How to Smoke Mackerel

Barbecue smoked mackerel cooked low and slow over oak wood. Rich in fishy flavor and matched with an easy dry brine, this is as good as smoked fish comes. Find out everything you need to know with our hot smoked mackerel recipe.

homamde barbecue smoked mackerel recipe

Smoked mackerel is unlike any other type of fish. Unlike white fish like haddock or smoked tilapia, it’s an oily fish that is packed full of moisture and flavor. This makes it perfect for hot smoking. Best of all, it couldn’t be easier to do at home!

In our simple recipe, we prepare the fish in a dry brine consisting of just salt, before smoking each mackerel fillet for a couple of hours over low heat.

You can season them with black pepper and mustard, or just the fillets alone! The fish oil does wonders at locking in moisture and natural smokey flavors from your grill’s coals, and is a cut above any store-bought mackerel.

backyard smoked mackerel in grill abskets over low heat charcoal
smoked mackerel cut into small fillet piece resting on chopping board
beau tiful orange colored mackerel piece on fork
homemade barbecue smoked mackerel recipe
4.75 from 20 votes

Smoked Mackerel

Barbecue smoked mackerel cooked low and slow over oak wood. Rich in fishy flavor and matched with an easy dry brine, this is as good as smoked fish comes.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 6


  • Oak wood chips
  • Water Pan


  • 6 mackerel gutted and cleaned
  • ½ cup kosher salt


  • Apply the kosher salt to the mackerel, sprinkling both sides on each fillet. Leave fish to dry brine for 45-60 minutes.
  • Rinse mackerel with tap water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a cooling rack to dry completely.
  • Heat up smoker or charcoal grill to 275°F (135°C). If you are using a charcoal grill, set up for indirect grilling with your coals placed up at one end of the grill chamber.
  • When your smoker is at cooking temperature, place mackerel on grates and cook for two hours. The fish will be done when it has developed a golden brown color and flakes when touched with a fork or prongs.
  • Remove from smoker or grill. Either carve into smaller pieces or enjoy whole.

Still hungry? Check out more BBQ posts

best grill baskets 6 Best Grill Baskets of 2022 [Fish, Vegetables, Cages, & More] - Grill baskets are the go-to tool for all grilled fish and vegetable lovers. They keep fragile food intact and stop… ...
best smoked seafood fish recipes haddock 8 Best Smoked Seafood Recipes [Barbecue Fish, Crab, Lobster] - Smoked fish and seafood are unlike any other barbecue meat. They offer protein-rich variety, ranging from buttery crab legs to… ...
smoked shrimp in foil packet with butter Smoked Shrimp Recipe [Butter, Lemon & Hickory] - This smoked shrimp recipe combines fresh shrimp with a butter sauce, spicy rub, and lemon zest for the perfect flavor… ...
smoked crab leg recipe How to Smoke Crab Legs - Beautiful king crab legs smoked over oak and basted in butter and spice mix. The perfect seafood barbecue recipe for… ...
how to cold smoke salmon How to Cold Smoke Salmon [Brine, Cure & Recipe] - Cold smoked salmon is the perfect way to enjoy one of our favorite plates of fish. Made with a salt-water… ...

Get BBQ recipes straight to your inbox!

    We respect your privacy and will never spam you. Unsubscribe at anytime.