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Episode 103: Surf Meets Turf

Smoked Planked Trout with Caper Dill Sauce

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Planking is a great way to cook fish without leaving half stuck to the grill grate, and bacon makes everything taste better, especially trout. The combination of the trout and bacon is a symphony of flavors.

As the fish cooks on its plank the bacon fat will melt into the outside. The butter will melt into the inside, guaranteeing you succulence.

Conventional wisdom holds that you soak a cedar plank before grilling to keep it from burning. I’m going to do just the opposite — I’m going to char the plank, because the flavor really comes when the wood comes to smoke.

 

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Smoked Planked Trout with Caper Dill Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Plank smoking
  • Equipment: Big Green Egg XXL; charcoal; 4 cedar planks, each large enough for 1 fish; butcher’s string

Ingredients

  • 4 whole trout (12 to 16 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus extra wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices thin-cut artisanal bacon
  • Caper Dill Sauce, for serving

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Grill the empty planks until singed on both sides, 2 minutes per side. Let cool.

Step 2: Rinse the trout, inside and out, under cold running water, then blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes to the bone in each side of the trout (this speeds up the cooking and allows for better absorption of the flavors). Generously season the trout inside and out with salt and pepper. Place a couple dill springs, lemon slices, and butter slices in the cavity of each trout.

Step 3: Tie bacon strips to the trout, one on top, one on the bottom. Arrange one trout on each plank, head to tail.

Step 4: Meanwhile set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 300 degrees. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.

Step 5: Smoke the trout until the bacon is sizzling and crisp and the trout is cooked through (140 degrees in the center), about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Serve the trout on the plank, with lemon wedges for squeezing.

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Steven Raichlen, a national barbecue treasure and author of The Barbecue! Bible, How to Grill, and other books in the Barbecue! Bible series, embarks on a quest to find the soul of American barbecue, from barbecue-belt classics-Lone Star Brisket, Lexington Pulled Pork, K.C. Pepper Rub, Tennessee Mop Sauce-to the grilling genius of backyards, tailgate parties, […]

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