There are some fantastic smokehouses around the UK, some have been there since fire was invented, and some Johnny come latelys as well, but many turning out some great produce. I love smokey flavours and have been trying to work my way through a few places, and I think Christmas is a perfect time for these flavours.
First up is The Weald Smokery, based in East Sussex. Smoking over oak in brick kilns, their hot roast smoked salmon won gold at this year’s Great Taste Awards. You could go the whole hog, or fish, and treat someone to a whole side, or treat them to a gift box that includes it and a good selection of their other delicacies.
Moving round the coast to Suffolk and to The Artisan Smokehouse. Combining great smoking with the produce of other great British producers, their hamper offers some brilliant treats for Christmas including smoked beef fillet, smoked Cropwell Bishop Stilton and smoked rapeseed oil. Lots of things to work with to infuse smokey flavours into all kinds of dishes.
Heading a long way west, and to the Black Mountains Smokery. Working with both hot and cold smoking techniques, Black Mountains harnesses the best of tradition with modern technology across a wide range of products. If you’ve got someone to buy for who isn’t a fish lover, then have a look at the Meat Platter Hamper. Some great meals in there, with things like smoked chicken, duck and goose to start with, along with some sausages and even a boned quail.
For something a little different, heading south to Brown & Forrest in Somerset, and try their smoked eel, which they’ve been smoking for over 29 years. This is hot smoked over beech and apple, and comes as small packs, or whole sides, or even converted for you into a pate.
Got to feature smoked salmon, and so heading about as far north in the UK as is possible to go, and to the Hebridean Smokehouse on Uist. You can choose peat smoked or beechwood smoked, from a small pack to a whole side, sliced or left ready for you to tackle. Perfect for Christmas morning with a glass of fizz.
Want to learn how to do it yourself? Check out the appropriately named Smoky Jo’s, who do one day or weekend courses, and they can even sell you the smoking kit to get on with your own produce. If you need additional incentive to book, they’re based up near Penrith, so some beautiful countryside and good eating around you, and you get to pick up a new skill. Perfect.