Hot smoked trout recipes: delicious & sustainable

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have turned to self-sufficiency and exploring new hobbies. One such hobby is fish smoking, which is not only a great way to make use of the abundant fish resources in the UK, but also a sustainable choice with a lower environmental impact compared to open cage salmon farms. Hot smoked trout, in particular, is a delicious option that can be easily prepared at home. In this article, we will guide you through the process of hot smoking trout and share some mouth-watering recipes to inspire you.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Catching and Caring for the Trout

The first step in hot smoking trout is to catch the right fish. It is recommended to choose grown-on resident rainbows and browns from large clean lakes or reservoirs. Look for lean, healthy fish that have spent a good amount of time on natural food. After catching the trout, it is important to care for them properly to preserve the quality of the meat. Immediately place the fish in a cooler with ice packs to keep them fresh and avoid leaving them in a bag all day. Properly cooling the fish is crucial to maintain its quality.

Step 2: Preparing the Trout

Once you have selected the trout, it's time to prepare them for smoking. Start by filleting the fish without gutting them. Use a sharp filleting knife to slice the fillets away from the body. You can use a filleting board with a clamp to hold slippery fish in place and a hook and knife sharpener to ensure a clean cut. No need to skin, scale, or pin-bone the fillets at this stage. Weigh the fillets and make a note of the weight if cold smoking.

hot smoked trout recipes - How to hot smoke trout at home

Step 3: Curing the Fillets

The next step in hot smoking trout is to cure the fillets. Curing draws out excess moisture and allows salt to penetrate the meat, enhancing the smoky flavors. For hot smoked trout, a 4-hour cure works well. Use a 50:50 dry cure mix of sea salt and brown sugar. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread a layer of the salt/sugar mix at the bottom. Place the fillets on top, skin side down, and add another layer of the salt/sugar mix on the flesh side. Refrigerate the tray and let the cure work its magic.

Step 4: Rinsing and Resting

After the curing process, you'll notice excess moisture in the tray. Drain it away and rinse the fillets thoroughly in fresh water. Pat them dry with kitchen towel and put them back in the fridge, uncovered, to chill overnight. This step allows a 'pellicle' to form on the surface of the fish, which helps the smoking flavors adhere to the fillets.

Step 5: Smoking the Trout

Hot smoking is a simple process that fully cooks the fish while adding a delightful smoky flavor. You can use a dedicated smoker or a BBQ with a smoker box. For hot smoking, cook the trout fillets for about 15-20 minutes. The flesh should easily flake away from the skin and bones. Enjoy the hot smoked trout in various dishes like warm potato salad with horseradish, capers, and pickled red onion.

Cold smoking, on the other hand, is a longer process that cures the fish without cooking it. It requires a cold smoke generator and a smoke chamber to maintain a cool temperature. Cold smoking trout for 24 hours allows the flavors to develop. After weighing the fillets, you can determine if they have lost around 15-20% of their weight, indicating they are safe to eat. For added dehydration, you can briefly place them in the oven with the extractor fan on, but without heat. Once the fillets have reached the desired weight and firmness, they are ready to be sliced and enjoyed or vacuum sealed and frozen for later use.

Delicious Hot Smoked Trout Recipes

Here are a few delectable recipes to make the most of your hot smoked trout:

  • Smoked Trout Salad: Combine flaked hot smoked trout with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a tangy lemon dressing for a refreshing and healthy salad.
  • Smoked Trout Pâté: Blend hot smoked trout with cream cheese, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and spices to create a creamy and flavorful pâté. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.
  • Smoked Trout Pasta: Toss hot smoked trout with cooked pasta, sautéed garlic, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a quick and satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of fish for hot smoking?

While trout is commonly used for hot smoking, you can also experiment with other fish such as salmon or mackerel. Adjust the smoking time accordingly to ensure proper cooking.

Can I hot smoke fish without a dedicated smoker or BBQ?

Yes, you can hot smoke fish using a stovetop smoker or even a DIY setup with a pot, wire rack, and wood chips. Follow the same steps mentioned earlier, ensuring proper ventilation to release excess smoke.

How long can I store hot smoked trout?

Hot smoked trout can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If properly vacuum-sealed and frozen, it can last for several months.

In Conclusion

Hot smoking trout at home is a rewarding and sustainable way to enjoy this delicious fish. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create mouth-watering hot smoked trout dishes that will impress your family and friends. Experiment with different recipes and techniques to discover your favorite flavors. Enjoy the process and savor the delightful taste of homemade hot smoked trout!

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