- 3 whole trout, heads removed, split and trimmed
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and place the filets skin side down.
Mix the salt and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle each filet on both sides liberally with about 11/2 tablespoons of the salt-sugar mixture, lighter at the tail as it’s thinner and cures quicker. Drizzle each filet with honey. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 4 hours.
Remove from the refrigerator and lightly rinse the filets. Also rinse and line the baking sheet with fresh plastic wrap. Dry the filets with a paper towel and return to the tray skin side down.
Grind fresh black pepper across each filet and press lightly. Refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the grill or smoker with a small amount of charcoal (10-12 briquettes). For slower smoking maintain 140º-160°—checking to add soaked chips or sawdust every 15 minutes to ensure adequate smoke. For hotter, shorter smoking maintain 180º-200°. Trout can be smoked 1 hour for a light smoke and up to 4 hours for a darker, heavier smoked flavor using wood such as apple, peach, grapevine, maple, cherry or hickory.
The fish should reach 145° at the end of smoking. It should have a shiny, dark appearance and be firm to the touch.