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24 hours or so to go for Smoked Trout

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Had some brown trout that I caught up at Grindstone back in June vac packed in the freezer so I decided to thaw them out in the fridge and get them ready for the brine.  I'm using my Up North Fish Brine for this.  I am making a addition this time for a little experiment using a teaspoon of cure #1.  Want to give the flesh of the trout a little color plus the cure does enhance flavor a bit as well.  Normally I use one tablespoon for Pop's brine for pork items like Canadian bacon and most folks don't use cure #1 for smoked fish so I'm guessing at the one teaspoon.  Was going to go two tsp. but we will see the results with one first.  Here is my Up North Fish Brine for those that have not seen it on my blog.


1 gallon of cold water

1 cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of pickling salt

1/8 th cup of black pepper

2 T of diced garlic [I use the stuff in jars]

7 bay leaves

2 T onion powder

1 tsp cure #1  [this is a add-on to the recipe so I'll let you know the results after I smoke the trout]

Mix all the ingredients in the water and mix well.


Here are the dry ingredients.  I used dry onion flakes instead of powder this time because I thought I had some onion powder but that's what I get for thinking.  Flakes should do the job. Heck if I notice the difference for the better I'll go with them.


Trout are in the brine.  All brown trout.  Biggest was around 20 inches.  I'll post some pics when the smoking is done.  good luck.

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24 hours for these trout.  Doesn't mean that's what's needed.  I'm trying a new method so we will see.   Whole fish take longer than fillets.  It's all about thickness on fillets also.  JPZ,  Ya, I think we got the same deal.  I use this one for fish only.  Don,  you'll have to come this year to the Grindstone GTG.  Didn't have one last year, but I will this year.  Polish and my German kraut will be there.  I'll post the results when done.  Smoking tomorrow.  good luck.

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This is the only brine I use on any fish.  I've used it on white bass, rainbow, lakers, browns, loopers, and even smelt.  The only thing different this time is that I used the one tsp of cure#1.  They are in the smoker now.  Most brines are pretty close the same with the brown sugar and salt which is basic.  I add the rest according to my tastes and this one works out for me.  Salt and brown sugar on it's own works for a lot of people, but more and more I see spices added.  I've been thinking of adding some crushed red peppers next time I do one fish.  Got a 4 pound laker in the freezer for that experiment.  good luck.

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Well they are out of the smoker!..Took about 4 1/2 hours.  I made sure the trout were dry to the touch or as we like to say formed a pellicle.  Sometimes it has a sticky texture to the touch.  Same thing with if you are smoking Canadian bacon and other smoked goodies.  I went shopping during the drying time.  I started the temp of the smoker out at 130 then bumped it up to 140 after about two hours.  Then to 160 for another hour and finally up to 200 to finish them off until the internal went to 150.  I used cherry chips for smoke.  Had smoke on them pretty much  the whole time.  Here are some of the pics.  I haven't tasted them yet because I'm going to let them cool and then put them in the fridge for a overnight stay.  Then tomorrow I will give one a taste and the rest will go in the freezer in vac pak.:



Some of the browns drying out to form a pellicle.



Nice color from that smoke is getting formed.



Yes they are done.



Nice color and I'll let them cool for awhile before putting them in the fridge for the night.  Report tomorrow with the taste test. good luck.

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So far without taking the taste test I can tell the color of the flesh has that slight reddish color which is what I'm looking for.  i like to let the fish rest overnight and get nice and cold before I taste it as far as smoked fish are concerned.  Hard to do but the burgers will take care of that tonight.  good luck.

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Results are in!!  I could tell the difference with the cure.  You can see the slight pink color from the cure and the flavor was as good as ever.  Cheers, Yes i do rinse the fish with fresh cold water after taking the trout out of the brine.  Just a quick rinse is all. I don't go anal about it like rubbing it while rinsing, just a quick rinse under the tap.  Will do this again when trout opener opens in mid January for inland stream trout lakes.  Grindstone will be my spot.



Nice color.  Pay's to open up the cavity with tooth picks so the smoke goes in better.




You can see the pink color from the cure.  Cure also enhances the flavor of what is being brined.  good luck.

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I will have to try adding some cure next time to my brine.  Do you feel like you had the right amount of cure?

I had some smoked rainbow trout up on the Gunflint this summer that a guy shared with us and his had that pink color so I assume he used the cured as well.  I liked it better than the rainbows I smoked without the cure a few weeks back.

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So, I've always filleted my trout rather than leaving whole. Any advantage to this?


BTW, these look really good.  You'll probably see me up on Grindstone this winter.


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I didn't want to go overboard with cure so the one tsp was a safe bet since I use a full tablespoon for pork items.  Next time for rainbows and browns of this size I will go with the one tsp.   I don't think one and a half tsp. would be bad either.  Heck I may try that but not more than that with a gallon of water with fish this size.  My brother will be bringing me soon whole salmon from the streams of Lake Michigan.  Last time I made the salmon steaks for him not using cure.  This time I will.  He likes thick pieces so I will be using 2 tsp of cure on those for a 24 hr. brine.

Don, with these fish I believe that the meat stays more moist leaving them whole.  The only disadvantage to this is that you have to deal with the bones, but I can deal with that.  Fillets would have a shorter brine time though.  Great hope to see you there.   good luck.

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