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Based in the Weald of Kent we are surrounded by woodlands; the remnants of a vast, ancient forest. Historically, locals preserved their food by smoking it with the oak found in abundance here. Today, we apply their traditional methods to give our smoked fish, meats and cheeses their distinctive, authentic flavours.

Video produced by Alex Wallace

We use two traditional smoking methods for different types of products, and to create specific flavours and textures.

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Hot smoking

For our hot smoking, we had our kiln built by local craftsmen to our own specification which burns an open fire of seasoned Kent and Sussex oak. The process is so hands-on, our chief smoker chops the kindling and logs himself to make sure they’re exactly the right size for the grate and to maintain an even temperature.

The fire’s important because, uniquely, we rely on it to bring the meat or fish up to a cooking temperature as well as to produce smoke. To us, the traditional method of exposing the product to oak throughout the process creates a more authentic and balanced taste.

Our chief smoker’s expert eye and 20-odd years of experience means that he knows almost instinctively when to close up the fire and start the smoking stage.

Hot smoking gives fish a flaky texture, so our hot roast smoked salmon is actually cold smoked first to make it firm enough for slicing. We also hot-smoke chicken and duck which means it is cooked and ready to eat.

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Cold smoking

Our traditional brick kilns are used for all of our cold-smoking.  The purpose here is not to cook the fish or meat, but to gently remove moisture – the original intention being to preserve fresh food – and add flavour.

As the old proverb goes, there’s no smoke without fire, and we burn oak shavings which are sourced locally. The smoke rises up through the kiln by natural convection, rather than being pumped in, (so it’s gentler on tender products like trout and salmon). Unlike modern kilns, which recirculate the smoke, our traditional design draws a constant stream of fresh smoke over the food, creating a taste that’s cleaner, fresher and more authentic.

Smoking times vary according to the season. Salmon emerges firm, easy to slice and with a rich yet delicate flavour. Venison, on the other hand, stays in for longer, in which time it takes on the dry texture and deep, complex flavour you’d associate with an air-dried ham.