Smoked Trout Recipe
Not too long ago I tried out a recipe for smoking Salmon using a regular propane grill. I wanted to try out smoked fish, but didn't have a smoker. I also didn't want to go out and buy a smoker just yet. After searching for a while I found a way that we liked. This time we decided to try out some Rainbow Trout that we had caught at Chatfield State Park. This is the recipe we used:
Ingredients for the brine:
- 3 Rainbow Trout, between 13 and 15 inches
- 2qts. water
- Plain salt: 3/4 cup
- Brown sugar: 3/4 cup
- Old Bay seasoning: 6 teaspoons
- Garlic: 4 teaspoons
- Basil, oregano, parsley to taste- 4 “shakes”
- Your choice of wood chips, we used Hickory and Mesquite, split 50/50.
Putting The Brine Together
The first step is to prepare the brine. The brine is a very important step when smoking fish or anything else. The sugar and salt in the brine react to the meat and help to prepare the meat to be cooked properly. The brine will help the meat to dry out from the smoke, while still maintaining moisture inside. You will want to soak the meat in the brine prior to smoking.
To make the brine, we start by taking about 1/4 of the total water from the recipe and boiling it. Once it is boiling, add all of the spices, leaving out only the salt and sugar. Let this set for about 10 minutes. Next, add the remaining water, plus the salt and brown sugar. You will want to marinade the fish in this brine for about an hour. We did this by placing the fish and the brine in a gallon bag and put it in the refrigerator.
Once the fish is in the brine it is time to get your wood chips ready. I had bought two, 3 liter bags of wood chips, one in mesquite, one in hickory. I took about 1/4 of each bag and put it into a large bowl and filled it with water. I let the wood chips soak for about an hour.
While the fish and the wood was soaking, I got the grill ready. I removed the grate from the left side of the grill and placed some foil over the grate on the right side. I cut holes in the foil on the right side to let the smoke surround the fish. I then preheated the grill to about 225 degrees.
Next, drain the wood chips and wrap them in foil. You will want to poke or cut some holes in the top of the foil to allow the smoke to escape. Once my foil packet was ready, I placed it directly over the burner on the right side. Once the wood chips start smoking, it is time to put the fish on the grill. Make sure you watch the wood chips, if they catch on fire it will raise the temperature of the grill and reduce the amount of smoke. Keep a spray bottle nearby to re-soak the wood as necessary.
Getting It On The Grill
By now you should have the grill ready and the smoke should be filling the grill with pleasant aromas. Once your hour is up, it will be time to take the fish out of the brine. Take the fish out of the brine and rinse it gently under tap water. The longer you rinse, the less of the salt you will taste in the final product. Then carefully set the fish fillets out on the foil you prepared on the grill. I placed a meat thermometer in the thickest piece of fish so that I could monitor the internal temperature of the fish.
I monitored the built in temperature gauge on the grill to maintain a temperature of about 225 degrees. As the winds changed I had to adjust the flame up or down to keep the temperature the same. I used the spray bottle once to knock down a couple small flames that were starting to come out of the foil packet. I was aiming for an internal temperature of around 165 degrees or slightly more. After about 90 minutes on the grill, it finally read 170 degrees in the thickest piece of fish.
The final smoked trout turned out great! It had a very distinct flavor that gave it much more character than just a normal baked or fried trout. If you want to give this recipe a try remember that you can adjust the taste by leaving the fish in the brine longer, or rinsing it off more before placing it on the grill. You can also experiment with different types of wood chips.