have caught? Smoking trout is a great way to preserve your bounty. Smoked trout keeps well in the refrigerator for several days and freezes well for a few months.

A Bit about the Recipes

The two recipes here are similar in that they call for trout fillets that have been prepared with either a wet brine or a liquid marinade. The brining and marinating processes add flavor and moisture to the meat so that it holds up well in the smoker and doesn’t completely dry out. A Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is a good vehicle to use because the temperature remains mostly constant without the hot spots that can occur with charcoal.

Feel free to add fresh herbs or dried spices to the brine. You can also add fresh ginger and garlic to the marinade to impart more depth and complexity. However, I would not advise being too heavy handed with seasonings so that the fish is what shines. Make sure the filets are cleaned well, removing dorsal fins, gills, and as many pin bones as possible.

The quantities are for approximately 4 pounds of fish equaling 8 half pound fillets. Adjust the brine and marinade amounts to meet your needs, depending on how many pounds of fish you have.

Smoked trout can be served warm as an entrée, or flaked over a salad. It is also a perfect food to work into small hot or cold appetizers, such as crostini or smoked fish spreads and dips.

Brined & Smoked Trout Fillets

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of river or lake trout fillets, approximately 8 filets
  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Total time: 3 hour 15 minPrep time: 15 min – Cook time: 3 hour – Serves: 8 people

Directions:

1. Remove the pin bones from the trout fillets.

2. Combine the salt, sugar, and water in a large container, approximately 1 to 2 gallon size. Stir well until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Submerge the trout fillets in the brine and cover the container. Refrigerate for 3 and up to 8 hours.

3. Remove the trout from the brine and rinse under cold water. Remove the excess moisture from the fillets with clean paper towels. Place the trout fillets, skin side down, on a cooling rack that is fitted inside a sheet pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 2 hours and up to overnight.

4. Remove 2 racks from the smoker and place the fillets on the racks skin side down. Allow the fish to rest while you prepare the smoker. Fill the water bowl 1/2 way. Place wood chips in the tray. Alder, maple, or oak work well. Open the top vent. Turn the smoker on and preheat to 160°F.

5. Place the racks with fish inside the smoker. Cook the trout for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Replenish the wood chips and water as needed, likely every 60 minutes.

6. Serve the smoked fish with toasted baguette slices and a refreshing, green salad. You can assemble appetizer crostinis by placing a little salad on the toasts and placing some slices of fish on top.

Marinated & Smoked Trout Fillets

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of river or lake trout filets, approximately 8 fillets
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Lemon slices for smoking

Total time: 3 hour 15 minPrep time: 15 min – Cook time: 3 hour – Serves: 8 people

Directions:

1. Remove the pin bones from the trout fillets. Place them in a large, shallow baking dish skin side down. Add the wine, tamari, lemon, and sugar to a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Pour the marinade of the fillets to cover. Refrigerate for 3 and up to 8 hours.

3. Remove 2 racks from the smoker and place on a countertop that is lined with paper towels to collect any moisture. Remove the trout from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place the trout fillets, skin side down, on the racks and allow them to air dry for 30 minutes while you prepare the smoker.

4. Fill the smoker water bowl 1/2 way and place a few lemon slices in the water. Place wood chips in the tray. Alder, maple, or oak work well. Open the top vent. Turn the smoker on and preheat to 160°F.

5. Place the racks with fish inside the smoker. Cook the trout for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Replenish the wood chips and water as needed, likely every 60 minutes.

6. Serve the smoked fish warm with roasted or smoked root vegetable chunks and a side salad.

Store your smoked trout in air-tight, sealed containers or zip-lock baggies. The trout should stay fresh for up to week in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep it for a longer time, it is best when stored in vacuum sealed bags. These (unopened) will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month and for several months in the freezer.



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