I just use the recipe that came with the big chief smoker. Do a search on the archives and you will find as many recipes as you could ever want. I use 2/3 apple chips and 1/3 cherry in my pan because when I used hickory that seems to be all I can taste but hickory does have a more traditional "smoked" taste.
One tip is that if you are going to smoke them with out filleting them, use a toothpick to keep the body cavity open. I personally like to hang smaller trout from the top rack on the smoker because it lets the drippings out.
If you are new to smoking in general I would suggest that in January you go dip a bunch of smelt and expirement with brines, wood chips and length of smoking so that you don't have to expirment on trout.
I also use recipies that come with the smoker.
In my little chief, I place the headless,gutted fish upright on the racks...just like they are swimming! Spread out over 2 rack bars. I alternate "head" directions and can get more fish on the racks this way. Also the smoke gets up in the body cavity's easier. You can really cram fish in with plenty of room for smoke to circulate. I even hang the fish over the outside edge of the racks when starting to line them all up. There is still room between the wall of the smoker and the fish. A pinch of yellow mustard in the brine really seems to improve the results. I use alder that I cut myself. Cut to a cookie that fits in the pan plus all the sawdust. I use a "dry bar" chainsaw and have never had any complaints about "oil" taste. And leaving the bark on doesn't seem to alter the taste IMHO.
the key to a good smoke job is more smoke and less heat. figure that out and you will have wonderful smoked fish get too hot it will cook before smoke takes affect.In the old days my grandfather had an old smoker that they smoked fish for 2 or 3 days at a time.
This was given to me by a co-worker who just returned from diamond lake, the finished product was incredible:
Here is the recipe I use if you want to try it. Its a bit labor intensive, but the results are worth it.
Mix 1 package Scotts Brine Mix including smaller "spice" packet with 1/2 gallon of water and mix until contents are thoroughly dissolved.
Place fish in a glass or plastic container and cover with brine mix until fish is well covered and fish is "floating" in the brine mix. For best results there should be enough brine so that fish is able to freely move in the brine mix and fish is not "clumped" together.
Cover container and place in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
Remove fish from container and pour off brine. Place fish back into container and add "Yoshidas Original Teriaki Sauce" and mix until all pieces of fish are well coated. It is better to use too much rather than too little at this stage.
Put container back in the fridge for 1 hour.
Spray the smoking racks with a non flavored, non stick coating such as Pam.
Remove fish and place on smoking racks and let it air dry for 1/2 hour - 45min.
Place racks in smoker and fill one pan with a mix of apple and alder chips.
Keep fish in smoker for 7-8 hours until it looks "almost ready to eat."
Remove rack from smoker and baste each piece liberally of fish with honey. I like to use high quality raw honey as it is thicker and adds the best flavor in my opinion.
Sprinkle each piece liberally with Cracked Pepper.
Return to smoker and add another pan of alder/apple chips and smoke for an additional 2-3 hours. (shorter for thin slices or if you prefer softer, moister fish. Longer if you prefer drier meat or if the fish is thickly sliced.)
Remove racks from smoker and let stand for an hour or until cool. The fish should now be ready to eat/store. If you plan on storing the fish, I have found that it is best not to put it in the fridge for the first 2-3 days especially if it is a fatty fish like salmon. Allowing the fish to stay around room temperature allows the natural oils released during the smoking process to spread back through the fish and makes for much better eating. Putting them in the fridge immediately upon removal from the smoker causes the oils to coagulate on the surface which looks bad, and can cause the flesh to become a bit "mushy." If you have followed the process correctly, there should be no worry about the fish spoiling, as the curing and smoking process removes the moisture and pasturizes the fish. The smoke will imbue the fish with natural bacteria resistance.
Piece o cake! Don't go all crazy with brine and such. Fillet, leave skin on, pack in rock salt (yup, plain ol' rock salt) for 20-30 min (no more than 30!), rinse, pat dry and throw in smoker, skin down. Use alder chips. Cook until desire done-ness (depends on smoker, how full it is, outside climate and how dry you like your fish)
I brought some smoked trout to a meeting at work one day and actually had two grown men fighting over it. :hoboy: