Last year we lived in southeast Alaska where we had access to Dolly Varden much of the year. We’ve caught and cooked them many ways over the years, but as much as we ate last year, I was reminded just how good these fish are, especially in spring and summer.
Smaller sized Dollys—or trout of any kind—are great cooked up to serve as single portions but if looking to preserve them to use in a variety of ways, try smoking them. There’s not much to it, simply fillet, brine and smoke. Once fish smokes, it’s even easier to remove the pin bones so it can be eaten fresh from the smoker or prepared for something else. Toss smoked, flaked, Dolly Varden (or trout) into a hot or cold dip, on a salad or pizza or into a favorite pasta dish.
• 4-6 whole Dolly Varden (or trout)
• 6 cups water
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/3 cup kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
• 1 teaspoon granulated onion
Prepare fish by cleaning and scaling. Keep refrigerated until ready to brine. Fillet fish and remove rib bones. In a large glass dish or crock, mix sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and onion until ingredients are dissolved. Add fish to brine and refrigerate 8-10 hours.
Remove fish from brine and let air dry on smoker racks up to one hour. Preheat smoker to 160º-180º. Place racks in smoker, add chips to smoker pan and let smoke 2-4 hours or until fish reaches desired doneness. For a light smoke flavor, use one pan of chips. For a stronger smoke flavor use 2 pans of chips. Remove fish from smoker, keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Vacuum seal and freeze for longer term storage.
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