Grill Smoked Trout make a great appetizer. Smoky, meaty, sweet trout plays well with all sorts of different tasty beverages. It’s easy to make at home, tastes better than store-bought, and will impress your guests. What more can you ask for?
I like to serve it chilled, with crackers, red onions, capers, and sour cream. But smoked trout is not just an appetizer; served warm, it can be the main course; leftovers make the base of a smoked trout spread.
Now, this trout takes a little planning ahead; it needs to brine for a few hours, and then smoke for at least a half an hour on the grill. That’s OK – I work around that by making it way ahead; smoked fish can be made up to two days ahead of time. It tastes great cold, straight out of the refrigerator, or at room temperature, if it has time to warm up.
One more thing – usually, when I cook fish, I want medium-rare to medium doneness – just the slightest hint of translucence in the middle. Not with smoked fish – I want to cook it all the way through, filling it with a smoky flavor. That’s another advantage to this recipe – the cooking time is very forgiving.
Recipe: Grill Smoked TroutPrint
Grill Smoked Trout, a fancy appetizer from the kettle grill in your own backyard.
- 2 trout, filleted
- 1 fist-sized wood chunk or 1 cup wood chips (oak and hickory are my favorite wood flavors)
- 1 quart water
- 2 tablespoons table salt (4 tablespoons diamond crystal kosher salt)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Accompaniments for appetizer style trout
- Paper thin sliced red onions
- Sour cream
- Brine the trout, soak the wood: In a large bowl, stir salt and brown sugar in the water, then wait for the salt and sugar to dissolve, about five minutes. Add the trout fillets and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours. While the trout is brining, soak the smoking wood in water.
- Set the grill up for indirect medium-low (300°F): Set the grill up for cooking on indirect medium-low heat. For my Weber kettle, I fill a chimney starter half full of charcoal (about 50 coals), light it, and pour it in a tight pile on one side of the grill. Then I drain my wood chunk and put it on top of the charcoal.
- Make a foil tray for the trout: While the grill is preheating, take the trout out of the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Double up a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to use as a tray, a little wider than you need for all four pieces of trout, and lay the trout fillets on the foil skin side down.
- Grill smoke the trout: Drain the smoking wood and add it directly to the coals. Carefully slide the tray of trout onto the grill grate, as far away from the lit coals as possible. Close the lid. (If you have a kettle grill, rotate the lid until the vent is directly over the trout to pull the smoke over the fish.) Cook with the lid closed until the fish is thoroughly cooked and browned from the smoke, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Serve: Serve immediately, or (my preferred method) chill the smoked trout first. To chill, move the foil tray of trout to a sheet pan, let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve, scrape the trout fillet away from the skin with a spatula – the skin will stick to the foil. Serve with the accompaniments.
- Why aluminum foil? Because it’s easier to get the smoked fish on and off the grill that way; there’s no chance of sticking.
- If you’re serving straight from the grill as a main course, skip the foil; wipe the grill grate clean with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil, then lay the fish directly on the grate, skin side down.
- And…is it fillet, or filet? I’m going with fillet; I think of filet as a cut of beef from the tenderloin (filet mignon), and fillet as the deboned side of a piece of fish. (As in fillet o’ fish. Wait…bad example.)
- Grill (I love my Weber kettle)
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: American
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Steven Raichlen, How To Grill
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