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Fried Fish Bones & Smoked Fish

Serves: Makes 4 servings

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  • 2 cups neutral oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 whole rainbow trout, cleaned, filets and bones separated
  • Coarse kosher salt or your favorite seasoning blend
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • Special equipment: Applewood BBQ smoking chips, charcoal, charcoal grill


Fry the fish bones: Pour oil into a large cast iron pan and heat on medium high until it reaches around 375°F. Fry fish bones until golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, lemon zest and squeeze of lemon juice. You may cut bones into smaller pieces before serving.

Prepare your charcoal grill: Add charcoal to grill and allow for 30 minutes to 1 hour for the charcoal to burn down to white coals. While your grill is heating up, make sure to scrub the grates with a stainless steel brush to clean off and leftover food.

Lightly coat flesh side of the fish with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Remove the grate from the grill and bank the charcoal to one side. This will create two heating zones in the grill, direct heat and indirect heat. Scatter two large handfuls of wood chips on top of coals and place the grate back on. The wood chips should immediately start to burn and produce a flame but this flame will die down and quickly turn to smoke.

Working quickly, place trout flesh side down on the opposite side of the charcoal (the indirect heat zone). Cover with the lid and allow to smoke for 6 - 7 minutes.

Depending on the size of your grill you may have to smoke in batches, adding another handful of wood chips as needed for each batch.

What’s left: Spent lemon.

There are many methods to smoking at home on a charcoal grill. Wood chips versus wood chunks. Soaking wood versus not soaking wood. Closing the vent versus keeping it open for circulation. Adding a drip pan or water pan to regulate temperature. The technique used in this recipe was preferred because it was the simplest method, easy to follow, almost foolproof, and yielded delicious smoked trout in less than 7 minutes. This is one impressive recipe even the grill novice can master.

You can smoke any type of fish you want but this method of using dry wood chips scattered on top of hot charcoal works best with thinner filets because the wood chips burn out quickly. The thicker the fish the longer it will take to smoke which means you may have to soak your wood chips for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning out to quickly. Ideally you want to smoke to last the entire cooking time.

Recipe courtesy of Scraps

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