Our smoke house is one of only a handful of authentic traditional timber smoke houses worldwide. Here fish are hung for smoking, again a surprisingly rare tradition which produces the very finest smoked salmon that can be made.
Decades of smoking have created the seasoned, blackened surface on the natural wooden panels of the smokehouse and the unique atmosphere that gives Hederman smoked fish its distinctive character and depth of flavour.
Natural Wood Smoke
Beech-wood smoke, produced by a remote smoke generator billows through the space, bathing the fish in flavour. Made from wood chips rather than the usual sawdust, the smoke is light, clean, and cool, creating the ideal conditions for cold-smoking.
We use beechwood because it is less tannic and more subtle than oak, enhancing rather competing with the delicacy of the fish. We avoid gimmicks such as peat or fruit wood smoke.
Small batches of salt-cured sides are suspended by the collar bone on tenterhooks – hence the expression. Here they undergo a quiet transformation. Fat molecules disperse, smoky flavours are absorbed, and texture becomes particularly lean and tender.
More commonly, salmon is rack-smoked, the sides laid flat on grids, in stainless steel kilns. With industrial methods, mechanically-driven smoke hardens the surface of the fish, trapping oils, and preventing an even smokiness. A cloying texture and one-dimensional flavour is the usual result.
In short, our method is a gentle, natural process, which produces the most delicious, lean smoked salmon with character, light texture and rich flavour.
The quality of our smoked salmon also clearly relies on the skills of Frank and his crew who share 65 years experience between them.
Timers and computerised programmes have no place here. It is an intuitively judged process, influenced by factors such as atmospheric temperature, humidity, even wind direction, all of which must be controlled and balanced by experienced hands. Every batch is simply given the time it takes to smoke, and this varies from batch to batch, and season to season.
Anyone can smoke but it takes decades of commitment and perseverance to be a good smoker, and it takes time and a great degree of care to produce every batch. Frank Hederman’s 35 years have given him an unparalleled understanding of his craft and made him the very best of his profession in Ireland and beyond.
We are very proud of what we make, and confident that you won’t taste better smoked fish anywhere else in the world.
MORE THAN SMOKED FISH
As well as cold smoked salmon, we smoke mussels which come in a wholegrain mustard vinaigrette, country butter, Irish farm house cheeses, porridge oats which are made in to smoked oatcakes, garlic and sundried tomatoes for a Hederman smoked tapenade. These are available locally in our English Market shop, and at farmers’ markets.
We also hot smoke fish. This process is carried out at higher temperatures in an insulated kiln with a live fire, so that the fish is slow-cooked and smoked, rather than cured as with traditional cold-smoking. The result is succulent, flaky hot smoked salmon and mackerel.