There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t thank our lucky stars for having Ruari and Donald Murray in the neighbouring glen to smoke our fish. Ruari’s father David set up the smokehouse, so the skill runs deep in their family. They run their own amazing shop in Lochgilphead, as well as smoking our fish and the wonderful Gigha halibut.
We have worked with them for decades, and their skill (and patience!) as we get to grips with establishing new customers and the learning curve of sending mail order from the West Coast (don’t get us started!) has helped us enormously.
The fresh trout are hand-filleted and pin-boned, and then are hand-cured with a dry salt rub, (never immersed in brine) overnight for 12 hours. Then they are rinsed, and put in the smoker, using oak from retired whisky barrels, for 8-12 hours at 30 degrees. This doesn’t cook the fish, just removes the moisture. It’s then chilled, sliced by hand, and packed.
With our hot smoke, we follow the same procedure but then gently cook the fish, adding a honey glaze.
A customer recently asked if we added sugar to our cold-smoke; they were amazed by how naturally sweet-tasting it was. “No,” said Donald, “That’s one of the distinguishing features of the trout. It is slightly sweeter, and nearly always a little firmer than salmon, which makes for a lovely textured smoked fish at the end.”