Smoking has always been one of my all times favorite ways to serve fish. I’ve smoked salmon, hot and cold, also tried smoking grouper and mackerel… So today I am smoking rainbow trout on cherry wood, the classic way. So… here we go!
For the brine:
- 6 tbsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-12 allspice berries
- 3-4 lemon slices
- 1.5 l of water
So, hot smoking is about 2 steps – brining and smoking. Brining gives the fish the taste, as well as draws the liquids out giving the hot smoked fish its dense texture. Cooking the fish on a low temperature allows longer cooking time and better smoke penetration. Combined, it gives you the perfect hot smoked and tender fish you can enjoy either on its own, or in a sandwich, on a salad or any other way you can think of :).
To prepare the brine, simply combine all the spices with 0.5l of water in a medium saucepan and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and the sugar. Once boiling, simmer for 10-15 minutes, then take off the heat, add the remaining 1 l of water and let cool completely. It’s important the brine is absolutely cool before it’s used.
In a large shallow dish place the fish and pour the brine over. Add the lemon slices and cure, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours.
Set up your smoker for a relatively short session – the fish will be ready in about 2 hours. I like using cherry wood as a firespice for fish, but it’s really about your own taste. I would not recommend using strong flavor smoke – it’s too overwhelming and does nothing but taking over the fish taste. So fruitwood would be perfect, if you ask me.
If you’re smoking on a gas grill, simply get your wood chips soaked and then wrapped in foil to make the smoking pouch. Place it directly on the flavorizers or heat diffuser bars and run your grill on high till you see smoke. Then reduce the heat to minimal – you’re after 110C-120C maximum.
Place the fish on the smoker rack, or use a special fish smoking device, if you have any. I don’t, so I simply use toothpicks to keep the fish cavity open for better smoke penetration. Smoke the fish for about 2 hours, then remove from the smoker.
Let it cool and enjoy!
Till the next time, mates… Keep it smokin’! 🙂