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Smoked Mackerel

The mackerel are running in Eastport, and the family brought home a cooler full!

We have an old  recipe given to my husband from a family friend who brought it from Ireland. It is the perfect “holiday treat” during the long winter months. The fillets are brined, dried for a few hours to *glaze*, then smoked. Delicious!

Smoked Mackerel

Mix the brine: 

1/2 gallon of water

1/2 cup canning salt

1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. You can warm this, but cool it to room temperature before use.

Pour over your fish fillets, and weigh them down with a sandwich plate, so they remain under the liquid. Brine for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove fillets and dry each one before placing in a single layer on a cookie sheet. We use a parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

Allow brined fillets to air dry for up to 3 hours, or until a glaze has formed on the surface.

Smoke fillets in cold smoke for 4 hours. We love our fish with a bit more smoke flavor, so 4 hours work for us. After smoking, I seal fillets in a food saver bag and freeze until I need them.

Ideas for use:

  • Eat plain, with crackers
  • Combine with cream cheese and use as a spread
  • Flake with a fork, and add a bit of mayo. This makes a flavorful substitution for tuna.
  • Add a piece of fillet toward the end of the cooking time in a spaghetti sauce, stew, or soup. Think of it as a farmer’s anchovy.

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