Arbroath Smokies

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Arbroath smokies 

Arbroath Smokies — a speciality of the town of Arbroath in Angus, Scotland, smokies are small haddocks which are split, gutted, closed again and smoked whole. In 2004, the European Commission registered the designation “Arbroath smokies” as a Protected Geographical Indication under the EU's Protected Food Name Scheme, acknowledging its unique status.


  • Arbroath smokies are prepared using traditional methods dating back to the late 1800s.

  • The fish are first salted overnight. They are then tied in pairs using hemp twine, and left overnight to dry. Once they have been salted, tied and dried, they are hung over a triangular length of wood to smoke. This “kiln stick” fits between the two tied smokies, one fish on either side. The sticks are then used to hang the dried fish in a special barrel containing a hardwood fire.

  • When the fish are hung over the fire, the top of the barrel is covered with a lid and sealed around the edges with wet jute sacks (the water prevents the jute sacks from catching fire). All of this serves to create a very hot, humid and smoky fire. The intense heat and thick smoke is essential if the fish are to be cooked, not burned, and to have the strong, smoky taste and smell people expect from Arbroath smokies. Typically in less than an hour of smoking, the fish are ready to eat.


  1. Golden brown and headless, they need no further cooking and can be eaten cold, with buttered toast or cut up in a salad.

  2. They may also be buttered outside and inside and lightly grilled or warmed in the oven.

  3. For a tasty first course, smokies can be filleted and served in a light cheese sauce.

Cuisine: Scottish

Category: Fish and Seafood

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