Honey Smoked Trout
I’ve always loved the salty-sweet flavors that you get from a 50/50 salt and sugar cure mixture. Add a little honey and black pepper and you have something that can be eaten straight out of the smoker with a glass of Semi-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Smoked Trout: it’s a spread, it’s a filling, it’s a dip or better yet, a simple delicious snack all on its own.
- 3 whole trout heads removed, split and trimmed
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons pepper freshly ground
- Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and place the filets skin side down.
- Mix the salt and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle each filet on both sides liberally with about 11/2 tablespoons of the salt-sugar mixture, lighter at the tail as it’s thinner and cures quicker. Drizzle each filet with honey. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 4 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and lightly rinse the filets. Also rinse and line the baking sheet with fresh plastic wrap. Dry the filets with a paper towel and return to the tray skin side down.
- Grind fresh black pepper across each filet and press lightly. Refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare the grill or smoker with a small amount of charcoal (10-12 briquettes). For slower smoking maintain 140º-160°—checking to add soaked chips or sawdust every 15 minutes to ensure adequate smoke. For hotter, shorter smoking maintain 180º-200°.
- Trout can be smoked 1 hour for a light smoke and up to 4 hours for a darker, heavier smoked flavor using wood such as apple, peach, grapevine, maple, cherry or hickory.
- The fish should reach 145° at the end of smoking. It should have a shiny, dark appearance and be firm to the touch.
Brud Holland is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute and lives in Watkins Glen with his wife Shari and 3 kids. Having been part of the food and wine scene here in the Finger Lakes for 30+ years, he draws on experiences from a wide variety of culinary escapades that include bakery owner, restaurateur, food product developer, teacher and genuine promoter of all things grown and made in the Finger Lakes. This recipe is from our upcoming March/April 2015 issue, hitting newsstands soon! For another recipe from that issue, click here.