Mackerel, a tasty fish swimming in the North Sea
Mackerel is mainly found in the northern part of the North Sea. Together with the tuna, the mackerel is part of the mackerel family. The mackerel can be recognised by its blue-green top and side with black lines. The fish is known as a fast swimmer, which is why it has well-drained muscle tissue. As a result, the flesh is brown to red in colour. On average, a mackerel is about 30 cm long and weighs 750 grams. Just like salmon, mackerel is an oily fish and therefore rich in omega 3.
Hot versus cold smoking
Do you love BBQ, but fancy a completely new experience? Then choose one of the Barbecook smokers: the Oskar, a sturdy model with numerous possibilities or the Otto 2.0, a smaller electric smoker. When you want to prepare mackerel in the smoker, you have two options: you can choose for cold smoking or hot smoking. Both techniques require a different preparation and technique. If you choose for cold smoking, you first have to brine your fish for several hours. This process enhances the flavour and preserves the succulence. After this, you place the fish in the smoker for a long time. Make sure that the temperature does not go above 25°C! If you plan on doing a hot smoking session, your fish also has to be salted beforehand for several hours. For hot smoking, smoking chips or wood chunks are used. These provide a fantastic and subtle flavour. For hot smoking, the temperature in the smoker should be between 50 and 75°C.
Preparation of cold smoked mackerel
For the preparation of the cold smoked mackerel, we use the Barbecook Oskar and the Barbecook cold smoke generator. For the taste we choose Barbecook’s alder smoking dust. This provides a soft and sweet touch and goes perfectly with fish and seafood.
Before you start the cold smoking process, the mackerel has to be salted. To do this, make a mixture of ¾ coarse salt and ¼ brown sugar. Coat the mackerel completely with this mixture and leave to rest for about 12 hours in the fridge. If desired, you can also add bay leaf, thyme or juniper to the brine. After 12 hours, rinse the mackerel and dry it with kitchen paper. After this, the mackerel should rest for about 12 hours in a cool place.
Fill the cold smoke generator with the alder smoking dust, put the tea light in its place and set the smoke generator on the grid of the Oskar. Light the tea light with the Barbecook lighter and blow it out when the smoking dust begins to smoulder. Hang the mackerel securely on the hooks of the Oskar and close the lid. Open the air supply holes, so that a good air circulation is possible. Now give let the cold smoking continue fora bout 8 hours. This gives the mackerel a delicious golden-yellow colour and a sublime smoky flavour! I bet you’ve never eaten such delicious cold smoked mackerel before!