Cooking Rainbow Trout Over Fire: Snake River Surf & Turf

Idaho Surf and Turf

Recipe from our lakeside lunch at the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho.
Find out more about our trip by visiting !

It’s not often that a trout is harvested from any river and transferred directly to the skillet on the American Rivers Tour.

Previously unknown to us, the Idaho Fish & Game Department is focused on reducing non-native rainbow trout in the Snake River. For this special occasion, we harvested a 19 inch non-native rainbow and cooked it along with 2 elk steaks for lunch. This is a simple 2 skillet meal. We prefer to use Lodge Skillets. The vegetables were purchased at a grocery store in Idaho Falls, pre-cut, and poured into the skillet from a bag. The vegetable stir fry with garlic, ginger, onions, jalapeno and soy brought the vegetables and elk steaks together nicely. Adding the rainbow was a unique and unexpected surprise.

As you can see in the video, cooking the rainbow on the bone makes preparing trout over fire easy. It helps to have a large cast iron skillet so the need for a grill is eliminated, the skillet can sit directly in the coals. In 5 minutes the fish is almost cooked through, then allowed to rest for a few minutes before de-boning. This helps to ensure that the trout is heated through to the bone. The skin does a nice job of providing a foil between the high heat and the fishes delicate flesh.


Elk & Rainbow trout with mixed vegetable stir fry
Serves 4
  • 2 6-10 oz elk steaks
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ Spanish onion, diced fine
Combine soy, onion and garlic in advance. When the fire is ready for you to start cooking, add the elk steaks to the marinade.
They should be in the marinade for 15-20 minutes.

For the vegetable stir-fry:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cleaned and chopped
  • ¼ cup ginger root, diced
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
Combine these and begin by adding all to the hot skillet with oil.
  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 2 cups broccoli tops sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
Add these vegetables next and stir continuously for 2 minutes. Clear ½ of the skillet and add the elk steaks, sear each side for 2 minutes.
  • 1 16 inch whole trout
After removing the vegetables and elk steak from the hot pan, leave skillet on the fire. Place the trout in the skillet with ½ a cup of mixed onion, ginger and garlic, add a splash of oil and sear the trout for 2 minutes on side one and 3 minutes on side 2.

Smoky Rainbow trout for lunch by the South Fork of the Snake

Cooking Idaho Surf & Turf over open fireon camera

Idaho Surf & Turf | ready to eat

Surf & Turf with vegetable stir fry | Recipe card

Click index card for full printable recipe

Have your say