Monday, 27 April 2009


From Wikipedia

Arbroath Smokies are a type of lightly smoked small haddock – a speciality of the town of Arbroath in Angus, Scotland.

The Arbroath Smokie originally came from the
small fishing village of Auchmithie, 3 miles North-East of Arbroath. Local legend has it that a store caught fire one night, destroying barrels of Haddock preserved in salt. The following morning, the people of Auchmithie came to clean up the ruin and found some of the barrels had caught fire, cooking the Haddock inside. Further inspections revealed the Haddock was edible and quite tasty.
In reality, it's much more likely that the villagers at Auchmithie are of
Scandinavian descent as the 'Smokie making' process is similar to methods of smoking which are still carried out today in areas of Scandinavia.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the fishing industry in Arbroath was in terminal decline, this prompted Arbroath Town Council to offer the fisherfolk from Auchmithie land in an area of the town known as the fit o' the toon, they also offered the fisherfolk use of the modern harbour, this together with the better prospects on offer in Arbroath saw much of the Auchmithie population relocate to Arbroath, bringing the recipe for the Arbroath Smokie with them. Today, there are around 15 businesses producing Arbroath Smokies in the town, making them widely available through major supermarkets in the UK, and worldwide via the internet.
In 2004 the
European Commission registered the designation "Arbroath Smokies" as a Protected Geographical Indication under the EU's Protected Food Name Scheme, acknowledging its unique status.

Arbroath Smokies are prepared using traditional methods dating back to the late 1800s.
The fish are first
salted overnight to preserve them, they are then tied in pairs using hemp twine and left overnight to dry. Once the Smokies have been tied and dried, they are hung over a triangular shaped length of wood to smoke. This kiln stick fits in the middle of the pair of Smokies, one fish either side. These kiln sticks are then used to hang the dried fish in a special barrel containing a hardwood fire.
When the fish are hung over the fire, the top of the barrel is covered with a lid and sealed around the edges with wet jute sacks (the water prevents the jute sacks catching fire). All of this serves to create a very hot and humid smoky fire which is devoid of flames. The intense heat and presence of thick smoke is essential if the fish are to be cooked, not burned, and to have the strong smoky taste and smell people expect from Arbroath Smokies. It normally takes less than an hour of
smoking, before the fish are ready to eat.

Apologies, I lifted that straight from Wikipedia. Wouldn't normally do that, but I'm still not 100%. I was too late to see the actual smoking process taking place and the guy was a bit busy to be arsed with some eejit asking him dumb questions. So I snapped away and left.

I must confess to not having a very 'fishy' palate. Tastes too much like fish for my liking. But bung these things under a grill smothered with butter and they're pretty damned delicious.

It claims there are about 15 of these businesses in Arbroath in the article. I have my doubts. Can only think of about half that number. None of the fish are caught in Arbroath any more. They're all lorried down from Aberdeen or Peterhead. Shame really.

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  1. I saw the title and was expecting this to be about smoked sausages... lol!

  2. enjoyed the fishy post...i do liked smoked fish over some other and if you slather on some hot sauce/salsa all the more.

    learned a new word that term eejit.

    have a most wonderful week.

  3. What a great post, Neil! Love the shots and the history (wikipedia does come in handy sometimes, doesn't it?} I'm not a really big fish eater, but this sounds really good! Thanks for visiting, always appreciate your comments! I like Mahler, too, one of my favorites. Have a great week!

  4. One of my great memories of Scotland was the kippers. Are these the same?

  5. Mostly fish in chips around my town but Ill always by some smoked fish when available smoked mussels are also delicious but hard to find now.

  6. You live in Scotland and don't like fish? I guess a sushi dinner is out of the question, then.
    I LOVE smoked fish - that photo is making me hungry.

  7. Coming from Norway I guess I am programmed to love fish! :) So I love it!

  8. I absolutely love traditional smoked fish. There are some awful products out there pretending to be smoked but these things are the real deal and delish!!! Thanks for posting!