How we smoke our salmon

It’s early. Dawn is a faint promise at the furthest reaches of the horizon. A door creaks open and the smell of fresh oak shavings fills the air. Flames crackle gently and another day at the Burren Smokehouse begins.
A Master Of His Craft

The organically farmed salmon arrives fresh from the Irish Atlantic coast. Once it arrives at the Burren Smokehouse, our Master Smoker and guardian of our recipes selects and inspects the fresh, organic Irish salmon. Only the finest salmon is used for production.

Skillfully fileted

The knife is flying in expert strokes to prepare this beautiful fish. The round salmon will be skillfully filleted along the backbone of the salmon, taking away as much of the meat as possible.

Pure sea salt is used for the salting process.

Pure organic dry sea salt from Ireland is applied, left on the salmon fillets for the perfect amount of time, and then washed off in fresh, cool water to leave the subtlest of flavours.

Salting is extremely important to cure the salmon, diminish bacteria and give taste. This curing process also improves the shelf life. Our Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon has a very low salt content of around 3.5% due to the low fat content.

Precision & Skill Equal Perfection

The salmon fillets are wet after the salt has been washed off so they need to be dried before they can absorb the smoke properly.

The fillets are placed on racks and the trolley is pushed into the kiln. The air gently passes the salmon fillets taking away any excess moisture. This process takes a few hours depending on the size of the salmon.

Master Smoker Burren Smokehouse
The Nerve Centre

Once the fillets are dried, the master smoker moves on to the "nerve centre" of the Smokehouse. He starts the fire in the smokebox with kindlings from recycled wood like broken pallets.

Smoking Process

Fresh oak shavings are piled onto the flames. Used with the deftest touch, the smoke gives a distinctive flavour that complements but does not overpower the natural beauty of the fish. Oak is the traditional wood that has been used for smoking in Ireland since ancient times.

Our untreated oak shavings come from traditional woodworking businesses and are recycled at the Burren Smokehouse into flavour-giving smoke.

Two Techniques, One Exacting Standard

Cold smoking is a very old and traditional Irish method, where the fish is gently smoked at thirty degrees Celsius for sixteen hours.

Burren Smokehouse classic cold smoked Irish organic salmon

Hot smoking, inspired by Birgitta’s memories of her Scandinavian childhood and visits to the smokehouse with her father, is performed at eighty-five degrees Celsius for eight hours. This concludes a painstaking process that has been patented in both Ireland and the UK.

Burren Smokehouse hot smoked Irish Organic Salmon spiced

The Journey Continues

Neither technique can be described as fast food, and both produce a delicious end result. Cold smoking produces the smooth texture traditionally associated with smoked salmon, and the hot smoked version being more akin to grilled salmon. The salmon is then gently sliced and carefully packed so it can reach anywhere in the world in peak condition.

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