Most fish I catch I put back, much to my Father’s disgust—the old mans catch rate does not warrant mercy towards the humble trout. I do, however, love to smoke trout. Why, because I love the taste, it’s beautiful! So, here’s my simply smoking method, enjoy.
A pair of plump Western Lake Brownies (above), around the two pound mark, are perfect for the home smoker. I tend to find the cleaner the water, the better the fish taste, avoid fish from dams and slow flowing rivers.
Clean and gut your fish, lakeside is preferably, but like me, you may prefer the laundry sink and an entomology lesson with the junior fisherman in the house. In my experience, boys enjoy this more than girls, there’s a primal curiosity towards blood n’ guts built into male genes – it’s just the way it is. Once you’ve studied the contents of the trout’s last supper, rinse it under the tap and pat dry with a tea towel.
A great many people like to soak trout in a brine and sugar solution for a few hours before smoking, I’ve tried many and personally don’t believe it changes the outcome enough to justify the time it takes. One advantage is improving the taste of a fish raised in muddy waters, but who really wants to eat them anyway?
Find a space in your garden thats’s out of the wind, It pays to fire up your smoker away from nervous neighbours – the kind that call the Fire Department at the first sign of smoke! Fill the little metal dish, that came with your smoker, to the top with Methylated spirits, place under the smoker. Sprinkle a good handful of moist wood chips (yes, moist! See below) onto the smoker base, now you’re ready to add the fish. Gently drape your trout across the smoking rack, strike a match over the Metho and put the lid on. How do you tell when the fish is ready? Give it 15 minutes or let the Metho burn out, what ever comes first and you’re done.
I love the taste of freshly smoked fish, its hard to resist. Remove the lid from the smoker, wait for the mushroom cloud to disperse. Peel back the skin with your pocket knife, ease your knife gently into the lateral line of the fish and push down, the flesh will glide off the bone. At our place a full fish rarely makes it back to the kitchen intact. Mouth fulls of hot smoked trout in the garden are hard to beat!
Before you begin place a hand full of wood chips in a sieve, run under the cold tap to whet them down, then give them a good squeeze in a cheese cloth. This helps retain the moisture in your fish and avoids that horrible burnt flavour that can spoil a good catch.
- Portable smoker
- Wood chips (Mesquite chips are great)
- Tea towel
- Sharp knife
- Methylated spirits
Bon Appetit, Marcus