Author Topic: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?  (Read 16641 times)

Offline Eastkootenaysmoker

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Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« on: September 08, 2014, 06:43:18 pm »
So, ....have had good success smoking salmon using Kummock's formula and decided to smoke a few small trout caught in local streams.  Used same brine as for the salmon but was careful not to brine the filets too long (4 hrs) as they are a lot thinner than a salmon.  Then got in a bit of a rush and asked the missus to take them out for me and pat dry and set out to dry and form a pellicle.  Seems I forgot to mention that the filets shaould be rinsed well before patting dry:(  So now they are in the smoker, ....and looking good, but tasting seems they are VERY salty.  Is there any way to save them?  I'm afraid they might be ruined.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2014, 10:05:28 pm »
I am not aware of any way you can reduce the saltiness of the fish.  But even if it's too salty to be eaten straight, you may be able to use it in some recipes.

Being a lazy guy, I choose brining times which don't involve any wiping or rinsing off the brined fish.  I just grab the fish out of the brine and slap it on the smoker racks.  This is easier, and by reducing the number of steps and variables, it produces more consistent smoked fish.

I also adjust all of the brine recipes I use to produce a brine which is 60 degrees salometer.  This greatly reduces the amount of trial and error required to produce smoked fish with a desirable degree of saltiness.  If a particular kind and thickness of fish tastes good after 1.5 hours of brining in one 60 degree salometer brine recipe, then that kind and thickness of fish will also usually taste good after 1.5 hours of brining in a different 60 degree salometer brine recipe.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 11:20:13 pm by pmmpete »

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 01:37:32 am »
I'm not sure if it works, but one member over brined his salmon. What he reported that worked for him, was soaking the cooked salmon in water to draw out some salt, and it didn't affect the texture. I didn't think reverse osmosis would work on cooked meat, but he claimed it worked. Maybe the soaking got rid of enough salt near the surface to make the meat palatable. It might be worse a shot to try it on a small sample.


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Offline Eastkootenaysmoker

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 05:50:57 pm »
Thanks guys, ...appreciate the replies.  Based on your suggestions I'm going to try a couple of things. I WILL try soaking a small sample to see if that reduces the saltiness.  I think a salometer will be a good future investment too, .....and I like the lazy (or I could call it simpler) method suggested, so will try that too.

In any case, ...even if it is too salty for my liking, ...I know I can share it around at work, ....by the time everybody tastes a sample, ...it will be gone, ....too salty or not!!

Offline pmmpete

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 08:54:04 pm »
For a more detailed explanation of how I standardize the salt concentration in the brine recipes I use, see my posting in http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=33157.msg387368#msg387368 , Reply #6.

Offline T.Dubya

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 09:51:19 am »
Just had this problem on the weekend. I have tried soaking with not much luck. I am going to try and vaccum seal the trout tonight with a slice of bread in the bag for a day or two and see if it will soak up some of the salt... The salometer sounds like a good investment in the future!




Offline pmmpete

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 02:37:36 pm »
You may need to write off this batch of smoked fish to experience.  The good news is that once you figure out how to use a particular brine recipe with a particular kind of fish, you can consistently produce good results.  The bad news is that some trial and error and less-than-great batches of smoked fish may be required to figure out how to produce excellent smoked fish.  Each time you make a batch of smoked fish, be sure to keep notes on the recipe you used, the kind of fish you smoked, how long you soaked the fish in the brine, and the temperature/smoke/time schedule you used when smoking the fish, so you don't repeat your mistakes.  And consider standardizing the salt concentration in your brine recipes, as described in the posting I referred to earlier in this thread, as that will greatly reduce the amount of trial and error required to produce good smoked fish.


