Arbroath Smokies Angus Culinary Traditions Year round

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Arbroath Smokies are a particular variery of smoked haddock. They originated in Auchmithie, a small fishing village a few miles north of Arbroath. The smoking technique is similar to one used widely in Scandinavia, which indicates probable Scandinavian origins of the villagers Tradtionally, the fish was smoked in halved barrels with fires underneath, trapping the smoke under layers of hessian sacking. With the decline of local fishing industry at the start of the 20th century, much of the local population began moving to Arbroath, and the process soon became known as the Arbroath Smokie.

Only haddock can be used to produce an authentic 'Arbroath Smokie'. The process involves gutting the fish at sea, and then they are headed and cleaned, or 'sounded' back on shore. They are then dry salted in tubs for a given period. The length of salting time depends on the size of the fish and how fresh they are (amongst other factors). After salting, they are thoroughly washed off, then tied by the tail in "pairs" and hung on kiln sticks. 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). This creates a very hot and humid smoky fire. It normally takes less than an hour of smoking before the fish are ready to eat. As an EU 'Protected Geographical Indication, one of a relatively small number in the UK, only locally-produced products can be called 'Arbroath Smokies'.

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