Home Smoked Kippered Herring (Kippers!)

My second favourite way to eat fish for breakfast (a close second to Smoked Haddock and poached egg)

Sadly although I do a lot of fishing, we rarely catch decent sized Herring and therefore I’m always on the lookout for them in local fishmongers, recently I’ve found a good supply of local (Cornish) Herring in a supermarket in Falmouth.

I really don’t like buying kippers as I’m never 100% sure of the method used to smoke them and they’re so easy to do yourself and taste fantastic.

I start by buying the most fresh fish I can find, always whole fish, at the moment they’re about £5 per Kg.

When I get the fish home, I butterfly them as soon as possible.

My filleting skills are OK but I’m no pro, I tend to use a strong pair of scissors to cut through the top of the mouth through the top of the head and then use a sharp filleting knife to cut right down one side without cutting into the belly.

Once the cut is done (I prefer the traditional method of leaving the head on), unfold the fish to reveal the guts and gills, pull both out.

Butterflied Herring

I do them all in one go and keep the freshly cut fish in a bowl and then pull out the innards all together and rinse all the fish.

Prepare a simple 70% brine solution (232g of PDV salt to 1 litre of water) by mixing cold water and the salt – I prefer PDV salt for most curing I do as it is cheap (about £15 for a 25Kg sack delivered from Amazon).

Depending on the number of fish and amount of brine, either place all the fish in the brine in a bowl or in a strong food grade polythene bag.

Keep the fish in the brine for an hour and a half, keep in the fridge during the brining.

Once the brining has finished, pour away the liquid and wrap the fish in towels and put back in the fridge over night (don’t wash off the brine).

The next day, first thing in the morning, I prepare the smoke house (you can do this in a BBQ with a cold smoke generator). Ideally you want to cold smoke the fish for 24 hours.

Herring hanging in the smokehouse next to some Salmon

I hang the fish on the wire rack in the smoker and pass a wooden skewer through the gills to hang them vertically which helps the moisture drain out.

Choice of wood for smoking is personal preference and the traditional method is 100% Oak but I usually make a blend of 70% Oak, 20% Cherry and 10% Beech.

Keep the smoker going for 24 hours if you can or if you can’t keep it going over night then a bit of gap in between smoking won’t cause you a problem.

Once the fish is smoked the kippers are ready! You probably won’t be able to resist eating one immediately but the flavour develops if you can leave them a few days.

I tend to vac pac them straight out of the smoker to keep me from getting into trouble and smoking the whole house out, you can pop them in the freezer then too and they stay in better condition if vac packed.

There’s not much that can go wrong and you’ll end up with the best kippers you’ve ever tasted at a fraction of the price you’d pay for commercially produced kippers.

Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!

Magret de Canard Fumé (Easy Home Cured and Smoked Duck Breast)

This is my favourite way to eat duck breast, we discovered it in the Dordogne region of France where we tried several different producers.

The duck is best to eat a few days after the cold smoking and is great with crusty bread very finely sliced with a carpaccio knife.

At home we get our duck from the local butcher or the Cornish Duck Company at farmers’ markets in Helston.

Print Recipe
Magret de Canard Fumé (Easy Home Cured and Smoked Duck Breast)
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 weeks
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 weeks
  1. Start with the very best duck breast you can get and trim the sinew off, give it a little massage to get rid of any blood still in the arteries, make sure it's well plucked and cut away any bits of flesh that are bloody. I usually detach the bits of loose skin which makes a nice duck jerky to snack on when slicing the main breast for friends.
  2. Mix the salt and sugar together in a plastic food box, add the duck and massage the salt/sugar mix into the flesh and the skin, ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Pour in the molasses and make sure the breasts get a good covering of it, I often use a fork to spread it around. Put the lid on the box and put it in the fridge for 3-5 days (longer if you prefer it more cured, less time if you like it a little more rare) Turn the breasts over every day but leave the liquor in the box.
  4. Once you're happy that the breasts have been cured enough for you, take them out of the fridge and wash all the cure off and out of the box, pat dry the breasts and wrap tightly in cheese cloth or an old tea towel and put back in the fridge uncovered to dry for upto a week.
  5. At this stage the duck is ready to eat if you don't want to smoke it.
  6. If you prefer it smoked (I think it makes all the difference) then give it a cold smoke over a fruit wood for 4 hours.
  7. I built my own smokehouse which is a bit flamboyant but I smoke a lot of fish and meat. If you don't have a smoke house then a cold smoke generator and a kettle BBQ is all you need - I have used a ProQ smoker for many years and still sometimes use it in the smoke house - See https://www.proqsmokers.com/cold-smokers In my opinion Cherry Wood is the best for smoking duck but you could use Oak, Apple, Beech or whatever you have. Once you've smoked the duck, put it back in the fridge - it will make the fridge a bit smokey but wrap it well in a tea towel again and then just take it out and slice as you like.
  8. It's best to give it a few days if you can resist temptation before devouring, it should be OK for a month or more in the fridge but if I think I'm going to have it around for a while I tend to vac pac it and that also keeps the smokiness in.