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Recipe for cure prior to smoking trout

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I was lucky enough to catch 3 trout on the weekend - 1 brown trout about 750g and 2 small trout (1 brown & 1 rainbow) about 300g.

The smaller two trout I plan to smoke.

I have a smoker, but have never smoked a trout before. My research indicates you should soak the trout in a cure that could contain a mixture of :






However, I'd rather use a recipe that someone has had success with. Any ideas? How long to soak in cure? Wash or not? How long to dry before smoking?



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I'm not convinced trout needs all those other flavourings - you'll get a very good product with trout, water and salt. You can dress or season at table - some lemon juice & ground pepper; a plain, garlic or herb mayonnaise; etc.

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The smaller two trout I plan to smoke.

I have a smoker, but have never smoked a trout before. ...

Curing aside (for the moment), think about the smoking.

What sort of smoking do you intend? Hot or cold?

Hot smoke will cook the fish (in about 20 minutes or so), while cold smoking for some hours (from 1 to 12 maybe, depending on your cold smoking setup) will give you something rather like cold-smoked salmon ("Lox").

Its a job for a plain straightforward wood, like oak, beech or alder. Something like mesquite would be an insult to the fish.

I'd suggest you cure in a simple but strongish (and definitely cold) brine for less than half an hour. There's not much thickness of flesh for the cure to penetrate.

Then allow to dry properly to give a sticky surface - the 'pellicle' - which helps to hold the smoke, before you go anywhere near the smoke. Airflow is good for the drying, but do beware insects!

The brine? Something like 1 weight of salt (honestly, it doesn't need to be special), to about 5 weights of water. If your tastes are American, you might add sugar, up to about half a weight ... I'd suggest a brown sugar for preference.

Only difficulty is getting that much salt to dissolve quickly. Warming with stirring is the easy way - but you have to then cool it down again before adding the fish.

You shouldn't need much brine, just enough to cover. Probably no more than a pint.

The easy way to do the curing (and with minimal brine) is to put the fish and brine in a plastic bag ... and in the fridge.

I'd fillet before curing. The smoke won't attach to or penetrate skin nearly as well as exposed flesh. So, expose that flesh!

For cold smoking, I'd do the job properly and carefully remove any residual bones (thinking ahead to slicing).

For hot smoking, I'd probably just remove the backbone and open out the whole fish.

Either way, I'd leave the skin on, to help hold the flesh together (during slicing for cold-smoked, and cooking and handling with hot-smoked).

And even hot-smoked, I'd prefer to eat it cold. Blether's suggestion of a herby mayonnaise is a good pointer.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you'll enjoy your trout!

Edited by dougal (log)

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