We started the Morton’s Norfolk Smokehouse back in 2012, producing locally sourced and smoked chicken and duck – but smoked food is something that interested me long before that.
My aim in building our own smokehouse on Hall Farm was to come up with some really good Artisan foods supper ready to eat and that would rival anything else out there.
As it happened there weren’t many smoked houses in Norfolk and the few there were tended to concentrate on smoking fish.
Being an award-winning turkey farmer, I naturally wanted to concentrate on smoked meats and poultry.
The main ingredient for a great smokehouse? Time and mistakes!
When I first got interested in smoking our own meats I invested in some training and a smokehouse from the same supplier.
In the event the smokehouse I bought didn’t actually work!
This caused me to view the training I’d received with suspicion also!
I actually ended up learning the smoking process myself through research, reading, talking to other smokehouse owners (like on my recent trip around some Irish smokehouses) and a healthy dose of trial and error.
After a year or so of experimentation and smelling like a bonfire we’d developed a really good smoking process.
All our hard work paid off when our smoked Duck, Turkey and Chicken all received Great Taste Awards in 2013!
What plans do we have for more smoked produce in 2014?
I was literally doing trials of some new smoked turkey products just yesterday that I’m hoping to roll out soon!
We’re also looking into smoking some brilliant Norfolk bacon and adding some new varieties to our current range of smoked chicken items (sweet chilli and coriander, and Lemon and Thyme).
We’re regularly having discussions with other local food producers about possible collaborations – for instance, it’s looking very likely I’ll be teaming up with a local cheese producer and soon be stocking smoked cheese and butter!
What’s the most enjoyable aspect of producing smoked foods?
Producing really excellent Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys is all well and good, but it is always a shame that I don’t get to see people enjoying the final result on their plate.
The a big plus of our smoked products is that we get to take the item through all the stages; from rearing or sourcing, to preparing, smoking and packing – resulting in something that is ready to eat.
When someone tastes it I get to see the reaction and take full credit – that is a reward in itself!
What are your favourite smoked foods?
One of the great things about Artisan foods is there’s always something new to discover!
Do you have any favourite smoked foods or preparation tips?