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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day: A food blog entry

first of all, happy Fathers Day to all of you lucky enough to have that distinction.

next, what do you do for Fathers Day? for me, as for almost any event, i like to get friends and family together, and cook a ton of food. this year, i have a mess of trout from my trip to Eastern Oregon a couple of weeks ago, and 4 racks of ribs. the ribs are smoked over a mesquite, hickory, and apple chip smoke. did them first, then smoked the trout over mesquite and alder. for reference, here's what the ribs look like. they will be finished off on the grill with a light saucing to warm them through just before we eat.
smoked ribs

Food blog: Mesquite and Alderwood smoked rainbow trout
ingredients:
  • couple of trout like these.
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (spanish if available, because i'm a snob that way)
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 cups of shredded wood chips. mesquite and alder were my choices today. soak in a ziplok bag full of water for at least 1/2 an hour before use


instructions:
mix all the dry ingredients together.
wash and pat dry the fish. place the fish on a big enough piece of plastic wrap to make a neat rolled package.
pack the fish with the dry rub, top, bottom and if whole, inside. i filleted one fish, and left the other whole.
tightly wrap the fish in the film. i made two packages, with the fillets facing each other skin side out, and a whole fish in the other. place in a pan big enough to hold it, and stick in the fridge for at least 8 hours, 12 is better.
when you are ready to go, remove the fish, and rinse well to remove the dry rub and salt. all the flavor you want is now in the fish. failing to rinse will provide you with tasty tasty salt. way too much salt. so don't forget the rinse step.
leave the fish out, uncovered for at least 1/2 an hour while getting the smoker ready to go. this allows the meat to develop a protein film on the surface that's a must for properly smoked fish.
once everything's ready, toss the fish on, add a cup of wood chips, and leave everything alone for 1/2 an hour. since i now use an electric smoker for most of the smoking duties around here, this is easier than hell. no tending the coals, erratic heating or any of that malarkey. i added a couple cups of water to the water pan, just to bring the level back up. i left the pan alone after smoking 4 racks of ribs. the fat and juice that dripped down during that process is just free flavor for the fish, as far as i'm concerned. then add 1 cup of chips, and repeat again in 1/2 an hour. your fish should be perfectly smoked in around 1 1/2 hours. more if the wind is blowing and it's cold outside, but Vacaville was nice last night, so it only took 1 1/2 hours.
if you don't have a smoker, this is still doable. using a charcoal grill (i've only done this with a 35 year old weber, which is still my go to bbq) is okay too, but the cooking time is a little shorter. place an aluminum pan to one side on the coal grate. this will be the drip and liquid pan. make a couple of heat baffles out of aluminum foil that reach from the grill down to the coal grate. do this by folding a piece of foil a couple of thicknesses, that stretch from the outer diameter of the grill to the center rod that runs down the middle of the grill. takes about 20 seconds. doing this will help keep the fish from cooking too fast from the direct heat of the coals. start about 25 coals in a chimney starter, then place on the grate. pour a couple cups of liquid into the aluminum pan. i like using a nice Chardonnay or pinot gris, but any white will work. or just use water. add about 1/3 of your chips on the coals, toss the fish over the aluminum pan, and walk away for 1/2 an hour. repeat the wood chip thing a couple of times over the next hour to hour and a half. the fish is ready when you can separate the meat in flakes.
pull and cool. then enjoy!
smoked trout
as a side note, i'd like to point out that the fish are sitting on a big serving platter. it's almost not big enough. those were some monster rainbows.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

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