Share this BBQ!

There aren’t many things I can confidently say I’m REALLY good at, but let me just brag for a minute and say I’m REALLY good at fishing. Not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve spent thousands of hours with a fishing rod in my hand. There aren’t many freshwater species I haven’t caught, and I even spent time in Alaska as a fishing guide. I know how to catch fish, and this smoked trout recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh trout or salmon.

Before I settled down to start a family, I worked as a fishing guide. Long days fishing led to long nights smoking trout and salmon. This recipe comes from years of experience, and trial and error. If you're looking for the best way to smoke trout or salmon, this is it! This smoked trout recipe includes a recipe for a smoked trout brine, how long to brine trout, and how to form a pellicle too! This smoked trout guide has it all! #barbecue #easy #simple #barbecue #traegerrecipe #pelletgrill

Step One – Go Catch a Fish!

The best smoked fish is fish you’ve caught your self. This recipe works especially well for salmon, rainbow trout, brook trout, and lake trout. If you have access to those fish, and you know how to catch them, go catch a few and then come back to this recipe.
Smoked Salmon Recipe
A Coho Salmon from Alaska
Don’t know how to catch them? Send me an email… I’m confident I can help! Another option is to buy the fish from your local grocery store or market. If you’re buying fish, ask how it was caught. Wild, line-caught salmon or trout is the best, and the only type of fish I would buy. Farmed fish are a poor substitute for their wild counterparts. The meat is of lesser quality because the fish don’t have to move like wild fish do. Furthermore, most farm raised fish are treated with a dye to make their meat look appealing. How appealing is that… really? Do yourself a favor… buy wild caught salmon or trout.

Smoked Fish Brine

Smoked Trout Recipe
A nice lake trout from a recent trip to Manitoba
I’m using two Lake Trout fillets for this recipe, but any of the previously mentioned trout species or salmon will do. If you’re going for salmon, Sockeye Salmon is my favorite, followed closely by Coho Salmon.

Common Mistakes When Smoking Trout or Salmon

There are a few mistakes people make when they smoke salmon or trout, mistake #1, they don’t brine the fish. The brine serves a couple of different purposes, but the two that are most important are:
  1. Keeping the fish from drying out during the smoke process.
  2. Adding an additional layer of flavor to the meat of the fish.

How to Brine Trout or Salmon

You can brine your fish in a dry brine, or a wet brine. Everyone has there own preference, but mine is a dry brine for fish. There are just a few ingredients you need to make the dry brine:
  • Kosher Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, and then set aside.
Are you on Instagram? Don’t forget to follow @smokedmeatsunday to get daily bbq pictures and tips!
Place your fish fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet, and then liberally sprinkle the brine over your fish. Every nook and cranny of the fish fillet should be covered with your dry brine. Once the fish is adequately covered, pull the foil over the fish, and then cover the pan with saran wrap and place the whole pan in your refrigerator. Let the fish brine for 3-6 hours. Be careful not to dry brine the trout much longer than 6 hours. If you do, you’ll end up with some very salty smoked trout! You’ll be shocked by how much moisture is in the pan when you finally decide to pull the fish out of the brine and move on to the next step!

Smoked Fish Pellicle

I could go into detail about what the pellicle is, but you probably don’t care. This next step is the step most people completely skip over, and it’s the difference in perfect smoked salmon, and average smoked salmon (or trout). After the trout has been brined, rinse each of the fillets thoroughly, and then pat dry. Place the fish on a grill rack, and then put the rack on the sheet pan you were using before, and back in the fridge! If you don’t have room in the fridge, you can put the fish in a cool, well-ventilated area. The fish will need to sit out for at least three hours. This step produces a tacky film on the surface of the salmon, called the pellicle. The pellicle will help your trout or salmon hold more of that smoke flavor you’re looking for, and keeps the fish from cooking too quickly. Honey Glazed Smoked Trout - Smoked Fish Recipe - Smoked Fish Brine - Dry Brine for Trout - Smoked Salmon - Dry Brine - Brine for Fish - Pellet Grill Recipes - Smoked Food - Traeger Recipes

Time To Smoke the Trout (or Salmon)

Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to properly brine the fish, and form a nice pellicle on the surface of the flesh. Now it’s time to put your fish in the smoker! Set your smoker up to cook with indirect heat at around 140 or 150 degrees, and then place your trout or salmon fillets on the grill grates. After two hours, increase the temperature in your smoker by 20 degrees. Repeat this process every two hours.

