A day with the Yorkshire Country Women’s Association

May 16th, 2014

Smoky Jo was delighted to be invited to address the Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association in Aksham Bryan College today . Over 200 women had gathered from every area of Yorkshire to attend this event. The weather was beautiful and many of the delegates sat out in the sunshire to eat their lunch.

Smoky Jo entertained them with stories of our days of owning the Old Smokehouse; gave them a bit of the history and theory of smoking food and offered hints and tips on how to smoke at home both indoors and outdoors. All of this was interspersed with recipes for using smoked food. Below are some of the simple recipes Smoky Jo shared today. You may want to try some of them yourself. They are designed to be quick, easy and delicious!

Hints and tips

  • Always serve smoked food at room temperature to get the full benefit of the smoky flavour
  • All things sweet, tangy or fruity go well with smoked food.
  • The best way to re-heat hot smoked food is to wrap in in foil with a little liquid – water, wine cider etc, make a parcel and gently heat it up to piping hot in the oven.
  • When smoking in the kitchen make sure your saucepan or wok have a secure and well fitting lid.


 Smoked Aubergine Dip

1 large aubergine

2-3 tablespoons thick yoghurt

Juice of one lemon

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ clove of garlic crushed

Salt and pepper to taste


Cut aubergine in half and sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes

Char the skin over a flame or on a dry griddle or place the aubergines in a hot smoker and hot smoke for 30 minutes until the flesh is soft.

Whilst still warm score the flesh with a knife and then scoop it out with a spoon.

Mash or blend the flesh with lemon juice, cumin and garlic.

Add the yoghurt, mix and season to taste

Serve warm with flat bread


Smoked Trout Pate

Whole trout

4 tablespoons crème fraiche

Juice of a lemon

½ teaspoon Paprika

½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped chives to garnish


Brine the trout for 45 minutes, rinse and then hot smoke until cooked

Fillet and remove the flesh.

Place the flesh in a bowl with lemon juice, paprika, Cayenne pepper salt and pepper and mix.

Add the crème fraiche and mash until smooth

Sprinkle with chives and paprika and serve

Smoked mushroom soup…

May 8th, 2014

On our courses we almost always smoke mushrooms and I always remind people not to think just of the (wonderful) flavour of a smoked mushroom, but also what smoked mushrooms would bring to a casserole, paella, omelette etc – and soup.  And yet I had never made smoked mushroom soup.  It is FANTASTIC!  I finally got round to it – I can’t really give a recipe as I don’t work like that but basically I used about 200g of cold-smoked mushrooms, a leek, a clove of garlic, a litre (or so) of chicken stock and added thyme and seasoning.  Once simmered for a while I whizzed it up in the blender, checked seasoning and added a bit too much cream.  Lovely.

Sorry there isn’t a picture of the soup, it didn’t last long enough to pose for the camera…



Paul and Lanto from Mac’s BBQ visit us!

April 27th, 2014
Paul and Lanto with their trout

Paul and Lanto with their trout

On April’s two day smoking course we had visitors from one of our friends- Mac’s BBQ. We have been dealing with Ian and Heidi from Mac’s for some years – they sell and recommend our book, we sell and recommend their smokers and dust.  Working for yourself means you can deal with folk you like, so it was no surprise to find that Paul and Lanto were a pleasure to work with – we learned a lot from them!  They also learned from us and a few days after the course they sent me some photos of a wonderful cold smoker Paul had made for Lanto!
As well as delivering us a new ProQ Frontier smoker, they also gave us a prototype of a new large cold smoke generator that we all hope will be in production later this year.  We tested it and it smouldered perfectly for about 20 hours… we’ll let you know when it becomes available!

Large cold smoke generator

Large cold smoke generator the “Artisan”


The Wild Boar Festival of Smoke

April 1st, 2014

Our friends at The Wild Boar held a novel event at the beginning of March – a Festival of Smoke.  It was an outdoorsy kind of day, with free clay pigeon shooting in their woods and bacon being fried on a “Swedish Lamp” – a carved log, burning away with a frying pan full of smoky bacon!

Smoky Jo was doing demonstrations inside and I was stoking the fires (four of them!) outside.  There was smoked porter, smoked cheeses, smoked sausages and Jo even smoked some Kendal Mint Cake.  Lots of good food was being given away will nilly and the day was rounded off with a smokey banquet and a whisky tasting -with one really peaty, smoky dram…. There are lots of pictures on the Lakeland Radio site (but they missed me!)



A happy foody family day out at Smoky Jo’s!

March 9th, 2014
Getting warm by a smoker

Getting warm by a smoker

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a family birthday day… they seemed to enjoy it!

Hi Jo and Georgina
Just a brief note to say MANY THANKS for a wonderful day out on Saturday – the session was most enjoyable and very informative, aided by your wealth of knowledge and humour.  Mark, Sara, Jane, Paul, Alister, Joshua and Matthew talked constantly about the experience for the remainder of the weekend and in particular when we gorged on a veritable feast of smoked goodies on Sunday.  Kathleen, Veronica, Daryl and Otis also tucked in and enjoyed!

