Smoking steelhead can be as difficult or as easy as you make it. And after several days of reeling in monster steelheads, weathering the cold and roughing it alongside the river, easy starts sounding pretty nice.
In this recipe from avid steelhead angler Steve Huffaker, the preparation comes down to a simple dry brine and a refrigerator, making it one of the easiest smoked steelhead recipes out there.
Quick & Easy Smoked Steelhead
Fillet steelhead the same way you would salmon, preserving as much meat you can. Leaving the skin on will help retain as much moisture as possible during the smoking process.
Once you have your fillets ready, it’s time to prepare the brine. While some like to combine the ingredients with water, it’s not needed for this recipe. Simply combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix them up with your hand and apply it generously to the fillets as you layer them in a cooking dish.
Apply more brine around the thicker parts of the fillet and less on the thinner parts. You can spice it up however you want, but ground cloves and white pepper is about all you need.
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
Cover your fillets and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight where they’ll soak in their own juices and absorb the spices.
The next morning, wash the fillets off with water and let them air dry for 2 hours. This will form a tacky pellicle on the surface of the meat and it will help retain moisture.
Smoking The Steelhead Fillets
Spray or apply oil to the smoker racks to keep the fish from sticking and place the fish on them skin side down.
Cold Smoke at the lowest possible temperature for 3 hours using Alder, Hickory or your choice of Bradley Bisquettes. Then, over a 2 hour period, gradually increase the temperature up to 170°F.
Continue to smoke at 170°F for 2 hours, being careful not to surpass 170°F or the texture of the fish will change to that of over-cooked fish. Judge doneness by examining appearance, feel and smell. If needed, use a food thermometer to check internal temp. When it reaches 140°F, it’s done.
Let the fish cool at room temperature for an hour. Then refrigerate uncovered, overnight. The next morning, the fish can be wrapped in plastic food wrap or put in plastic bags. Devour at will.
This recipe can be used for both steelhead and salmon. Give it a try, using some of your own favorite spices, and let us know how it turns out! We always look forward to hearing from you.
Bradley Smoker is a maker of high quality food smoking products, Bisquettes and food smoking recipes. The above image is not our own.