There is nothing better than some trout fishing in the mountains of Colorado. Unfortunately I bought this trout at the super market because I didn't have a chance to go fishing.... Soon though, Soon!
I have been making a bunch of fish jerky lately and decided to make some trout jerky instead of my go to salmon jerky. I am living in Colorado now, so rainbow trout is what my local super market had. You can make this out of any kind of salt or fresh water trout though; silver, brown, cutthroat, speckled...
Preparing the Fish:
The first thing you want to do is scale (or de-scale) the trout. This is the process of scraping off all the little scales that cover it's body. These trout already came gutted, but it is not necessary to gut it first. You can use a whole trout, scale it, and then fillet it without gutting.
To scale the trout start by placing it on butcher paper or a cutting board (this will get kinda messy)! I did this in my kitchen with my wife looking over my shoulder making sure none of those little scales were flying on the floor... Sorry L....
Start with a butter knife and scrape the fish from the tail end towards the head. As you can see above, this will scrape off all the little scales. You want to get these off now that way your jerky isn't covered with scales after you take it out of the marinade. Spend some time here and make sure to get off as much as you can from both sides of the fish.
After you have scaled the trout, fillet it so you have two fillets from each fish. Do not cut the skin off after you have filleted the fish, you are going to want to keep the skin on so that the meat stays together during the marinading and drying process.
Cut away the rib bones after filleting leaving only a clean trout fillet. Run your finger from the tail end of the fillet to the head and check for any pin bones. They will be white bones that will feel hard on your fingers. I did have a couple on these trout, although they were not as hard as the ones you find in salmon. Pluck any pin bones out with needle nose plyers and discard. This might not be a problem when filleting salt water trout, I have never had to remove pin bones from speckled or silver trout.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the trout fillets into 1/4" - 1/2" wide strips lengthwise making long skinny strips. Notice that the skin is still on the fish preventing the meat from falling apart. The skin will be kept on throughout the marinating and drying process but can easily be removed right before eating.
Making the Jerky:
After the fillets have been sliced into strips, you are going to marinate it in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours. The marinade I used for this recipe is listed below. It's a simple recipe with some great flavors including cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. TASTY!
After the trout strips have marinated, strain them in a colander and then pat dry on paper towels to remove any excess marinade.
Place the strips in your dehydrator or on a baking rack if you are going to dry in your oven. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator when making this jerky. You can find detailed information on different ways of dehydrating jerky here. After setting my dehydrator to 150°F and drying for 4 hours, this jerky turned out perfect.
The trout jerky had a little bit of a kick to it from the cayenne pepper and chipotle chili powder. It had a nice salty flavor from the kosher salt and that fish flavor you would expect from fish jerky. A little stronger of a fish flavor than salmon jerky, so if you love fish this is your jerky!
- 1 lb trout fillets
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/3 cup water (cold)
- 1/4 tsp curing salt (optional)
- Scale trout fillets with a butter knife scraping from the tail of the fish towards the head removing as many scales as possible.
- Fillet each trout so you have two fillets per fish. Leave the skin on the trout and remove the rib bones and any pin bones. Rinse fish fillets with fresh water.
- Slice trout fillets into 1/4" to 1/2" wide strips lengthwise down the body of the fillet. You should have 4-5" long strips. Remember to leave on the skin, this helps keep the meat together.
- Add ingredients above in a ziplock bag and add trout strips. Carefully mix the strips in the bag so they are evenly covered with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 6-24 hours.
- Peel the skin off the jerky strips and enjoy!
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