Again, many thanks for adding significantly to my birthday celebrations – it will live long in the memory and I’m sure we’ll be back.

With warm regards,  Thomas”

Waiting for smoked salmon

Waiting for smoked salmon

Hot smoking salmon

Hot smoking salmon

Oh the taste!

Oh the taste!

Young foodies!

Young foodies!


Inspiring book raises smoky question!

January 24th, 2014
A recent email and our response!
Hi Smokyjo,

I was lucky enough to be given your book at Christmas, most interesting and helpful.  I have made a wooden cold smoking cabinet (odds and ends of timber from my garage wood store) and I have a ProQ smoke generator and some bags of sawdust.  We found cheap cake cooling racks at Asda and made the cabinet an appropriate size for the racks to slide in.

We have fired it up once.  The first lighting produced more smoke than the fan on our cooker hood could take away so I reduced the “chimney” opening a lot but then it only burned for about 15 minutes.  Opening the chimney a little and relighting made it burn for about 9 hours so I guess it is about right now.

We have smoked cheese, garlic, eggs, peppers, oranges, a pitta pocket, salmon, sausages and some pigs cheeks.  The sausages salmon and pigs cheeks were brined before smoking.  The oranges were a bit of an afterthought and were not in for long enough.  Everything else turned out great.  Thanks for the inspiration.

Returning to the book I wondered about hot smoking.  Does hot smoking increase the uptake of smoke flavour a lot?  I haven’t been able to find any figures for suggested temperatures used during hot smoking, would the amount of heat used be an issue with a wooden smoking cabinet?  I can change the base to a metal plate which could stand on our electric hob and again use the cooker hood to take away the used smoke.

What do you think?, Best regards, Andrew.

Hi Andrew-
Well done you – your smoker sounds amazing.  Interesting that you are  smoking indoors under the cooker hood.  This is a good way of doing it though most people just do it outside under some sort of cover, but it will be much drier indoors and therefor cold smoking will be more efficient.
Hot smoking does not really increase the uptake of the smoke flavour.  When you cold smoke first – that is where the intensity of flavour is taken up – as food takes on the smoke best at a low temperature (below 30 degrees).  If you are just hot smoking  ie not cold smoking first the smoke will tend to be more on the outside of the food rather than have penetrated it.
I suggest that you do not hot smoke in the wooden cabinet and not indoors.  Some sort of old metal bin with a disposable BBQ would suffice. As for temperatures – we suggest hot smoking at a low temperature (100c) for a long time and then using a thermometer to test for doneness – there is a table on P.84 which will help with this.
The other alternative is to just cold smoke your food in your cold smoker first for a couple of hours at a low temp and them simply cook it off in the oven.
Lastly you dont have to brine anything that has been processed – like sausages, black pudding, cheese etc  – they have already been seasoned and may come out too salty.
Hope this helps. Happy Smoking!

A short quote for The Field…!

January 15th, 2014
Mick Stockton and others at the Wild Boar

Mick Stockton and others at the Wild Boar

I was approached by the editor of The Field who was mentioning our smoking school in an article, and he was after a short quote. I emailed Mick as I knew he had enjoyed a recent course… and this is what he wrote!

“I’m a married, 42 year old father of 2 who comes from Kendal in The Lakes but now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. After 20 years working in video games and special effects for Hollywood movies, has recently joined Teesside University teaching across media business and journalism as well as dealing with internal and external business engagement.

I was bought the smoking event with Smoky Jo’s as a Christmas present from my parents under guidance of my wife, as I love making my own stuff from video game arcade cabinets to sausages and am obsessed with craft and learning new skills. My family researched the available food related options (I secretly want to be Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) and among weekends offering the option to make your own axe, or learn how to build a long bow, the Smoky Jo experience repeatedly appeared in the many top 10’s searched.

I was a little nervous on attending. I am from the Lakes and love it so much, but feel a little bit of a traitor for not staying put, though my goal has always been to return. As such whenever I am faced with other Cumbrians, I tend lay the accent on far too thick, which rather than making me sound like ‘one of them’ sort of makes me sound more like ‘one of them, those folk who think speaking like inspector Clouseau in France makes you perfectly understandable rather than condescending.  Anyway, on arrival I was surprised at how far my colleagues had travelled attracted by the fantastic reviews and passionate contraptions on the website made by alumni of the Smoky Joe course. There were a father and son from Surrey, a man who had worked in the fish smoking industry all his life from Scotland and his friend, a master baker from my home town a mother from Blackpool who had already purchased all the kit and me. My approach was much the same as the lady from Blackpool in that I tend to buy all the equipment at great expense, and hide it from my wife so that it become imperative that I HAVE to learn how to use it. The group was just the right size and allowed for varied conversation as well as being small enough that everyone knew each other’s names while being able to get attention when they needed it.

Jo was a fantastic character, animated and passionate, and explained more to me in 5 minutes of scrawling on a whiteboard within the wonderful surroundings of the Wild Board at Dent than the stack of books on the subject I have been amassing since I decided to begin this journey a year ago ever have. During the day we  learned about the important relationship between smoke and salt, developed our own unique brines, used and understood all types of smoking and developed a whiff of smoke which would take a week to leave our clothes and palates.

