Wild Atlantic Salmon Course
W i l d A t l a n t i c S a l m o n C o u r s e
09:30 am MEET THE MAKER
You will be welcomed in to the famous smokery of Sally Ferns Barnes for tea, coffee and homemade jam on toast with an introduction to Woodcock Smokery and the Sally Barnes Method, a description of the traditional technique of hot and cold smoking wild fish, developed over 40 years.
10:00 am BASIC HYGIENE
You will enter the workshop, change into working clothes and learn the Basic Hygiene principals of safe food production.
10:15 am SALMO SALAR
Meet the fish. Your first lesson will be about the Wild Atlantic Salmon. Here you will handle and learn about the physiology, provenance, mythological life cycle, cultural heritage and morphology of this legendary wild animal.
10:30 am FISH SKILLS
Your second lesson will take you thoroughly through the filleting process of your own Wild Atlantic Salmon, caught by the few remaining legitimate, traditional draft-net fishermen of the River Blackwater in Youghal. This will include knife skills and filleting, as well as learning how to extract the Salmon roe for production of Bottarga, which is a product unique to Woodcock Smokery and not found anywhere else on the globe. The carcasses will be reserved for use later in the afternoon.
11:30 am PRIMARY CURE: THE ART OF SALTING
Your third lesson will be in the art of salting. You will learn about the different techniques, elimination of free water, timings and weight ratios, cause and effect, and direct application of salt to your fillets of Salmon. These will remain under salt for up to 10 hours.
12:00pm LUNCH: THE WORKS
Knockdrum Stone Fort
You will enjoy a full tasting of up to 4 types of hot and cold smoked fish with detailed analysis of flavour profile, texture and serving/pairing suggestions as well as a curated selection of West Cork’s other renowned artisan produce, all in Neolithic Knockdrum Ring-Fort overlooking the Wild Atlantic, Woodcock Smokery’s big blue larder
13:30pm THE SCIENCE OF WOOD-SMOKE
Your fourth lesson will be in the science of wood-smoke, looking at the variety of hardwoods suitable for smoking and their effects on flavour and preservation.
13:45pm CONTROLLING FIRE
The kiln drawers will be packed in preparation for firing and overnight smoking. You will learn about the variables of any given day, like humidity, temperature, the weather, how these affect the fish during the smoke-cure and how to control them for optimal result.
14:30pm COASTAL HARVEST
Discover and identify the best hidden edibles of the Smokery’s environs on an epic foraging trip for the evening feast at the Smokery.
(Photos of everything possible: Saoirse, lobster pot, mushrooms, spinach, shrimp, periwinkles, sally and the crab)
18:00pm SECONDARY CURE: FIRE HER UP!
Please note: depending on size of fish, this could be after supper
When they have had sufficient time, you will remove your salt-cured salmon fillets from the salt box, rinse them and remove any remaining blood by gentle manipulation. Then you will load the kiln with your fish, and ignite the hard-wood in Sally’s drawers. These will slowly cold-smoke overnight.
19:30pm STORIES OVER SUPPER
In the main house or around the fire in the garden
You will learn how to prepare and cook your foraged finds and enjoy some of the truly authentic and original recipes from coastal living in West Cork, whilst sharing some personal reminiscences and anecdotes of life as an artisan smoker and fisherman’s wife.
Check firebox if you feel the need!
Prior to embarking on a journey away from the smokery, you will be briefed on the precarious nature of working with wild creatures, over tea and toast.
09:30 TRIMMING, PINBONING AND THE TERTIARY CURE
After breakfast you will remove the fillets from the kiln and begin the essential process of trimming the skin and removing the pinbones to distinguish your truly world class side of wild salmon, ready for the next and final phase of the curing process where the fillets are returned to the kiln and smoke away for the rest of the day.
10:00 A DAY IN THE LIFE UNDER THREAT
OPTION ONE: The utterly unique, unprecedented opportunity to witness the vanishing, traditional inshore fishing method for actually Wild Atlantic Salmon. You will go out in a traditional wooden boat and shoot nets with the two of final generation still working the Blackwater in Youghal. Owing to the tidal nature of the fishery, there are limited days where this expedition will be possible. Dates on application.
OPTION TWO: The remarkable opportunity to witness the wild Irish Salmon in her own environment. Join Mark Boyden, champion of freshwater courses and wild Salmon expert as you take to the water in a wetsuit and mask for an aquatic adventure to observe the Salmon in their element. After this, you will visit a hatchery situated in the beautiful Coomhola valley, where Mark ranched wild salmon smolts for several years and be introduced to the Water Cycle, the wonders of the local natural world, and how your informed and active participation in environmental stewardship can improve the quality of life now and for those who will follow.
17:00 HEARTY CULLEN SKINK FOR TEA
Back to the Smokery for an early supper of Sally’s famous smoked haddock chowder, Cullen Skink.
18:00 PLENTY OF GUINESS AND AN OPEN FIRE
A chance to debrief from the day’s events at Lil McCarthy’s Pub in picturesque Castletownshend, five minutes away by car (transport provided).
Tea and coffee
Smoking Room / Packing Room
Your final moment of the process will be to open the kilns after they have been smoking away overnight. You will see what methods are undertaken in examining the Salmon for the perfect side, then you will bag up your beautiful wild salmon side and receive a Sally Barnes Method Wild Smoked Salmon certificate from the Woodock Smokery Keep.
Handkerchiefs at the ready as you say farewell to Sally and the smoker and embark on another fantastic adventure, somewhere amongst the hills of West Cork.
-Should you wish, for a postage fee of $15.50 Sally will send you your own cold smoked fish from the morning sessions in a chill pack for you to impress your friends at a convenient time for you
-Optional purchase of fish directly from the Smokery
-Purchase of exclusive Woodcock Smokery smocks
-If required, local accommodation can be organised for you
We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.