Wild Game Gourmet: Smoked Trout


Aaron Walters

If you talk to just about anyone in Arkansas, there’s a good chance they’ve eaten fish recently. Fish is readily available in our state, it’s a good protein and it’s served in a lot of restaurants. One variety that’s not quite as common is fresh trout. I’d like to help change that. This recipe is designed for fatty fish weighing five pounds or more. That makes it perfect for your Arkansas cold water trout catch. It’s super delicious and pairs well with a good variety of wines.

Smoked Trout

Prep time 2 hours
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 5 hours

  • 1 whole trout, butterflied (Arkansas Rainbow Trout recommended)

  • ½ cup kosher salt

  • ½ cup spruce or fir tips  NOTE: if not available, substitute fresh rosemary

  • Zest of 2 lemons (options – 2 limes or 1 orange)

1. Salt both sides of the trout. For a five pound fish, you will use the entire ½ cup of salt. Scale the amount of salt up or down according to the size of the trout. Sprinkle the spruce/fir tips (or fresh rosemary) over the meat side of the trout. Fold the trout over so it looks like a whole fish again. Place in a closed container and refrigerate for one hour per pound of fish — 5 pounds = 5 hours.

2. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Put the trout on a cooling rack and return to the refrigerator for several hours (up to a day.)

3. Smoke the trout over your choice of wood. Spruce will give a citrusy flavor. If you don’t have spruce, a combination of rosemary and lemon will give the same citrusy flavor. A slow smoke is preferred. How long to smoke will depend on the size of the trout and heat of the smoke, as well as the doneness you want to achieve. 


Pair your smoked trout with the following wines:

Domaine Laroche Chablis – $28.99

Clear lemon color. A fruity, fragrant nose with hints of ripe white fruit and flowers. Lively on the palate with a mineral accent on layers of white fruit; a fresh finish.

Zull Riesling – Regular $28.99 / Sale $23.99

Fizzing lemon peel and more rounded tangerine unite on the nose but really shine on the palate which is concentrated and fruit-driven with a tangy, mandarin-like richness that sweeps to a clean, joyful finish.

Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone – Regular $16.59 / Sale $12.99

A blend of 62% Grenache, 26 % Syrah, 5% Carignan, 4% Cinsault, 3% Mourvèdre, it is generous, focused, and complete, showing great aromatic typicity in the form of sun-kissed blackberry, black olive, and plenty of spicy garrigue herbs like rosemary and thyme.

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price. Products and prices are subject to change.