How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking? | High Sierra Topix  

How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby markskor » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:11 am

Thanks Mike! That was some fine eats that day at Saddlebag!
Frying trout, at altitude - (no fires above 10,000), is almost impossible to do correctly over a backpacking stove. Hot spots, crusted pans, clean-up chores, fish not all the way cooked, breaking the fish when turning over...just not worth it (well, not exactly true, but a pain nevertheless.)

The whole trick is to carry a roll of tin foil - doesn't weight that much, and cures all the above woes simply and easily. (Oh, BTW, a good canister stove with a wide flame helps too...cannot do this on a pocket rocket type...recommend something like a MSR Windpro or similar)... Also, helps to have a light-weight, 10+ inch frying pan. I carry a 10 1/2 inch titanium one...~7 ounces - expensive but, IMHO, well worth the weight.

My "secret" recipe:
Cut off heads, leaving an exposed spinal column. Add a little garlic, spices of choice. maybe some Ritz Crackers or similar tucked inside the trout, add wild onions if found, maybe a spritz of lemon or orange juice...drizzle with a little olive oil, and wrap up fish loosely but sealed snugly in the foil. Cook the fish/foil packets slowly (as if you had a choice) in the frypan...3 or 4 will fit inside, and turn over 3 or 4 times...maybe 4 minutes each turn, depending on the size of the fish. If windy, an aluminum foil lid will also help retain heat inside of the pan. When done, open up the wrap, and grab the spine and peal the bones back...should come out clean, leaving 2 boneless slabs of meat.
At lower elevations, where fires are allowed, use the same foil technique but cook directly over hot coals spread out - no pan needed.
Pan stays clean - no scrubbing needed, and afterwards, you can dispose of foil/bones mess in trash, or burn it first and then carry the trash out.
Bon Apetit!
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:16 pm

Sounds like some good fish.

So instead of a clean chop off of the head you cut it in a way that leaves some bone showing to give something to grab onto? I heard once of someone saying they pulled the bones out clean but I couldn't figure how they did it.

That is my plan this year to bring some foil and over a fire will be the best. I'm just worried with my pot because I wont have anything that fancy. Just a 1.3L pot with a frypan lid and a Snow Peak Litemax stove. It seems if I can put the fish into the foil in a way that will not get wet from boiling water it would be the best way to transfer heat. Putting foil straight into the pot as another layer would save clean up and my pot from burning but should still have the major hot spot problem.

I'll have olive oil, lemon juice and this assortment of seasonings.

I also will have packets of chipotle honey roasted green chile that may be nice on fish.
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:32 pm

I think I've posted this pic before, but It demonstrates some of Mark's techniques. If you open the pic and zoom in on mark's right, you'll see three trout in the pan. If you zoom in on his left, you'll see 3 trout wrapped in foil waiting for pan space. You might also notice his pan (off to the right) is fairly clean and just sitting there, unused. :p Onions, oranges, lemons and spices all over the place.
Chain Lks 2010 058.jpg
the devil's kitchen


Rouge, you could always buy some fish and try the technique out at home before you go. The meat tends to shrink when cooked, so the bone is grab-able. lift and separate.

If I have fire, I will wrap the entire fish in foil with aforementioned condiments, build up a nice bed of coals, and bury them for about 10 mins (when you smell the trout, they're done) .
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby markskor » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:56 pm

Like to point out a few other items of interest in the picture above -
My Rainbow TT behind...close to the kitchen...butler's quarters at Chain Lakes.
Standing behind is TehipiteTom, the great mosquito magnet. Notice me in shorts with nary a bug in sight - Tom on the other hand must have attracted them by the hundreds...genetics?
Finally, yes my frying pan is clean; after cooking for these HST fools, do you think I really wanted to clean up my own pan...when in doubt, use someone else's utensils to cook in.

