Ireland has many excellent smokehouses, and some outstanding ones, but few would disagree that the benchmark has been set by Sally Barnes whose iconic Woodcock Smokery dates back to 1981.
At the time she had taken to tinkering around with smoking in order to preserve some of the surplus fish brought home by her fisherman husband; then, as she puts it herself, she “acquired an Afos mini-kiln in settlement of a debt and set about acquiring the real skills of the smoker’s art.”
Today, many leading chefs will use no other smoked fish and her products have earned every conceivable accolade, including unprecedented international praise at the UK’s Great Taste Awards where she won the 2006 Supreme Champion award for her smoked salmon, in competition with over 4,500 other products, and since then her products have been singled out for many more one, two and three star ratings and several Irish Speciality Food awards.
Sally Barnes’ philosophy closely matches that of the Slow Food movement, which she enthusiastically supports. Always uncompromising regarding the quality of her raw material, she deals exclusively with fresh wild fish caught by sustainable methods, including wild salmon when available. No artificial chemicals or dyes are used, only traditional smoking methods over native hardwoods.
The range of fish currently offered includes cold smoked haddock, hot smoked mackerel, hot smoked tuna, kippers, matured wild smoked salmon and wild smoked salmon.
Woodcock Smokery products are available from selected outlets throughout Ireland, especially in Co Cork, and can also be purchased by mail order through the website for delivery in Ireland and the UK. A treat well worth trying.