12th October 2012 – Smoking Eels

Autumn foraging courses have begun in earnest and combined  with slaughtering and skinning two hoggets and a bullock yesterday, hedge laying enquires, poultry auctions, a friend’s stag do….  life is rather full!

Head beater of our small shoot A, helps out at a local trout lake from time to time and after a day clearing course fish from the water, phoned to say he had some eels for me. Ideally they should have been kept alive in clean water for a period to avoid their flesh tasting muddy, but they looked on their way out, so in between a course ending and going out for the morris A.G.M I dispatched and gutted them. Yesterday morning  they went into a 40%brine for roughly 9 hours and after quick drip dry, went into the smoker last night. The smell of smouldering oak is wonderfully evocative and as it caught my attention this morning, my mind was filled with thoughts of curing pork the huge hams ruddy brown with smoke, and breakfast on Christmas morning.

Hung out to dry - eels on the cloths line



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