BTW, does frying up trout make me look fat? :moon:
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:37 pm

Um, I came upon this gem as a follow-up. This is TehipiteTom (well, his back), being the skeeter magnet for Mark. You'll notice in the pic that my pan is on the stove, there's a tortilla laying over my fuel can, as Mark makes the fish tacos. Mark's pan is still clean.. :\

Chain Lks 2010 042.JPG


Seriously, it was wicked good.
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:50 am

Last summer we had fish every night. We were only in an area that permitted fires on night. When cooking on my SnowPeak titanium stove (very small burner) I bring the large lid to my 3-pot nesting set, the small pot and the titanium frying pan. The large lid fits perfectly on the frying pan. I then put oil or butter in the pan and heat on very low flame- add the fish after the pot heats up, and put lid on tightly. I just let it simmer. You have to really watch it- the flame has to be continually turned down. I have a wind screen- not sure you can keep the flame low enough without a wind screen. The key is to have tight fitting lid. The fish is basically steamed. Not as good as outright fried, but better than boiled. You could do the same in a small pot with lid, but would have to really chop up the fish to fit them in. We never caught a fish big enough to need to be filleted. Without a lid the fish take forever to get fully cooked. I have never found cleaning the pot a problem. Just put a little water in it and heat it up, wash with fingers and wipe the grease with a few squares of TP. I have a larger and heavier teflon frying pan that I use if we are doing a dedicated fishing trip. A key to not having clean-up is to be sure the pot has some oil evenly spread and pre-heated before adding the fish and then really pay attention to the flame- keep it low, and you have to sometimes slide the pot around to get it hot enough on the edges. One problem is that the fish curl when heated. To mitigate this make several 1/2 inch cuts along the spine before putting them in the pan. Also, I find that butter and olive oil tend to burn but margarine or vegetable oil do not. Get the "real" margarine - not the fluffy stuff that has added water. You could even take Crisco for the fish. You need a clear oil, without milk solids or water, and one that has a high burn temperature.
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby Herm » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:05 am

Tehipite Tom looks like a favorite of the mosquitoes, but good for him, as he is out there among them. Certainly, that is how my back looks in mosquito season, as I too am a magnet for them.
Glad this topic keeps drawing responses, as it inspires me to cook trout caught in the high country. As I understand the foil in pan method, at least from these posts - it seems you all are using a dry pan, with an oiled and seasoned trout wrapped in foil. Is this effective with a MSR Simmerlite stove?
Cheers,
Herm
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby Mike McGuire » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:12 pm

I normally like to wrap trout in foil, say with some spiced slivered almonds and cook them in the coals. However a couple of years ago there was a complete fire closure in Emigrant where we were, so that technique was out. However with three engineers in the party there was bound to be a workable solution, and here it is.
Image
That was three gas stoves lined up underneath the grill. Took care to keep the fuel bottles well clear. Result was great, pretty much indistinguishable for cooking in the coals.

Mike
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking?

Postby funcrew » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:54 am

My brother Cam and I have always laid the cleaned trout directly onto the coals with no prep. Obviously the cook time per side is determined by the size of the fish. Leaving the head on makes flipping by grabbing a lot easier. To serve, you peel the skin off and sprinkle garlic salt on the flesh. Then you slide each forkful off the spine and eat it.

Simple, tasty, and uses very little wood due to the direct contact with the coals. All of the wood ash peels off with the skin.

However, I'll be up above the fire line next week and will try the foil-wrap method. Thanks to all for posting your mad skilzzz!
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking

Postby DSE » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:26 pm

Someone mentioned that they had purchased a titanium 10 1/2 inch frying pan weighing ~7 ounces. I've been trying to find a 10 inch titanium frying pan for backpacking with no luck. Can someone refer me to the website or store where you purchased the frying pan?

Thanks,

Doug
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:58 pm

Hi Doug,

Welcome to HST! There are frying pans around, but none of them 10.5"/ 7 oz, and Markskor is not around to ask where he purchased his. Here is one of many companies that have titanium pans available: http://www.evernewamerica.com/non-stick-series/

When you find time, an intro would be appreciated here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: How do you prepare and cook your trout while backpacking

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:32 pm

Markskor purchased his frypan decades ago mail order from Japan. Even he can't remember where he got it from.
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