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Cooking with Tallyrand

RECIPE MACKEREL - how to smoke


home smoking of mackerel or other small fish fillets is very simple.

it can also be fairly mess free and easy clean up if you follow the instructions below.

I prefer to brine mine prior to smoking. This is a basic brine mixture, that once used can be adjusted the next time to suit one's own taste - decrease salt, increase sugar etc

but if you prefer try it without the brining process, but sprinkle the flesh with some of the salt, garlic and onion powder. Cracked pepper can also be sprinkled onto the flesh

a pictorial "how to fillet" can be found here

a pictorial "how to smoke" can be found here

water 1 lt
salt 125 gm
sugar (any type) or honey 65 gm
lemon juice 1 tbs
garlic powder 1 tsp
onion powder 1 tsp
rice 1/4  cup
tea leaves 1/2  cup
sugar 2 tbsp
salt 2 tsp
cracked pappercorns 1 tbs
garlic clove - chopped  2 - 3 pc
mackerel fillets 6 - 10 pc
  1. combine the water with the remaining brine ingredients in a deep sided tray, whisking to ensure salt etc is fully dissolved
  2. add the mackerel fillets, ensuring they are fully covered, place in the fridge for one hour
  3. remove and pat dry. It is best to have the fillets as dry as possible, they can be placed on a round wire cooling rack, a Chinese bamboo steamer or similar, place on a tray and place in the oven with just the fan on for approx 1 hour
  4. place the smoking ingredients in a bowl and combine thoroughly 
  5. place a large double layer of tinfoil onto a workbench
  6. place the smoking mixture into the centre of left hand side, fold the right side over
  7. fold the edges to form a neat, sealed parcel 
  8. with a pointed knife, make approx 12 slits/holes in the top (this parcel protects the base of your wok, and when cool can be easily and cleanly disposed of) 
  9. place into the base of a wok and heat on a medium heat until smoke starts eminating from the slits in the parcel. Turn up the heat until a lot of smoke ensues
  10. immediately place in the mackerel fillets (still on the rack or steamer) into the wok and cover with a tight fitting lid (or seal tightly with tinfoil)
  11. turn down the heat slightly and smoke for 5 minutes
  12. turn off the heat and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 - 15 minutes 
  13. remove lid, check the fish is cooked and smoked, if required re-cover and leave for a further 5 to 10 minutes 
  14. remove, place on a clean tray or plate, cover and place in the fridge until well chilled or eat while still warm 

chef notes

after your first smoke, adjust the timing to suit your own taste, if the smokiness is too strong for you, reduce timing by increments of 2 minutes until you find a smoke level that suits you