Our Smokehouse dates back to before the turn of the 19th century if not further. We are extremely proud of its history and have made every effort to preserve the building and to carry on the traditions of smoking fish. Sheringham Smokehouse is one of the last remaining traditional smokeries left on the North Norfolk coastline.
So How Do We Do It?
Fish can be smoked in a few different ways, and some are more complex than others in terms of the process and how much time you may need. There are several factors in play would could be the type of wood, temperature, and equipment needed.
In days gone by, cold smoking was used as a preservation method before the days of fridges and freezers. We cure our fish such as salmon or kippers before it goes into the cold smoke room, which ensures it lasts longer.
Dry Rub Or Brine
We use a dry rub or a brine to draw out the moisture from the fish. We use a salt rub for our cold smoked salmon. We apply this generously to the meatier side of the fish and leave it until it is ready to be cold smoked.
It is possible to add herbs and spices to the rub, such as dill which is used for our Gravlax. You can coat the fish with salt, or mix the salt into the water to make a brine and soak the fish in it.
For our brines, we mix salt and water together to make the solution, and then soak the fish. This method is used for Kippers, and for our Smoked Haddock.
For our dry salted fish, we store them in a dry and cool place for a period of time. The bigger the fish, the longer it is left.
Once the rub or brined process is finished we then clean the fish with cold water, which removes all the excess salt. We then pat it dry and then it's onto the next stage.
We hang all of the fish in a temperature controlled room to make sure the fish is completely dry before smoking. If there is any moisture left it can make a huge difference to the finished product, so this is a critical stage in the whole process.
Cold Smoking The Fish
Cold Smoking is called as such as it is done at a temperature below 70 degrees F. To achieve this we use boxes to burn the oak chips and dust on the floor of the smokehouse to ensure no excess heat gets to the fish.
The dust is burned slowly so the fish gets a gradual exposure to the smoke. We can have fish in the cold smoke for anything from a few hours to sometimes a few days.
This is a different process in terms of time compared to cold smoking in that it is much shorter time wise. Usually, fish is smoked for 3-4 hours, however for our Smoked Prawns and Crevettes it can be not even half this amount of time.
For Hot Smoking, we use a Kiln which is lit using Oak dust and raised to certain temperatures depending on the fish you are smoking. The fish is put onto racks and placed in the kiln. We keep a watchful eye on the temperature and the amount of smoke going through the kiln as any drastic changes can really affect the finished product.
Our hot smoked fish range includes Salmon, Trout and Mackerel. We have done some experiments too with Scallops which were a massive hit in our shop.
It is mainly fatty fish which is smoked, and this is a big factor when talking about the health benefits of it. Smoking the fish helps to enhance and retain the flavour, but has the added benefit of keeping the health benefits of it. As we know fish is a great source of protein, omega-3 acids and vitamin B. Another reason to give our smoked fish a try!
We hope you enjoyed this insight into our work in our dear old smokehouse. To keep up to date on our creations, why not follow us on Facebook and Instagram?