Not only did we get to define and develop our tastes for smoked food, we also got to taste our home made wares. A lunch of smoked cheese, salmon, chicken and even smoked flour mince pies was all the better for knowing 3 hours ago none of us had a clue what we were doing and a shared suspicion that “it can’t be that easy can it?”. The evening meal too was a delight, again hosted at the Wonderful Wild Boar at Dent, we were able to absorb the breath-taking Cumbria countryside as a feast of smoked hams, black pudding, turkey and more was laid before us accompanied  by the fine beverages of the establishment (even a smoked ale for those that hadn’t quite had enough smoke by now).

Throughout Jo and Georgina we the perfect hosts, convivial and up beat throughout. There was a no pressure opportunity to buy some of the equipment we had been using throughout the day at the end, and the ladies actually ran out of stock. I left with a cold smoking box, a salmon knife and 3 kilos of sawdust at a very competitive price compared to the online suppliers I have used.

I actually owned a smoker before I attended. Now I own a 2 cold smokers, a hot smoker, and a filing cabinet ready to be turned into a 4 level cold smoker. This Christmas I smoked sides of salmon, garlic, cheese, sausages and much more for friends  and loved every moment. I’ve had requests from as far away as New York and Luxembourg and I am learning new things every day about how to do it better. I cannot recommend the event highly enough, I have been on a number of such events over the years, but this one has really got under my skin, and I can only put that down to Jo and Georgina’s love of food, of fun and of people. Reading into their history in their excellent book, they appear to have given up everything to start this business and left very successful careers to follow their hearts in building Smoky Jo’s, and that enthusiasm and passion is infectious.

Sorry that went on a bit. It started as a quote and turned into a review. Hopefully there is something useful, if not:

“The Smoky Jo experience has to be experienced. It’s an outdoor fire and knives food fest, filled with fun and excitement and a real learning experience for all levels which sees you come with nothing and leave with real, useable skills which will be in demand by all your friends once they taste you first home smoked salmon, done in a cardboard box. Smoky Jo’s can make this happen.”

Thanks Mick!

A smoked gammon (or ham!) question…

January 4th, 2014
Smoked ham, carved and ready to eat!

Smoked ham, carved and ready to eat!

Without smoking courses at the moment I can either bore you with my smoked delicacies (smoked Cheddar cheese on toast with a smudge of tomato puree…) or pop onto this smoked food blog a few of the questions and answers we deal with by email…

(By the way, obvious when you know, but a ham is ready to eat, gammon – cured pork – needs cooking.)

Hello Jo & Georgina,

You very kindly sorted out a Cameron stove-top hot smoker for me at Christmas. You should know it’s a great success and is being put to very good use.

I hope you don’t mind me asking but our daughter bought me a cold smoker for Christmas [one of the Pro Q eco smokers] and I’m keen to have a go at a gammon. Incidentally, I read your book at my daughters over the holiday period and have ordered my own copy from you this morning. Problem is I can’t wait for it to arrive and want to get stuck in today or tomorrow.

Would you have time to suggest how I go about cold smoking a gammon piece? As it’s already got a high salt content [I would imagine], should I simply soak it in cold water overnight then dry and smoke?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Smoky Jo’s response:
I assume you are intending to cook the gammon after smoking? In which case yes, we soak over-night with a couple of water changes – but it so much depends on personal taste and the quality of the ham! – Usually better quality ham needs less soaking to reduce salt levels.  You  really don’t want to over-soak as the meat can become almost tasteless and the smoke just sits in the water content.
Hope this helps.


Christmas Shopping for foodies…

December 10th, 2013
Smoked fish for Christmas

Smoked fish for Christmas


If you are thinking of buying a Smoky Jo’s food smoking course voucher as a present, you can find out exactly what they can be used for here.

Sales of our gift vouchers are now in full swing which is great news.  Thank you especially to those of you who came to Smoky Jo’s in 2013 who are now sending friends and relatives for a taste of good food and good fun! Our book “Smoking Food at Home with Smoky Jo” is going well (great stocking filler…?) and we look forward to hearing yet more tales of interesting DIY smokers inspired by filing cabinets, wardrobes and CCTV cameras! For those who prefer a ready made smoker we have a small selection available.

Right, I’m off to salt a few small sides of salmon that I’ll be smoking tomorrow for Christmas presents!  I may keep one or two for our Christmas breakfast…. with some smoked prawns perhaps, possibly some cold smoked tuna…



Smoking Course Dates for 2014…

November 13th, 2013

We now have dates for our courses here at Shap in 2014.  I hope you can find one that suits you! We will add more in the coming months but in the meantime our gift vouchers are the perfect present and valid for courses for the whole of 2014.  Our book is available as part of a special offer.

Smoking at The Wild Boar was wild last week… hail storms, thunder and lightning and lots and lots of food.

When Miroslav pointed out that he did not have a coat we foolishly volunteered to collect all the food from the smokehouse for the kitchen.