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Old 02-13-2006, 01:03 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Pennsylvania
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Smoked Trout

This past weekend I smoked some rainbow trout. My usual brine for salmon consists of 2 cups Kosher salt, 2 cups brown sugar and 4 gallons of water. I brined the fish for 36 hours. That usually works for salmon fillets but these smaller trout turned out really salty.

My question is too much salt or too much time in the salt?

These fish were smoked in a gas grill with apple wood on the grate over low heat for four hours and not in the charcoal fired unit I usually use.

The fish are salty but not indeible and go well with a red ale I brewed last fall.

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Old 02-13-2006, 02:03 PM   #2
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I thin the fault may not lie with the brine, but rather how long the smaller rainbow trout were in the brine. I do a brined and smoked salmon that I've adapted from a recipe from the Virtual Weber Bullet site, and I only brine the salmon filets for about 90 minutes.

Just my $.02...


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Old 02-13-2006, 04:43 PM   #3
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I agree, it is probably the length of time you left the fish in the brine. When I brine salmon or marinate fish, I do it for a very short amout of time. The flesh is so delicate that it absorbs flavor much faster than say chicken or beef.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:09 PM   #4
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I agree also. Last fall when my husband smoked a bunch of stuff, he used the same brine for the turkey, the pork loin, and some venison loins. The big turkey was not too salty, but the loin was a lot saltier, and the venison loins were very salty. HB and I decided that the smaller meats needed less time.
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:41 PM   #5
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How long did you dry it for? The longer you dry it for, the more the saltiness will come out.

However, I think that the amount of salt in the brine combined with the time in the brine is key. I have dry smoked salmon for many years and put 1/4C of salt into a 1/2 gallon of liquid. The smoke from the wood chips is a preseravtive unto itself and the finished product seldoms lasts a week in my house. I would use more salt if I planned to 1- not keep it in the fridge, 2 - plan to keep it for months.

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Old 02-16-2006, 01:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. More research is needed, and possibly more red ale. I think I'll just use a dry rub on the fish the next time I smoke trout. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:28 AM   #7
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Having smoked smaller trout as well as larger steelhead trout and salmon for more years than I care to remember, I can say that your excessive saltiness was definitely due to the long brining time. Living by Lake Erie and having fresh steelhead available year round, there are many people locally that turn out great smoked trout. They seem to be equally split between brining and using a dry cure. Personally, I've done trout both ways and have found the brined fish to be slightly moister and the dry cured fish to be slightly saltier and to have more flavor from the spices in the cure. Just my $.02 worth, hope it helps......
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:06 PM   #8
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Pensylvania's trout season opens next Saturday, and I will definately have to try smoking trout. I usually grill it whole with lemon, dill and butter in the cavity. I have never brined anything, though I have been meaning to get around to it, so next weekend I will!
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