Smoking (Smoked Mackerel)


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Home Made

By Yvette van Boven

Published 2011

  • About

Hot smoking is quick and gives a better result than smoking too long which is disgusting and makes your food taste like an ashtray. If you are not sure the food is ready, you can always reheat it in the oven or fry it in the pan. You have to acquire some skill here as you will notice that fatter fish varieties, larger cuts of meat or firmer vegetables have to smoke for a long time, say, 30 minutes, and small, light items, only a very short time: Sometimes 5 minutes will do it! smokers tend to be expensive, but you can make one yourself for next to nothing. Use smoke chips, which you can buy in a good food store. But you can also use dried herbs, tea or spices. Just experiment, dried bay and juniper berry (twigs) are another option.


  • Clean 2 mackerels, or ask the fishmonger to do it for you. Either way, wash them briefly at Home.

  • Then place them in a tray with salted water for 2 Hours. I use 3 tbsp salt for 2-3 litres (8-12 cups).

  • Pat the fish dry, including the abdominal cavity (which you can fill with lemon, or other Herbs).

  • Place the following in a roasting tin or on a baking sheet: 3 tbsp smoke chips, 2 tbsp Juniper berries and 1 tbsp fennel seed. Tea is another option.

  • Fold a sheet of aluminium foil in half and cover the smoke chips and Herbs.

  • Cover with a rack that fits on or into the roasting tin. This can be an oven rack, a rack from the microwave or a trivet, as long as it is Heat-resistant.

  • Place the fish on the rack, light the flame and wait until it starts smoking, turn down the flame...

  • ...Cover the lot with plenty of aluminium foil. Ensure there are no gaps, carefully close the edges. Use an oven mitt if your fingers are not flame-resistant.

  • This is a fatty fish and therefore I smoke it for 30 minutes. I would smoke a fish with less fat, such as white fish, for only 10 minutes and reheat it in the oven, if necessary.