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Appetite for Smoke and Soul’s smoked meats on rise as firm invests in new premises

When it comes to finding some of the best smoked meat in the north-east, Smoke and Soul’s Corey Milne and Lindsay Jackson are just the duo you need to know.

When couple and former oil and gas workers Corey Milne and Lindsay Jackson decided to put their love of food first after leaving the industry for good, they never envisioned nearly four years later they’d be operating in their own industrial-sized smokehouse.

Featured as the first street food firm in our Street Food Scran series which celebrates street food in the area, Smoke and Soul has now moved into a new premises just a few months back.

Throughout the past four years the business has diversified from its original event catering model to now being a smoked meats manufacturer, and it is also in its second year of its first kitchen residency.

Some of the smoked meat buns available at Smoke and Soul.

Given the chance to take over the food operation at Aberdeen’s Six Degrees North bar on Littlejohn Street, Corey and Lindsay have spent the past four years building a reputation for themselves in the north-east as the ultimate smoked meat firm.

Increasing their team during the coronavirus pandemic to nine, including themselves, the couple say this is just the beginning for Smoke and Soul, with plenty of fire in their bellies to continue to bring their dream to life.

Corey Milne and Lindsay Jackson.

Lindsay said: “When we started off we were just interested in doing street food events. We still worked full-time jobs and we didn’t really know what would happen. We did it part-time at weekends and we started getting involved in events. We reached out to BrewToon, Fierce Beer and Six Degrees North who had a brewery but didn’t offer food.

“We did a lot more pop-ups with beer bars as beer and barbecue go so well and then we started getting private bookings. We said we’d try do five to 10 street food events in the first year but ended up doing 27. It really took off, and, we were still working full-time.

Making up a wrap at a street food event.

“Six Degrees North offered us the food residency at their Aberdeen bar two years back and because I knew redundancies were coming at my job, Corey had said I should take it on. It was totally out of my comfort zone to do it alone. The longer we sat on it the more we thought about it. We ended up biting the bullet and went for it. We moved in in June 2019.”

Meat packs

Celebrating their fourth year in business this October the duo launched their popular meat packs near the start of the pandemic which customers ordered in mass.

With Corey a keen cook and barbecue enthusiast, the duo put the products online and the demand for them took off.

Smoked meat.

She added: “It was December 2019 we started speaking about our meat packs. Family and friends wanted us to make them for them. The way we smoke our products, it is hard to bring it hot to events, so early on we figured out how to make the best smoked heat and how to reheat it the best way. We vacuum pack the meat and reheat it sous vide style when we go to events.

“The retail product was already there – we were just using it ourselves. We opened it up to our customers and then Covid-19 hit and events were cancelled. Everything was shut and we had a fridge full of meat packs. We put them online and it took off.

“Two weeks into lockdown we were back into takeaway and it also took off. The bar reopened and takeaway got busier and busier, we couldn’t keep up with the demand for meat packs.

Smoke and Soul’s loaded fries with their smoked meats.

“We don’t advertise the meat packs just now as we’re so busy but it is like a secret meat pack buyers club we have going on now. Those who used to buy them from us continue to do so. We’ll be relaunching our retail products in September and we’ve got some businesses lined up to stock them, and we’ll sell them online.”

Second venue

Moving into a new home near Bridge of Don to help accommodate the demands of the business, Lindsay and Corey are looking forward to welcoming customers and friends of the business to the new space once restrictions on events and gatherings are eased further due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We realised in summer last year we needed to find a second venue for production and smoking. It takes up so much space having all the meat so we wanted to have somewhere separate,” said Lindsay.

Corey Milne cooking in the kitchen and one of Smoke and Soul’s burgers.

“The unit at Bridge of Don has a huge yard so we’ll be able to host events there ourselves. It has office space and space for us to do everything we need to do. We took it on in December and it took around three months to get it renovated. We smoke all the meat there and then just supply our team at Six Degrees with the meat.

“When we first built the kitchen in it, we made the kitchen much bigger than we needed but we’re already starting to find it is getting filled. We had to get a 20ft fridge container for outside as we’re running out of space. We want to do events from it, too, so we’ll wait until the time is right for that.

One of Smoke and Soul’s wraps at Backyard Beach Collective in Aberdeen.

“Our main food operation will continue to be Six Degrees and we’ll be getting involved in more events as well. We’ve recently taken part in the Backyard Beach Collective in Aberdeen and look to take part again in August if we can.”

The business is also available for takeaway on Deliveroo and other delivery platforms.

Map of street food vendors in the north and north-east

For more street food content…

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.