Smoked trout with simple dry rub – one of the easiest most delicious things you’ll ever cook.
Smoked salmon gets a lot of love, and I get it, but smoked trout is sooooo much better in my very humble opinion.
Trout is readily available, similar in appearance and texture, and just as easy to cook as salmon. Trout, especially steelhead tends to have a bit more flavor, which allows it to hold up well against spices with some bite including mustard seeds and the coarse black pepper.
My smoked trout recipe is basically a converted baby back ribs recipe. I know it sounds crazy, but yes my rib rub recipe actually works better on fish! What’s even better is the fact that my laziness is responsible for this masterpiece. It was a Friday, I didn’t have no job, wasn’t in the mood to cook, but didn’t want to eat out. I just wanted to sit, think, drink my whiskey and have a good time doing nothing over some good blues. I had about two hours to kill before the family was home so I rubbed my trout the right way, then laid her in the smoker, put my feet up and sipped some of that good old “Texas Tea”. No prep, no cooking, just rub, set, and wait!
The spice rub I use is really coarse and grainy. I’m a texture guy, so I love using semi crushed seeds and peppercorns especially when it comes to slow smoked meats and seafood which renders them moist and soft. The smoked trout rub is actually pretty simple – coarse black pepper, kosher salt, crushed fennel seed, mustard seeds, and Aleppo peppers. Not only do these combined contribute to the wonderful flavor and texture, but visually they make the smoked trout pop; the red, black, and green from the Aleppo, black pepper, and fennel respectively present contrasting colors. The Aleppo add some sweetness that balances the peppery bite from the mustard seeds and peppercorns.
Smoked Trout Cooking/Meal Planning Tips
- Let the trout reach room temperature before cooking
- Use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices. Otherwise using a hard surface pound them lightly with the blunt side of a hard object.
- Buy quality fish! Not even a killer spice rub and big smoke can save bad ingredients
- Use a grill pan for the fish and spray with oil beforehand. Grill pan helps to ensure the fish stays intact. If you don’t have a grill basket/fish pan use a big spatula.
- Make sure your grates are clean before cooking the fish
- This dish works well grilled too if you don’t have the time or want less smokiness. See Cedar Plank Grilled Trout recipe for a grilled example which is more of a high heat recipe.
Smoked Trout Special Equipment Needs
I used a vegetable/seafood grill pan when making this recipe. It makes it easy to handle the fish and prevent separation/breakage when moving. Alternatively, you can use a wide spatula for similar purpose. It’s wide enough to easily move the fish while keeping it intact fully. I keep both on hand for those days when I’m grilling both fish and seafood and wish to keep them separate.
If you make this easy smoked trout recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
Dope beats, fresh eats, best life. Enjoy this simple, easy and delicious smoked trout for a great Summer bbq or night on the grill.
- 1 lb steelhead trout
- 1 tbsp oilive oil
- 1 tsp Black pepper coarse grain
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 tsp Aleppo Pepper
Prepare grill/smoker for indirect heat at 225 degrees.
Make rub by coarsely grinding the spices. Use a mortar and pestle, coffee/spice grinder, or just crack on a hard surface with a blunt object
Let trout reach room temperature. Brush with olive oil and then rub dry spice mix all over the fish.
Place fish skin side down in the smoker on an oil sprayed seafood pan. Alternatively use an oiled napkin and wipe on the grill grates to avoid the fish skin sticking.
Smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check the internal temperature after an hour. 125 degrees is ideal for you to remove from the grill/smoker. This will help you avoid drying the fish out and as you allow it to rest the fish will eventually reach FDA level (140-145 degrees) doneness.
Salmon is a perfectly suitable alternative to trout.