Whether you catch them or buy them, few smoked fish are as delicious and universally loved as whole trout. Make sure they are well cleaned and rinse out the body cavity well before smoking. From the cookbook, "Smokin'"
Trim the very ends of the tail if the trout are too long for the smoker, otherwise, leave them as is.
Some retailers will sell a whole, boneless trout, which makes serving easier, but skinning a smoked trout and separating the fillets from the bones is a very simple affair (see below).
Season the inside and outside of the trout generously with salt and pepper.
If you like, lay a few slices of lemon and sprigs of fresh thyme inside the body cavity.
Use 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons (depending on your preference for smokiness) alder or cherry wood chips (best with seafood).
Smoke the trout until the meat along the backbone close to the head is opaque (insert the tip of a small knife to check); about 22 minutes after closing the smoker lid for an 11-12 ounce trout; about 25 minutes for a 13-14 ounce trout.
Check the fish for doneness after 20 minutes.
If the underside is considerably darker than the top after about 12 minutes
of smoking, flip the fish and continue cooking.
Serve right from the smoker with rice pilaf and buttered string beans, or cool them completely to room temperature and remove the fillets.
To fillet smoked trout, run a small sharp knife along the backbone to cut through the skin.
Lift off the skin from the top fillet or leave it on if you like.
With the help of the knife, gently lift the top fillet free of the bones.
Turn the fish over and repeat.
Note: To smoke trout fillets, set them skin side down on the smoker rack and smoke just until cooked through and begin to flake, 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness.