Every year, during the Tongariro spawning season from now on, the TRM smokehouse is in demand. On Wednesday during the rain TRM anglers report landing in excess of 20 trout (nymphing glo-bugs – what else?), so the smokehouse then becomes the centre of attention to preserve and take their catch home.
SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed is Mother Superior of everything at TRM except the smokehouse which is a male domain.) is asked every weekend for all the secrets of smoking trout so this information is for those tempted to try. It really is worth the effort.
The first question usually asked is where does the wood come from?. From all over – there are heaps of Manuka growing in this central plateau region. On certain angler access tracks across DOC land nearby the contractors mow (rotary slash) the scrubby edges to widen the view lines. Much of the scrub is Manuka – recognised as the best native hardwood for a distinct tasty
The second question asked is how is the Manuka brushwood converted into chips?. As indicated below an ordinary rotary lawn mower deals to them and grinds the tops up to the perfect balance of mash for smoking. The trick is to set the mower on high to keep the blades above the grass level to spit only the chips into the catcher.
The images are of a good keen man – inmate Keith Costello from Tauranga – helping TeRina, TRM’s weekend housekeeper, to collect the chips.
The TRM recipe for smoking trout is in the smokehouse. It is a simple method – we are dealing with fishos after all. Most anglers suggest it is important to clean and dry the soggy trout before smoking for the flesh to be
Some regular inmates bring their own dried chips from fruit trees – Peach and Nectarine or Plum are popular. TRM provide salt and brown sugar while some prefer their own special seasoning mixture of single malt or navy rum and/or manuka honey or maple/golden syrup, whatever. The final products all taste good. There is no other fish that tastes quite as good as smoked wild Taupo trout. They are what they eat – raised on a diet of whitebait smelt and koura (fresh water crayfish) they have to taste superb. TRM also have a vacuum packer (kindly donated by Murray Cullen) if needed – see image below. Yum…