The art and fashion of smoking food

I’m a fan of the art of smoking food. Awestruck by it, really.

My fascination began as a child on Quebec’s north shore, from which I recall the strong smell of herring smokers alongside the St Lawrence. My fascination took a new twist thanks to Montreal’s Joe Beef restaurant – a truly worthwhile detour if you plan on visiting Eastern Canada. In addition to having a proper garden in the restaurant’s back yard (amazing), these guys actually built themselves an impressive smoker, again right in their restaurant’s backyard. As if that wasn’t cool enough, they went ahead and kindly provided their disciples with a step by step description of their smoker building process in their latest book: L’art de vivre selon Joe Beef.  Sadly – and despite the fact that their description of the process is quite clear – I feel that one should refrain from building a smoker on a rented apartment’s porch (ie. Me). Thankfully, my recent trip to Scotland’s breathtaking Skiary, on Loch Hourn, led me to discover a “softer” approach to smoking.


After taking us out to fish mackerel (possibly the dumbest fish in the world – we caught dozens within a quarter of an hour), our hosts Claire & Tom showed us their mini smoker (!), which resembled a common banquet dish heater with a little burner underneath. In less than an hour, we had a delicious smoked mackerel entrée atop home made croutons!

Mini smoker

Mackerel entrée

Dining room at Skiary

If like me you’ve decided to keep the full-fledged smoke house to the dream stage until you get a proper home, you might like this video from a passionate Aussie documenting the DIY building of his smoke house. The video itself is gorgeous and the end result is quite impressive:

Smith Journal; the smokehouse


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Categories: Food


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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One Comment on “The art and fashion of smoking food”

  1. October 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Mini-smokers are cool, you can actually make a mini-smoker out of a biscuit tin! Only thing is – I’m a bit reluctant about using it indoors, the smell is quite strong and sticks around for days and days. Unless you cater for hordes, mini-smoker is enough for a small family.

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