I love surprises. But really, who doesn’t.
A friend of mine does fly fishing and every once in a while he calls to see if I am home and then comes to drop off one of the fish he caught. So, a few days ago, I received a call and then 30 minutes later I had a fish to clean.
I do not know much about fish, besides buying them at a fish market or supermarket and cooking them. I don’t fish and therefore I don’t clean them or filet them. This is the third fish he has dropped off and I am starting to get better at preparing them. I feel I need to get a lesson from someone though – I know I could do a far better job.
My friend told me the fish was a steelhead trout. After a bit of research online, I discovered that rainbow trout and steelhead are the same fish. Steelhead are just a larger and mature version of the rainbow trout. This fish is in the same fish family as salmon and does have a similar taste, especially when smoked.
Above is the fish I got to filet! This recipe for smoked fish is great with store bought trout of salmon as well.
I used a dry brine this time and it is so easy to do. Cover the fish with the brown sugar/salt brine and place in the fridge for 8-12 hours (I did it overnight).
Rinse the brine off and let the fish dry so a pellicle can form on the skin. The pellicle keeps some of the moisture in the fish and enhances the smokey flavour.
Smoke for 5 hours at a gradually increasing temperature, starting at 100F and increasing it 20F every hour. Look at the finished product!! Man did the fish taste incredible!!
Smoked Steelhead Trout
- 2 pounds of steelhead trout fillets
- 6 cups of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Mix the brown sugar, salt and seasonings together. Rub the dry brine all over the fish. Place the fish in a bowl making sure the fish is totally surrounded and covered in the dry brine. Place in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).
- Rinse the fish thoroughly and place in a cool dry place of 2-3 hours to allow a pellicle to form on the outside of the fish. A fan can be used to speed up the process.
- Smoke for 5 hours at a gradually increasing temperature, starting at 100F and increasing it 20F every hour. The fish needs to have a minimum internal temperature of 145F.