What’s That White Stuff Oozing Out of My Smoked Fish?

You can start your smoker out at 225 and just keep it there, but you’ll notice a white substance ooze out of the fish called albumin. Gradually increasing the temperature helps the fish firm up at a slower rate, thus reducing the albumin appearance, and giving you much better flavor!
Love this post? Be sure to check out my smoked salmon recipe! If you’re looking for something other than fish, you’ll love my Smoked Juicy Lucy’s!
Small trout only take a few hours to smoke, but larger trout and salmon can take several hours. Check the temp of your fish with a good meat thermometer after a few hours, and when the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees, you’re done!

Best Way to Check Internal Temperature

There are quite a few different products on the market that you can use to check the internal temperature of your food. I’ve tried several different types of thermometers, but my favorite one is the Thermapen MK4.
Thermapen MK4 in Smoked Salmon
One of the reasons I really love my Thermapen is because it takes all the guesswork out of knowing when my foods have been cooked to a safe temp… PS… This fish is not done cooking! Smoked fish is safe for consumption at 145 degrees.
The Thermapen MK4 gives an internal temperature readout almost instantly. The Thermapen’s intelligent design makes it easy to read the backlit display at almost any angle. We first purchased the Thermapen for use in our smoked meat cooking, but it’s quickly become a tool my wife uses when we are cooking other food in the kitchen too.

Smoked Trout or Salmon Glaze

You don’t have to add a glaze to your smoked fish, but if you’re looking for an added layer of flavor, I highly recommend this step. After you put your salmon or trout in the smoker, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl:
  • Honey
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
Stir the ingredients until the honey and brown sugar has dissolved, and then set aside. At the end of each hour, brush your fish with the glaze. This is how you get NEXT LEVEL AWESOME smoked fish. Would you do something different? Let me know in the comments.
Smoked Trout - The Way a Fishing Guide Does It

Smoked Trout - The Way a Fishing Guide Does It

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 1 days 3 hours
Cook Time: 6 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 days 10 hours
There aren't many things I can confidently say I'm REALLY good at, but let me just brag for a minute and say I'm REALLY good at fishing. Not because I'm lucky, but because I've spent thousands of hours with a fishing rod in my hand. There aren't many freshwater species I haven't caught, and I even spent time in Alaska as a fishing guide. I know how to catch fish, and this smoked trout recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh trout or salmon.

Ingredients

  • Whole Salmon or Trout Fillets

Smoked Trout Brine

  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Paprika

Smoked Trout Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the brine ingredients in a small bowl, and then set aside.
  2. Place your fish fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet, and then liberally sprinkle the brine over your fish. Every nook and cranny of the fish fillet should be covered with your dry brine. Once the fish is adequately covered, pull the foil over the fish, and then cover the pan with saran wrap and place the whole pan in your refrigerator.
  3. Let the fish brine for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  4. After the trout has been brined, rinse each of the fillets thoroughly, and then pat dry.
  5. Place the fish on a grill rack, and then put the rack on the sheet pan you were using before, and back in the fridge with the fish! If you don't have room in the fridge, you can put the fish in a cool, well-ventilated area. The fish will need to sit out for at least three hours. This step produces a tacky film on the surface of the salmon, called the pellicle. The pellicle will help your trout or salmon hold more of that smoke flavor you're looking for, and keeps the fish from cooking too quickly.
  6. Set your smoker up to cook with indirect heat at around 140 or 150 degrees, and then place your trout or salmon fillets on the grill grates.
  7. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl
  8. Stir the ingredients until the honey and brown sugar has dissolved, and then set aside.
  9. At the end of each hour, brush your fish with the glaze.
  10. After two hours, increase the temperature in your smoker by 20 degrees. Repeat this process every two hours.
  11. Smaller trout only take a few hours to smoke, but larger lake trout and salmon can take several hours. Check the temp of your fish with a good meat thermometer after a few hours, and when the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees, you can pull the fish from the smoker.
  12. When the fish is done smoking you can eat it warm, or let it cool for about 60 minutes before putting it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them I may make a small commission, at no additional cost to you
Click here for my Affiliate Disclaimer

3 Replies to “Smoked Trout

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.