Trout is such an underrated fish. It’s hardly fishy and has such a mild, delicate flavor. This makes it perfect for our brine. Our Northwest Forest Brine is forward with spices like juniper, California bay leaf, and fennel; infusing the flaky trout from the inside and out. As if this flavor bomb wasn’t enough, we heat-smoked the trout to make it really taste like the Cascade Mountains. This brine does more than keep our trout juicy, it also helps preserve it making it a delicacy, hot or cold.
- 2 quarts water, boiling
- 8 ounce bag Northwest Forest Brine
- 2 quarts water, cold
- 5lb Steelhead trout filets
- 1 cup Alderwood chips
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Herb Pepper
- 1 teaspoon water
- 3 cup arugula
- 1 cup radish, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Toast of choice
- You will need a brining bag or large container to hold and store the trout for brining. To make the brine, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and add an 8 ounce bag of Northwest Forest Brine. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar in the spice mixture and let the brine sit for 5-10 minutes to release the spice flavors into the brine. Add another 2 quarts of cold water and wait for the brine to return to room temperature. Once cooled, add the 5 pounds of trout and refrigerate. Let the trout sit in the brine for 3 hours. Don't over brine the trout or it will become over salted and that will negatively affect the trout's texture.
- Once brined, discard the brine and pat the trout dry. Lay the trout flesh side up onto sheet trays with cooling racks. Let the trout air dry in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. The drying of the flesh makes for a better texture once smoked.
- Prepare your smoker at 325 degrees. We used local Alderwood chips. Arrange the trout on racks so that the smoke gets evenly distributed. Smoke the trout for 20 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove the trout from the smoker and let them chill completely before removing meat from the skin. Discard the trout skin and store the smoked trout meat in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- In a small bowl add the sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, Lemon Herb Pepper and salt, then whisk until it comes together. If the dressing is a little thick, add a teaspoon of water to adjust consistency. Toss the trout with the dressing to taste. We omitted the salt in the dressing because the trout is already seasoned from the brine.
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Feel free to use any fresh trout available in your area. We always suggest buying local, the fresher the better!
For a tasty salad we dressed the trout in a sour cream-Lemon Herb Pepper dressing. Then we added it atop a mound of peppery arugula for a complete meal. Enjoy it on toast with some thinly sliced radishes!