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Old 11-05-2010, 07:10 PM   #1
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Taste comparison between rainbow and steelhead

I've taken a quasi-serious interest in grilling fish on the grill in the last year. I've done several different types, and all of them have come out delicious.

I've been in Kroger a few different times, and the people behind the counter swear that rainbow trout and steelheads are different fish. I've never done a side-by-side on steelhead and rainbow trout and wonder if there is any difference in the taste. I'd see why one would taste saltier than the other due to spawning and salt/freshwater. Anyone know if there's a distinction in taste?

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Old 11-05-2010, 07:16 PM   #2
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Steelhead is more like salmon in flavor and pinkish in color.
Trout is milder and lighter in color.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meandthem View Post
Steelhead is more like salmon in flavor and pinkish in color.
Trout is milder and lighter in color.
4meandthem is correct, as well as the water where they are found.

Steelhead (Salmo gairdneri irideus) are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and coast of Alaska, and they are otherwise known as the Coastal Rainbow trout (world record of 42 lbs.) whereas Common Rainbow Trout (Salmo gairdneri gairdneri) (World record of 27 lbs.) location of origin are the Rocky Mountains (although now they are bred and released into most fresh waters of all North America and Canada.)

Chinook Salmon, otherwise known as King Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) (World record 97 lbs.) is a distant, distant cousin but has a stronger flavor, presumably because of its at-sea diet high in crab, which also gives it that strong pinkish color.

I love fly fishing! As a matter of fact, it's the only kind of fishing I do any more. Trout and fish of the trout family are my favorites to eat!
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:06 PM   #4
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I grew up eating wild trout but now I much prefer anything out of the sea.I don't know why? Maybe because I would rather fish the ocean.Maybe just tired of it.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meandthem View Post
I grew up eating wild trout but now I much prefer anything out of the sea.I don't know why? Maybe because I would rather fish the ocean.Maybe just tired of it.
I seem to prefer salt water fish too. I absolutely detest the taste of cooked salmon, but the sushi is okay and the smoked or gravad versions are wonderful. I wonder if trout is good smoked or gravad.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:57 PM   #6
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give me a mountain stream in the quiet of the mountains where mothing makes loud noise and let me catch med sized rainbows. Clean and cook in a cast iron pan in veggie oil with potatoes amd onions heaven.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:49 AM   #7
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Bump!

I'm bumping this because one of this week's recipes I have to test drive for the photoshoot involves steelhead trout. From what I've read, the flesh is pinker than freshwater rainbow trout, even though steelhead and rainbow are the same species and if the two mate, some will go out to sea, the others will stay in fresh water. Is the flesh that noticeably pinker like salmon?

As it would happen, rainbow trout are on special this week at several locations...wondering if anyone would notice the difference in a photo? Only the photographer and I taste-test the recipes.I am trying to keep the ingredients costs down. Rainbow trout is more economical this week than steelhead is so wondering if anyone would really notice if I used rainbow trout for the photoshoot. Also, steelhead has to be shipped in from the west coast or Alaska. I really do not like fish that has not been frozen on the boat if it is coming from either coast...I've eaten a lot of lake trout, but not a lot of rainbow trout. I am fussy about lake trout--I prefer it dry smoked and snuck the 6-12 mo old frozen lake trout in my mom's freezer out to the dump...it smelled very, very fishy. I don't do fishy. If we didn't smoke the day's catch, we poached it.

I haven't received the recipe, yet. I do know it involves 3 lemons, 1 lime, an orange. Quinoa, a shallot, and parsley and a 5 oz fillet/person. I suspect it will be grilled...wondering if I can get away with rainbow trout for the photos...
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:54 AM   #8
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they are very different looking. steelhead could easily be mistaken for farm raised salmon (pink with white ribbons of fat), where rainbow trout is much more white-ish looking, more like a cod.

also, steelhead filets or steaks can be much larger. rainbows are smaller. of course, that has something to do with the size of the fish and the way it's cut to start with.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:04 AM   #9
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they are very different looking. steelhead could easily be mistaken for farm raised salmon (pink with white ribbons of fat), where rainbow trout is much more white-ish looking, more like a cod.

also, steelhead filets or steaks can be much larger. rainbows are smaller. of course, that has something to do with the size of the fish and the way it's cut to start with.
Thanks, BT. I figured they'd be fattier (re: the white ribbons). I only need two 5 oz fillets for the shoot and my experience with rainbow trout (notwithstanding the time the Chef at Lake Louise made it special for me and I threw up because the head was still on and I'd been on a diesel bus as a tour guide as the bus did switch backs all day with the light bouncing between the trees and people smoking in the bus--back in the day when that was allowed) is very limited. Once I ran to the bathroom to throw up and the head was removed, it was great. Lake trout from Crow Lake, ON is my experience with trout. I think I hurt the Chef's feelings...I couldn't help it, I wasn't really in the mood to eat but had to go to dinner with the tour guests.
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