Offline dave01

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 02:52:43 pm »
your fish should still be good for making fish dip

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 04:37:28 pm »
EKS, I would use it in smoked fish chowder. Make a batch without any added salt. After making, put it in the fridge overnight to let some of the salt disperse into the chowder base. It's better the second day anyway. Then you can season with more salt if need be. Perfect season for comfort food like chowder.
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Offline pmmpete

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 06:22:50 am »
Seems I forgot to mention that the filets shaould be rinsed well before patting dry.
When I smoke fish, I don't rinse the fillets and/or pat them dry after I brine them.  I just pull them out of the brine and plop them on my smoker racks to form a pellicle.  This is partly because I'm lazy.  There are plenty of steps involved in smoking fish already, and rinsing and patting dry would be two more steps.  But a better reason not to rinse and pat dry is that it adds more elements of variability to the smoking process.  How much did you rinse the fish?  How dry did you pat them?  You'll be able to produce good smoked fish more consistently if you leave out those steps.

Offline scubadoo97

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2014, 06:29:48 am »

Seems I forgot to mention that the filets shaould be rinsed well before patting dry.
When I smoke fish, I don't rinse the fillets and/or pat them dry after I brine them.  I just pull them out of the brine and plop them on my smoker racks to form a pellicle.  This is partly because I'm lazy.  There are plenty of steps involved in smoking fish already, and rinsing and patting dry would be two more steps.  But a better reason not to rinse and pat dry is that it adds more elements of variability to the smoking process.  How much did you rinse the fish?  How dry did you pat them?  You'll be able to produce good smoked fish more consistently if you leave out those steps.

What % brine do you use?  I use a 10% brine most often

To the salty fish, I 2nd salmonsmoker's advice and use in a soup/chowder. Maybe even a fish spread if the salt can be cut enough with the other ingredients.




Offline Eastkootenaysmoker

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2014, 07:00:13 am »
Thanks everyone!  It's wonderful to see so much interest and so many great suggestions.  I will certainly remember to try a chowder if it happens to me again.  After reviewing all the ideas you folks provided, ...I realize that I have a ways to go to be able to get consistently good results.  So many variables and so little lifetime to learn about them all!! 
I have'nt had the smoker going for a couple months now as we just sold our house and moved to a different one, ...so too darned busy to do any smoking.  However, ....as soon as I get get the smoke rolling again, I want to get a bit more precise with the brining and use a salometer as suggested, ....produce a consistent brine, ....then vary the brining times according to fillet size. Have not seen a salometer anywhere near here where I live. (small town living is wonderful but you sacrifice on having all the variety of stuff readily available)  Is there a recommended unit available on line somewhere?

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2014, 07:27:14 am »
EKS, you could also switch to a dry brine. Then it simply becomes a ratio of salt to the other dry ingredients, and time in the brine.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
Teach him how to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2014, 08:14:47 am »
I want to get a bit more precise with the brining and use a salometer as suggested, ....produce a consistent brine, ....then vary the brining times according to fillet size. Have not seen a salometer anywhere near here where I live. (small town living is wonderful but you sacrifice on having all the variety of stuff readily available)  Is there a recommended unit available on line somewhere?
You can buy Salometers from a number of different companies on line.  But it's a lot easier to use a salinity chart.  There is a good article on making brines and salinity at http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-making/curing/making-brine which contains such charts.  See also "Preparation of Salt Brines for the Fishing Industry," Oregon Sea Grant Publication ORESU-H-99-002, which is available at http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs/h99002.pdf .  I standardize all my brine recipes at 60 degrees Sal., which results in brining times of 1.25 to 2 hours for fish fillets.

In order to use a salometer, the brine needs to be deep enough for the salometer to float.  Not a problem if you're making two gallons of brine, but if you're making three cups of brine, you'll need to pour the brine into a tall narrow cylinder in order for the salometer to float.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 08:18:48 am by pmmpete »

Offline scubadoo97

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Re: Smoked Trout Too Salty - can it be saved?
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2014, 09:05:39 am »
When making a brine it's really easy if you use metric and weight.
1000g of water + 100g of salt is a 10% brine

My typical brine is 10% salt and 5% sugar