Curing trout for cold smoking

Having completed my first test of the cold smoker and finding the smoked trout too hard and salty, I decided to change the approach a bit and that starts with careful curing.

Having caught three reasonable size Rutland Water trout of 2lb to 3lb, I filleted them and put the fillets into the freezer until ready to smoke. I prepared the fillets by removing all rib bones, trimmed fins and edges off. Remember to freeze the fillets laying flat.

When ready to smoke, remove the fillets from the freezer. I tend to do 6 at a time. After defrosting, pin bone the fillets before following the following cure method:

Mix 100g salt + 50g demerara sugar
Sprinkle liberally over both sides of fillets and place in a glass container
Put greaseproof over the fillets and place weighted tupperware containers on top
Leave for 7 hours in a fridge then flip it all over so fish at the bottom is at top, drain water away
Replace greaseproof
Leave for another 7 hours

The fish should be firm and brighter in colour. Rinse in cold water , dry and leave in a fridge for up to 24 hrs to allow the salt to evenly spread through the cells of the fish.


Use Ikea hooks through the tail section of the fillets, double up if needed to stop it breaking off.

Hang by the tail in the smoker and smoke for 10 hours. I kept checking the smoke was still flowing every couple of hours.


When done, slice the fish and remove the skin. Put on plastic plates, in a plastic bag and re-freeze.

I followed the method above for my second smoke and found the results much better. The flavour is less salty and the trout softer. I will post again after a few more attempts!