Quick cured, plank smoked mackerel

Quick cured, plank smoked mackerel

I was at the Cambridge market buying some fish and these mackerel looked amazing. They looked so fresh. I bought them and then wanted to try cooking them in a different way. 

I’ve seen a very quick cure being used on Masterchef or Great British Menu. I have also seen it being used with just blow torch to crisp up the skin. I thought though I’d also like to impart some smokiness so decided to cook the fillets on a plank following the cure. It worked a treat. 

Cooking surfaces

Cast Iron Grid

BBQ Temperature



  • 2 whole mackerel or 4 mackerel fillets
  • 150g table salt
  • 150g granulated sugar



  1. Take two of your grilling planks and soak them in a tray of cold water. I weigh them down. Soak them for at least an hour.
  2. Set up your Big Green Egg for a direct cook at 200°C using the cast iron searing grid or stainless grid. I like to use the cast iron to get a bit more smoke.
  3. Take your sugar and salt and mix together in a bowl to make your cure.
  4. With each of your mackerel fillets, cut in a V shape on either side of the backbone to remove the bones. I actually cut the fillets in half lengthways.
  5. In a non-reactive pan or glass dish, put some of the cure mix into the base and then place on your mackerel fillets. Now cover them with the cure and leave for 15 minutes.
  6. Following the cure, take out the fillets and wash off the cure under cold water. Pat dry.
  7. Take your planks from the water and put them onto the Egg with the surface you’re going to cook your fish on facing down. Leave them for about 2 mutes to dry.
  8. Take your planks from the Egg and place your mackerel fillets onto the dry side of the plank.
  9. Place these back into the Egg and grill for about 5 minutes until the mackerel cooked.

You could if you wanted blowtorch the skin of the fish or even pan-fry it skin side down for 15 seconds in a searingly hot pan.

If you’d like a sauce to go with this, try mixing some horseradish with mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon as we use in our salmon baskets.

The video below shows the live cook. 


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