The process we use today is still very similar to the original design by Richard Pinney when he smoked his first sea trout and salmon more than 50 years ago.
The first and most important part is to source the fish that you need. You cannot produce good quality smoked products with poor quality fish. They must have the correct oil content if they are wild fish and must be in peak condition. Farmed fish such as trout and salmon must come from top quality producers. We use Wester Ross salmon which are hand reared with lots of space in their pens, on the open seas of North West Scotland.
The next stage is to fillet, gut and clean the fish, and then to dry salt or brine them. This is vital for flavouring and preserving.
The fish are then hung in the smokehouse where the smoke that is produced from one of our slow, whole oak burning stove is gently wafted over them for a period of 12 – 48 hrs. This is known as cold smoking and the time varies according to the species.
Fish such as smoked salmon (for slicing), kippers, bloaters and haddock are only cold smoked.
Trout, mackerel, eels and sardines are hot smoked (i.e. cooked), and we do this by opening up the air vents on the smokebox and roasting them over a blazing hot oak fire.
Our method is not an industrial process, more an artisanal approach which relies on the skill of the operator and the years of experience that we have gained.