Mori san has a smoke house (actually it is more like a smoke shed or box) called Alba. Ten or so years ago a Scottish artist participating in KAIR designed the emblem for Alba and Mori san carved it himself. The emblem features some salmon and a beard bloke with a pipe (apparently this was the artists self-portrait) and some birds maybe and I can’t remember what else. When the unit is firing the guy’s pipe actually gives out smoke; I thought that was a nice little touch.
So on this morning, frost everywhere, six or seven people have come to smoke some objects. We brought some salmon, pork, paprika and another secret ingredient and a glove. Tsuyoshi san had some salted wild boar liver, Sawa san had a couple of fish. Two other guys turned up with some chunks of bacon and then a little later someone with brown mochi.
(Above) A glove that we will smoke.
Today Mori san is going to set up a hot and a cold smoke. The smoke acts as a preservative but to do this correctly the food needs to be prepared beforehand (specifically, to remove water). Unfortunately we have not prepared our food but it’s not a problem because we just want a smokey flavour. We conduct the cold smoke in a cardboard box with a sawdust block placed at the bottom. The box is sealed and that’s it. The hot smoke is slightly more complicated, but not by much. The only difference is that we use charcoal to heat a metal sheet upon which a heap of wood chips smolder. Different types of wood produce different flavours of smoke. Fruit trees usually produces a good flavoured smoke and Mori san’s favourite is cherry. Today we use cherry wood chips.
(Above) Sawdust blocks for the cold smoke and (below) the cardboard box:
Mori san’s fish are drying under an electric fan to speed things up. The dangling fish are swinging around like they are still alive (but they are quite dead). These fish go straight into the hot smokehouse Alba:
We construct a meat chandelier from bacon and fish and put this into the second hot smoker.
Now we have to wait for a few hours. What should we do? Go for some coffee and cake and a little jaunty stroll along the seafront then eat some fish n chips then go to the slotties for a bit.
3 HOURS LATER
The salmon and bacon look and smell delicious. They are slightly yellowed and crispy on the outside. We try a little bit of the salmon and yes, it does taste very nice. Tsuyoshi san’s liver has crisped up and welded itself to some chopsticks. It looked foul, like brown dried snot spunk, and it tasted even worse than that sounds, but he seemed to enjoy it so that’s good. The glove was a little chewy but after putting into some udon broth it softened up nicely. The smokeyness complimented the sweaty cotton suprisingly well and I’ve decided to try and sell this at the next Kamiyama Market. It’s a good product because even if you don’t fancy eating it you can use it and enjoy the smokey smell when you’re skinning a tetrapod.