¾ cup kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
8 cups lukewarm water
6 whole trout, up to 13 inches long, gutted, gills removed
1 (8-inch) length cotton kitchen twine for each fish, tied into a loop (optional)
Methods for the brine:
In a non-metallic container big enough to hold the fish, combine the salt, both sugars, honey and the water and whisk vigorously to dissolve the ingredients.
Chill the brine. Thoroughly rinse the trout and submerge them in the brine, using a plate to weight them down beneath the surface.
Brine for 6 to 8 hours in the fridge. Discard the brine and rinse the trout again.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and place them on a cooling rack in the fridge until they feel tacky to the touch.
Two or three hours should do it.
If using a chamber smoker with adequate space, consider suspending the trout.
For each fish, place the belly of a loop of twine across the back of its neck and pass the sides of the loop under the fish’s gill covers and then push the knotted end out of the fish’s mouth.
Prepare your smoker and preheat to a temperature of approximately 170°F. Fruit woods such as apple or cherry are ideal. If possible, suspend the trout in the smoker at least 10 inches above the heat source. If not, place them on wire racks so there’s plenty of room between the fish.
Begin checking the fish at around 3 hours. When done, the ends of the tail and other fins will have turned dry and crispy. The skin should easily peel away. It should seem that the flesh would easily slip away from the ribs and spine, leaving bare bones. Remove the fish from the smoker and allow to cool enough that they can be handled comfortably. These trout are best when served within a day or two, though you can wrap them in foil and store in a fridge for a week or so.
For freezing, chill the fish thoroughly and vacuum seal.
Cooking Game: Smoked Trout brought to you by Weston