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Trout - How to Smoke Your Trout in a Wood Burned Smoker

Updated on July 29, 2017
Titia profile image

Titia has a broad interest in photography, poetry, family, art, dogs, cats, insects, wildlife, history, war, camping, writing, environment.


How to Smoke the Trout You Catch

I don't know about you, but I just love trout. I love to catch them, prepare them and I love to eat them. Alas in my country there's no such thing as trout living in the wild, we don't have those fast running streams, maybe in the Ardennes in Belgium, I don't know. In The Netherlands we can only fish on trout in special ponds.

Of course there's the UK and Denmark, but that's a bit far to go fishing on trout for a day, although some take a week off and head for Denmark. I've never done that though (yet).

In my country we fish on trout and salmon in special ponds. Some might think that's an easy way to catch a meal, but it isn't, it's still a game between the fisherman and the fish. Sometimes I go home with a load full, sometimes I don't catch a thing. I just love to sit at the pond and it doesn't make any difference for me whether it's sunny or whether it's raining.

I'll show you how we smoke our trout in our backyard and end up with a delicious meal.

What Do You Need to Smoke Trout

If you want to smoke your own trout then you'll need the following equipment:

* plastic box where you can marinate your trout in

* lots of salt

* kitchen towel

* paper towel

* fish holders (in my case)

* wood chips

* small wood or charcoal to start the fire

* smoker or smoke-house

and of course....Trout or Salmon.

The Fish Have to Be Marinated in a Salty Solution - Marinating Takes a Few Hours

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Nice catch of troutFrozen trout coming out the freezerThe trout have been marinated in salt for a few hoursHave to thoroughly dry the trout before smokingThose trouts are all ready to go
Nice catch of trout
Nice catch of trout | Source
Frozen trout coming out the freezer
Frozen trout coming out the freezer | Source
The trout have been marinated in salt for a few hours
The trout have been marinated in salt for a few hours | Source
Have to thoroughly dry the trout before smoking
Have to thoroughly dry the trout before smoking | Source
Those trouts are all ready to go
Those trouts are all ready to go | Source

After the Marinating

Trout has a rather flat taste and it has to be marinated in a rather salty solution for at least a few hours. How you make the marinade is totally up to you. There are as many different ways as there are trout smokers. We marinate them in water and salt, but others may not use water at all and/or put in some extra herbs. It's a bit of experimenting the first time to find out what works.

Anyway, after they've been marinated, you have to dry them thoroughly before putting them into the smoker. We use old kitchen towels to do that, because paper towel gets soaked and will then stick to the skin. We use the paper towel to clean our hands.

We have a round smoker and normally you have to hook the fish in a certain way, but we never got that part right and very often the fish would fell down during the smoking process. So my hubby thought up a solution and now we bind them to a folded iron raster and that way we can smoke at least 16 trouts at the same time.

Most of the time we smoke fish when the kids are home and we'll have a BBQ, so we'll have some meat and some fish to eat.

I have no experience with electric smokers, don't know anybody of my fellow fishermen who uses one either. We all do it the old fashioned way.

Preparing the Trout and Binding Them to the Grills

Click thumbnail to view full-size
trout before smoking
trout before smoking | Source

Everybody Smokes Trout in a Different Way

I couldn't find a video of the smoker we use. They're all using electric smokers and that's not the real thing for me. I found a self made smoker that looks pretty nice.

Home made Smoker

Burn Some Wood First

burning the wood
burning the wood | Source

We Use Wood from Our Own Willow Trees to Start the Smoker

To start the fire we use some twigs and dry leaves of the willow trees (we have plenty of those), add some hay or other dry grass and build a hot fire that way. Then add some thicker branches.


Don't Use Charcoal to Burn in Your Smoker

Don't use ready made charcoal, you best use real wood to make your fire in the smoker in order to get the right flavor. Different wood gives different flavors.

Gradually use somewhat thicker wood, because they need to form a thick layer of hot charcoal which can last for several hours.

Cover the Flames with Wood Chips to Get It Smoking

When it's ready to shovel it into the burner, you have to add some wood chips, because those will give some really nice flavor to the fish.

Often they use oak chips, but it can be from other trees too.

Then It's Time to Ut in the Trouts

trouts in the smoker
trouts in the smoker | Source

Smoking Time Starts When You Put the Trout into the Smoker

Put the lid on the smoker and sit back for a few hours.

For small trouts at least three to four hours. Time to relax, have a drink and a chat with the girls.

Smoked Trout Is Just Delicious

In the Meantime We Start the Barbecue

starting the BBQ
starting the BBQ | Source

We Love to Have a Choice of Meat and Fish

While we are waiting for the trout to get smoked, daughter Lynn Karijn is starting the BBQ. We hardly ever buy meat in the shop, because we mostly use the meat from our own sheep. I have chops, minced meat and sausages and every time our eye is bigger than our stomach they say over here when you have more food on your plate than you can eat. We also had baked potatoes and a nice salad to go with the fish and the meat.

Checking on the Trout

Checking on the trout
Checking on the trout | Source

Aren't They Looking Delicious?

smoked trout
smoked trout | Source

You Can Eat Smoked Trout with Potatoes and Veggies

Smoked trout with veggies
Smoked trout with veggies | Source

Mostly We Eat the Smoked Trout as an Appetizer or a Snack

Some people make delicious recipes with smoked trout, some use them as snacks on toast and that's the way we eat our smoked trouts. I hardly ever make a meal with smoked trout, we just warm them up a bit in the magnetron and then peel off the skin and eat the meat right from its bones.

NOTE!!!: never eat the skin of a smoked trout or any other smoked fish or give it to the dogs or cats, because it's smoked and it can cause damage to your own or to your animal's health. It would be like inhaling smoke from a fire, which of course it actually is.

Did You Ever Smoke Fish or Meat in a Smoker?

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© 2013 Titia Geertman

Love to Hear Your Smoking Experience

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    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      I used to fish the local rivers here in Ireland for wild trout and always managed to catch something for supper. Nowadays they don't yield much due to over fishing, as many fish using illegal methods.

    • JDM Vidmantas profile image

      JDM Vidmantas 4 years ago

      Osom! I like it so much :)

    • cire81 lm profile image

      cire81 lm 4 years ago

      Smoked fish is one of my favourite dish. Thanks for sharing.

    • winter aconite profile image

      winter aconite 4 years ago

      Great lens, never smoked fish as I didn't know how to. Now i'll give it a go!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I love all the photos you have included onto your smoked trout article. My brother smokes salmon in his backyard and my husband loves getting samples sent to him. There really is nothing quite like home made.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Very interesting I never knew how to do it/

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      Mouth watering pictures- I just needed a good recipe (I don't have a smoker, though). I believe some barbecued trout will also be good with the vegetable mix you offer!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 4 years ago

      This is a excellent guide to smoking fish! The final dish with baked potatoes and flat bean salad looks yummy - and healthy! I haven't done any fishing for many years. Maybe it is time to bring out the gear again!

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 4 years ago from England

      Blimey Titia, nice catch, remember to leave some for next time ;) this looks absolutely amazing. I love anything I can do myself in the kitchen, from homemade olive oil chili sauce. Catching your own trout and smoking them must be so nice. I'd love a day like that.

    • Stuwaha profile image

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      those smoked trout look delicious :) every time my husband smokes things they end up tasting like hot dogs :/

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      I love smoked trout and smoked salmon, but I've never made my own. Your vegetables look delicious too - the salad especially is very clever, but so simple!

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Mmmmm...this looks so yummy!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I have a weakness for smoked fish of all sorts. It looks like you have a very well-coordinated trout smoking team to help.