Trout are a salmonid and can be cooked to tasty perfection. Freshwater trout tend to be milder and have a softer texture compared to their larger Salmon relatives. Big salmon tends to be oilier and stronger in flavor. Some anglers don’t like eating trout because they are not salmon. Here is a recipe that bridges the gap between salmon and trout.
Smoked Alder Trout. (Or Salmon)
2 cups of hot water
¼ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of coarse salt
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
½ lb. of fish filets
3 cups of alder chips
Combine the water, sugar, salt, and syrup. A blender works well for this step. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Remove/ filet any bones or rib trimmings from your fish. Leave the scaled skin on the filet.
Submerge the fish in a glass/ non-corrosive bowl or bag. Hold the fish down using a plate if needed. Cover the fish in the brine and refrigerate for 12 hours. Turn or mix up the gag occasionally.
Rinse the brined fish and pat dry on a pare towel. Discard the brine and place the filets on the smoker. Let them air dry for 1-2 hours.
Now it’s time to smoke. This can be done with a dedicated smoker, a homemade special, or a regular propane grill. Use the alder chips for the smoke. Soak them in water for 30 minutes or so.
Turn on the grill/smoker and let the wood chips begin to smoke. Now load the fish onto open smoker racks. Leave at least an inch between filets. After an hour, refresh the alder wood chips. You will do this at least every hour.
Smoke/cook until the meat is 140-150 degrees. This may take 8-10 hours. Slower and smokier are best. This smoking time can be more, or less, depending on the ambient air temperature and humidity. Warmer days will take less time. If it is too cold, below 25degrees, cook the fish rather than try to smoke it.
Once the filets are cooked, serve over warm bread or crackers. Properly smoked trout or salmon will store in the refrigerator for 1 ½ months. Frozen smoked fish can stay delicious for 6 months in a freezer. Generally, if the smoked fish is handy, it will not last that long.
Enjoy this healthy and tasty snack!