When I was working on the menu for my book launch recently with the Pembroke Hotel’s head chef, Grainne Somers, she mentioned that she had some prime venison hanging in her larder – “now if only I could smoke it” she said. Well, no sooner had she the words out than I was on the phone to my friend, Leo Connolly of Old McDonalds in Carlow. Old McDonalds is a one-stop shop for all your smallholding needs – whether it’s a drinker for your hens or a beginner’s cheesemaking kit, this shop has it all. It is a smallholder’s paradise. Anyway, one call to Leo and I found myself a few days later returning to the Pembroke with a Bradley countertop digital smoker in the boot of the car. While you might imagine smokers to be big awkward contraptions that would have no place in a regular home, this was actually no bigger than the size of a standard microwave. The instructions to get started were clear and concise, and in no time at all, Grainne and I were smoking our first loin of venison.
Oh boy, there was some excitement! The smoker was so incredibly simple to use and the flavour was amazing (you can choose bisquettes of various flavours like maple, cherry, oak etc to use in the smoker).
Priced at €250, this, to me, seems like great value. You will have the added cost of buying bisquettes to flavour your produce, but these are not too expensive, and buying a variety pack gives you the opportunity to try lots of flavours.
So if you are thinking of treating yourself (or a loved one) to something unusual, but functional for Christmas, this might just be it…
NOTE: This smoker was given to me to trial. I did not agree to write a review in return, nor was I under any obligation to promote Old McDonalds Farm & Food Store. Pictures courtesy of Grainne Somers. Contact Old McDonalds on 059 9179548 or visit www.oldmcdonald.ie