Cask Strength Trout — Using ash and alder woods and a cure of Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon, Lewis Shuckman smokes mighty-fine Kentucky farm-raised trout, salmon and wild spoonfish (a large, rather prehistoric-looking type of sturgeon) and sells spoonfish caviar. The smoked trout we sampled was tender yet muscular, with a hint of vanilla-scented Bourbon.
1999-2000 Volume Three
The white-brick building at 3001 W. Main St. that houses Shuckman’s Meat Co. has been a West End landmark for generations, a friendly local butcher shop providing meats of unvarying quality even as the neighborhood around it changed.
But when Lewis Shuckman took over the family business back in the ’80s, he noticed something else was changing, too: “People were starting to eat less meat,” he says. “They wanted fish.”
It didn’t take Shuckman long to turn that observation into a new direction for the company: smoking fish for growing local and national market.
Using ash and alder wood and a secret bourbon cure, Shuckman smokes Kentucky farm-raised trout, salmon and paddlefish, a large, rather prehistoric-looking type of sturgeon.
This is gourmet fare and the prices reflect it, ranging from $20 a pound for smoked trout to $25 for smoked, bourbon-cured spoonfish or alder-roasted salmon. A version heavily coated with cracked black pepper is also deservedly popular. These items are full-flavored but delicate, with the smoke and bourbon contributing subtle flavors that don’t dominate the fish. Shuckman also packages spoonfish caviar at $60 for a four-ounce tin.
Shuckman’s fish products are available by mail order, e-mail (email@example.com) and at several local groceries and upscale restaurants, including the Seelbach’s Oakroom, which served the spoonfish at a lunch for President Clinton during his visit here last summer.