Wetting a line on a river in hunt of a rainbow or brown is something special. Mostly, we release our catch to fight another day, but every now and then, if the fishery is in good condition, we take one for the table. There's no better way to enjoy what nature has provided from the river - the trout just has to be smoked, hot or cold.
1Kg Trout Fillets (de-boned with the skin on)
1 Litre Water
200g Sea Salt (Non-Iodised)
100g Soft Brown Sugar
Smokai Manuka or Maple Woodchip
Smokai Smoke Generator
A Non-Reactive Container
Make The Brine
Combine the brine ingredients in a pot and heat slowly until the salt and sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the brine to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Note: The reason heating is required is the water will be close to fully saturated and will take forever to dissolve at room temperature.
Prepare The Trout
After filleting your Trout, remove all of the bones and leave the skin on.
Submerge your Trout fillets in a nonreactive container in your refrigerator for 1 hour per cm of thickness (measure from the thickest part of the fillet).
Note: A non-reactive container is one that will not react to the brine. Aluminum, cast iron, and copper are all “reactive” and should not be used. Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and metal cookware with enamel coating are all “nonreactive.”
Remove your Trout from the brine and soak it in cold fresh water for 15 to 20 minutes to remove some of the saltiness and “sweeten them a little”. Pat dry and place them uncovered, skin side down on racks (with a drip tray underneath) in your refrigerator for 24 hours. This has the added advantage of allowing the salt to further penetrate the flesh and dry the surface of the fish to form a pellicle for the smoke to stick to.
Remove from the refrigerator and place the Trout skin side down on racks or hang them from dowels in your Smoker.
Allow the temperature of the fish to equalise with the ambient temperature of your smoker for an hour or two before smoking. This is important as skipping this step will result in condensation developing on your fish resulting in an inferior product if your fish is cooler than the smoker.
Smoke your Trout using your Smokai Smoke Generator on a low pump speed for 12 to 24 hours depending on how strong a smoke flavour you enjoy. The fish will firm up during the smoking process as a result of water loss condensing the flavour.
Do not slice your Trout directly after smoking. Place it in your refrigerator overnight to allow the flavours to distribute evenly throughout the fillet.