Smoked Trout

I rarely barbeque trout caught in the local rivers and streams, especially in summer, because the flavor and texture of the meat seems to diminish with the warmer waters. I prefer to harvest trout from colder water via ice fishing (and ice off-casting in early spring). The meat then is firm, plump, bright orange, and has a sweet, clean flavor. These large lake dwellers are suited for cooking whole in the oven with a favorite stuffing, cooked over hot coals, or simply seasoned and basted with oil.

I freeze and stockpile my winter harvest, and in the spring I take whole fishes to a local independent meat processor and have them cured and smoked. Just skin and remove the fish flesh from the bones, or present it whole and let your friends and guests attack—and they will. Some of my favorite smoked trout recipes include smoked trout pasta with butter sauce or creamy alfredo; smoked trout on crackers with Boursin cheese, capers, tomatoes, and red onion; or a simple trout salad sandwich. But first you have to catch the trout—so get outside and go fishing.

Smoked Trout Salad
2 cups deboned smoked trout
1/3 cup celery
1/3 cup red onion
2 Tbsp. diced tomato
2 Tbsp. diced pickle
2 Tbsp. diced cucumber
2 Tbsp. diced red pepper
1 Tsp. fresh dill weed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
A squeeze of lemon

Season with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt.

Ty Hill has been the owner and chef of John Bozeman's Bistro for 28 years.