I have posted on my hot smoked trout on two other occasions, the first one was not so successful, the second one was much better, and now I think I've pretty much nailed it. I changed the cure recipe slightly by adding some cracked black pepper (about a tablespoon) and some crushed juniper berries (about half a tablespoon). The brine for the cure is made up, then once the fish has been filleted, leave in the brine for at least 24 hours. I judge when it is done by feel, it needs to have the firmness that you want from a hot smoked trout, so if its not quite there yet give it another 6-12hours.
Once the brine has done its work, wash the fillet to remove as much of the brine off as possible, otherwise it will be too salty, and do not worry about washing a fish you have just brined as you won't be putting any moisture back into the fish. Once washed, blot off the excess moisture from the surface of the fish with a kitchen paper towel. Place the fillets, uncovered, back into the fridge for at least another 24 hours, if not longer. This does two things, firstly it allows a bit more moisture to leave the fish, and secondly it allows the pellicle, a sticky covering over the fish, to form that will allow the smoke to adhere.
Once the pellicle formed I then hot smoked the trout over oak for about 4 hours. This was more than enough time to take on the smoke flavour, and just enough time to get the fish to the desired texture and 'flakiness', but not tasting too raw.
Once flaked, I first served this straight away on a rye crispbread with cream cheese and some capers, a really simple but effective combination.
And to accompany the smoky trout there had to be a glass of single malt whiskey too!
(This will make enough for four medium to large fillets)
100ml soy sauce
75g dark brown sugar