M.V. Smokehouse offers smoked seafood done right

Gus Leaf, left, and Nathan Gould of Martha's Vineyard Smokehouse at the West Tisbury Farmers Market earlier this summer. Photo by Bella Bennett

“We believe in truth with our product, and catching only local fish is what our business relies on,” states Chef Nathan Gould of the Beach Plum Restaurant in Menemsha, and most recently of Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse, a new venture he started with Gus Leaf, a friend and local fisherman.

“Gus and I started the business about 2 years ago, after a long process of HACCP (a food safety management system through the FDA) plans and meetings with the state, when we finally received the license to do wholesale and retail smoked seafood products. The idea of Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse started while we fished together and thought about different ways to use the fish.” After many brainstorming sessions, they experimented with wet and dry brines, different smoking temperatures, and using different woods. Eventually they explored a dry brine hot hickory smoked product that makes the Bluefish Filet and Bluefish Spread, which have become their signature products.

All of the fish prepared by Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse is caught by Gus and handled with extreme care; he bleeds and ices the fish as soon as it is caught to cool the fish and preserve the meat as best as possible. This process also eliminates blood and oil, which can sometimes lead to an unwelcome taste.

Gus and Nathan regularly attend the West Tisbury Farmers Market, where they sell their Bluefish Filet and Spread and other unique specials, including smoked bonito, smoked yellowfin tuna, smoked sea bass, and smoked Menemsha mussels.

You can also find Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse products at Alley’s Farm Stand, Fiddlehead Farms, Chilmark General Store, and the Edgartown Meat and Fish Market. The product has been so well received that local restaurants, including Isola, the Beach Plum, and Alchemy, are using it in their dishes as well.

The guys are looking to make this a year-round venture, so be sure to look for them through the winter as well. Rumor has it they’ll be smoking scallops — we can’t wait to find out more about that.

Visit Martha’s Vineyard Smokehouse at the Farmers Market, or follow them on Facebook at bit.ly/MVT_Smokehouse to learn more.