This recipe is for thick trout fillets that weigh approximately 2 pounds each, and are about an inch thick. If you are brining thinner fillets, reduce the brining time.
This smoked trout makes a great Smoked Trout Spread.
Besides 5 pounds of trout fillets, you’ll need 40 ounces cold water; (1 quart + 1 cup), 1 cup each coarse salt (8 ounces or 227 grams by weight) and brown sugar or maple syrup, 4 ounces of cognac (Not an expensive brand but a good quality cognac). Then add 4 ounces honey, 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh, 1 onion; coarsely chopped and 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped.
- Combine all ingredients, except fish, in a large non-reactive container. Mix well until all the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Place fillets in the brine, making sure that all parts of the fish are submerged. Refrigerate and brine for 18 hours for thick, large fillets; or for thinner fillets 1/2 inch thick or less brine for 5 to 7 hours. Occasionally stir the fish around.
- Remove fish from brine, and quickly rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and allow to air dry for two hours, or until the pellicle is formed.
- Place fillets in a 135°F (57°C) preheated smoker.
- Apply two hours of smoke (preferably apple or cherry) and continue to cook until fillets reach the texture you like. Total smoke/cook time should be 6 to 7 hours.
- Starting at 110°F (43°C), for the first hour
- Increase temperature to 140°F (60°C) for 1 hour
- Finish at 175°F (80°C) until the trout reaches an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C).
- For best results, allow fish to “age” in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This will allow for the smoke and other flavours to fully blend together.
- Fillets will keep refrigerated for two weeks, and at least six months frozen.