Inverawe's smoked salmon is delicious, but it's this smoked trout that I really fell for. It's also the favorite of the family and all the crew at Inverawe. That's always a good sign when you're looking for good food—if the people who make it love to eat it, you should definitely try it. The depth of the flavor for the fish with the texture and slight smoke aura that hangs on each piece is amazing. My favorite smoked trout ever and sure to be a hit wherever you serve it.
The Inverawe smokehouse lies at the dead end of an oak-lined lane, downwind from the Campbell-Preston family’s centuries-old stone house. Walk past its black tar walls, keep the Awe river on your left, climb the foothill to Ben Cruachan, and you’ll leave tree cover quickly, coming upon hillocks of heather and gorse. You'll be surrounded to the north and west by Loch Etive, which empties, several miles west, into the Atlantic. The loch (lake), walled in by steep, treeless hills, holds the trout and salmon the family use. The forest along the road is where they collect windblown oak to fuel the smokehouse.
To smoke their fish, they use whole oak logs (not sawdust), employing no climate control beyond the fires they light. It’s the old way of smoking fish, rarely done today, and it’s quite tricky. They divert the smoke of the slow burning white oak logs into a small room where the fillets of salmon and trout hang. There are no temperature controls. It's traditional, the way it's always been done, but once HVAC and thermostats came around almost every fish smoker installed them and turned their back on free-form smoking. Instead, Inverawe retains smokemaster Tony Hynes. He shows up in the middle of the night and during holidays because fires never sleep.
The whole oak logs impart a more subtle flavor than the sawdust that most smokers use today. Inverawe's lean fish also have a firm texture. They don’t break down over the long smoke time. It’s one of the characteristics I first noticed about their fish and one that you'll pick up on right away.
You can use smoked trout any way you use smoked salmon. The color is almost identical. Many will think it is salmon—the best salmon they've ever had.
In February 2021, the Inverawe smokehouse burned down in a fire. Our hearts go out to the Inverawe team at this difficult time. They're working toward rebuilding their operation, but in the meantime, we don't have an ETA for when we expect to have any of their fish available again.