Home-smoked ocean trout


  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Lady Grey or Chinese green tea
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground star-anise (optional)
  • 6 ocean trout fillets (approx 100g per fillet)


This recipe can be adapted for various foods. Oysters will only need two minutes in the smoker and then a few more to rest. Kangaroo can be seared on a hot grill and then given 10 minutes in the smoker, off the heat so it doesn't dry out. Hot-smoked ocean trout or salmon is ideal for kedgeree.


Line the base of the smoking vessel with three layers of foil.

To make the smoking mixture, mix together the sugar, tea and star-anise (if using) and set aside.

To prepare the fish, place baking paper over a rack. Arrange the fillets on the rack, leaving a little space between each one. Pierce a few small holes in the paper if the rack is crowded. Set aside while you heat the smoking mixture (refrigerate fish if not using immediately).
Sprinkle the base of the smoker with smoking mixture. Put the smoker over high heat until the mix starts to burn and bubble and wisps of smoke start to appear. Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid to keep the smoke inside.

Quickly remove the lid and put the rack of fish into the smoker. Pop the lid back on and smoke the fish for 6–8 minutes, depending on how well you like it cooked. Remove the smoker from the heat and allow fish to rest for 5 minutes before taking off the lid. Test the thickest part of the fish to see how well it is cooked, remembering that thinner parts will be more thoroughly cooked. The flesh should be opaque with an amber colouring around the edges.

If the fish requires further cooking, wrap in foil and return to the heat for a few minutes to cook through – it will have had enough time in the smoker for the smoky flavour to permeate, and the foil will help keep it moist.
Serve immediately with the skin on. If you are using the fish for pasta or salad dishes or a traditional kedgeree, wait until the fish is cool enough to handle before breaking up the flesh, removing and discarding the skin.
Cook's note: if well cleaned, the fish skin is edible (it's my favourite part!); however, it is not suited to everyone's taste. Remove the skin only after the fish is cooked, as the skin helps to keep the fillet from breaking up during cooking, and keeps the fish moist.
Cook's tip: I find a wok is the easiest vessel for home smoking, but it must have a close-fitting lid that sits high enough over the food rack. A round cake cooling rack is ideal. As with any domestic smoking, be aware that the process may trigger smoke detectors, so I recommend you cook outside. A wok burner on the barbecue is ideal, or put a wok ring over the grill area to keep the wok steady. It may take a little longer to heat up as it is further away from the heat.

This recipe appeared in the post Where there's smoke ... on January 31, 2013.

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