Smoked Steelhead: Lime Chipotle Style

Recipe contributed by Managing Editor K. Slye.

Not often do we keep the steelhead we catch in Lake Erie’s tributaries in Pennsylvania, but when we do the preferred cooking method is to smoke them.  My Dad caught a few nice fish late this past fall and I’ve been looking forward to smoking them.  I plan to do a different recipe for each fish.  Here is the first, a sweet, spicy, and smoky combination of flavors.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Smoked SteelheadDry Brine:

 

Lime Chipotle Glaze:

  • Honey
  • Lemon or Lime Juice
  • Lemon or Lime Zest
  • Firing Lime Chipotle Seasoning

 

Preparation:

  1. Rinse off and pat dry the fillet and ensure no bones are present – use tweezers or needle nose pliers if necessary to remove any bones.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, kosher salt, and seasoning in a bowl and mix with your hands to evenly distribute all parts, this is the dry brine
  3. In a glass baking dish put down a layer of the dry brine, set fillet on top, then cover fillet with rest of dry brineSmoked steelhead Dry Brine
  4. Use plastic wrap to keep the air out, put a layer down right on top of the brine mixture and a second layer on top of the container.
  5. Let this sit in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours
  6. Take out of the refrigerator and remove fillets from brine, much of the moisture from the fillet will be pulled out which is what you want.  The baking dish will be filled with liquid, which is what was pulled out from the fillet.
  7. Thoroughly rinse the fillet under cold water to remove all of the remaining brine
  8. Pat dry and let air at room temperature on a rack to dry for around 2 hours – this creates a pellicle, the surface of the fish will have a tacky feel.
  9. While the fish is air drying, prep your smoker to get a temperature between 150°F and 175°F, in my case I used a Kamado Joe ceramic dome style cooker. I used apple wood, any mild wood will work, but try to avoid mesquite or hickory for smoking steelhead.  If you like smoking meat and cooking wild game I would highly recommend having a kamado style grill, they are extremely versatile.
  10. When the fish is dried, and the smoker temperature is stabilized, place the fish on the grates of the smoker, be sure to use cooking spray on the grates to avoid sticking.
  11. It does not take fish long to smoke, about 1.5 to 2 hours, so I recommend a meat thermometer that you can leave in, I use the ThermoPro TP20.
  12. While the fish is smoking, mix the ingredients for the citrus honey glaze.
  13. When the fish reaches a temperature of 140°F, open the smoker and brush on a nice layer of the Firing Lime Chipotle glaze. Close the smoker and let is smoke for another 30 minutes or so to get to an internal temperature of 160°F.
  14. Once it reaches the 160°F internal temperature take it off the smoker.  You can eat it just like this or put it on a cracker, either way it will be delicious

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