Summer is just around the corner and that means grilling season will be kicking off, too! But don’t limit yourself to just grilling during the warmer months. Smoking meat is a fun alternative, and with thin rainbow trout fillets you can have a delicious finished product in less than an hour. Here’s how to smoke rainbow trout fillets at home:
- Begin by soaking the wood chips of your choice in water for two hours or overnight. For fish, choose a mild wood chip like apple or alder.
- When ready to grill, make sure the rainbow trout fillets are thawed and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Pour charcoal briquettes under one side of the cooking grate to create a section for indirect heat in the grill. If desired, use a charcoal basket, which holds the coals close together so they burn more slowly. (This same process can be done on a gas grill, adding the wet wood chips into a smoker box and placing the box over a lit burner, or soaked wood chips wrapped up in a foil pouch with holes poked into the pouch.)
- Allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for the coals to burn down to the correct temperature. Do not use lighter fluid on the briquettes or briquettes that have lighter fluid added. This will interfere with the flavor of the trout. You want to achieve a clean smoky flavor indicative of the wood chips.
- Next, drop the damp wood chips onto the coals. Place the rainbow trout fillets on top of the cooking grate on the other side of the grate, not directly over the hot coals. Cover the grill with the lid and smoke for about 30 minutes. Make sure the vent is open all the way. The more the vent is open, the more heat is created. Try not to peek too often, as it will change the temperature in the “smoker”. After 30 minutes, check to see if the trout flakes easily.