Chicken and Steelhead Trout (?!) – Modified ECB Smoker

Some of my in-laws were visiting and we wanted to make something more on the healthy side.  And, by that I mean, I didn't want to stay up all night making a pork butt.  So, the original idea was smoked salmon and chicken.  I had never actually smoked fish before and I was eager to do so.  Also, I wanted to try and smoke a chicken at "normal" temp (225F) and then finish it on the grill to see if I could get the skin as crispy as I wanted it.

Well, the Good Food Store didn't have any salmon, if you can believe that.  However, what they did have was Steelhead Trout.  The good news with that is that Steelhead is a fraction of the cost of Salmon.  At least here in Montana it is.  The bad news is that it has quite a few more bones so you have to either a) remove all the pin bones with pliers or b) tell folks to chew carefully.  I did a little from column A and a little from column B.

I made a brine for my Steelhead and let it soak overnight.  I've since done some reading and I think really only 1-2 hours is necessary.  Then you should let it dry out for at least an hour.  This helps it to develop a sort of tougher outer layer.

Now, I would love to cold smoke some fish at 90F but that just isn't possible in an ECB.  (Although, if you've figured it out, please let me know.  I've tried to do cheese at low temps before and it ends up just tasting like black charcoal.)  So, I smoked at my normal temp of 225F and I pulled the fish when it was done.  I don't remember what internal temp that was, but I bet if you google "salmon temperature" (yeah, I know this is Steelhead) you will find out when you should pull it.

I pulled the chicken at 150F and then I moved it inside of the rib rack to my grill where I crisped up the skin.  Here's the photos.

Smoked Chicken (finished on the grill)

Finally got the skin nice and crispy!

Smoked Steelhead Trout

Pretty much like Salmon, only at half the cost.

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