Fish Fellowship Stage 4: Smoke Room

I spent my second day of my week-long apprenticeship in the Browne Trading in-house smoke room.  A small enclosed room above the Browne Trading retail marketplace held 2 large smokers that contributed to the line of Browne’s excuisite offerings from sweet and tiny Maine pink Shrimp, Scallops, Haddock, Trout, Sturgeon and Salmon.  Joe Vachon is the smoke master along with his assistant, John Donahue.  Although Joe is not a fish eater, the products that come from the large smokers are presise, consistant and have the perfect level of smoky nuances without masking the  fish’s flavors.  Using nothing but cherry wood chips, John stands guard at the smoker and reads the thermometer compulsively and adds chips and extiguishes a fire at a turn of a degree.  Though the Trout and maple smoked Salmon are amazing when ripped out of the package, there was truely nothing like eating a piece with just my fingers right out of the smoker still engulfed by the sweet cheerywood smoke.  In-between tasting large amounts of Maine sea spice Salmon (Joe’s siganture spice rub) and Shrimp , I helped package, monitor the smoker temperature, label product and spritz sides of Salmon with the all-purpose scotch spray.  John explained they used this spray for the salmon, to sanitize tables, and of course wet the old whistle from time to time (I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not).