Smoking Foods: Modern Methods

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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During the 19th century improvements in transport, notably the building of railways, allowed less drastic methods of preservation to be used. When the use of refrigeration became general, the tendency was reinforced. Smoked fish was one of the first types of food to benefit from this. Around 1835 a new type of lightly salted, lightly smoked bloater (see herring) was first made at Yarmouth.

In 1843 or shortly before, John Woodger of Northumberland invented a new kind of smoked herring which he called the ‘Newcastle kipper’, a name deliberately taken from the older ‘kippered salmon’. Thus was born the famous British kipper, prepared by splitting and gutting, lightly salting, and smoking them overnight. In the next few decades these kippers almost completely took over the market from the old salty red herrings. At the same time the Scottish smoking of haddock became lighter, to produce the ‘Finnan haddie’, a golden-yellow split fish. (For this and similar products see haddock.)