Tips and tricks

Cold smoked mackerel recipes at home

Smoking fish is a canning method that increases the shelf life of a product due to the salt and chemical elements in the smoke. The preparation of raw materials and the technology of the process depend on the cooking temperature. Cold smoked mackerel after pickling is processed with cooled smoke, therefore it retains all amino acids and acquires an attractive presentation, taste and smell.

For cold smoking, whole or processed mackerel is used, the cooking technology does not change from this

General technology of cold smoking mackerel

Cold or hot processed fish are classified as snack foods. To get a quality product with a high gastronomic characteristic, it is necessary to smoke mackerel correctly, observing the sequence of cold smoking technology:

  1. They choose good quality fish, buy it fresh or frozen, and process it. Can be cooked whole or peeled (headless).
  2. Before cooking, mackerel is salted or pickled; for this, a brine or dry method is used.
  3. After marinating, the fish is washed and tasted, if there is a lot of salt, then soaked. It is dried, spacers are inserted into the gutted so that the raw material is better ventilated.
  4. Each carcass is placed in a special net for cold smoking, so it will be easier to hang the mackerel so that it does not come into contact with each other.
  5. Not all wood is suitable for cold smoking. For mackerel, take alder or beech.

Advice! You can mix the chips, then you get a dark golden color of the surface and a slightly tart taste.

After cooking, the mackerel is hung in a ventilated room for a day.

At what temperature to smoke cold smoked mackerel

The cold smoking process is longer, the product is not heat treated. The temperature inside the container should not exceed +30 0C. In the classical case of cooking, equipment with a smoke generator is used, the optimum smoke temperature is + 20-40 0FROM.

The duration of the process will depend on this indicator, if the mark is above the norm, cooking will be faster. If it is lower, it will take longer, but the nutritional value of mackerel will be higher. The presentation also directly depends on the temperature regime. With a high index inside the equipment, there is a risk that the fish will decay, the preparatory stage of raw materials for cold smoking is different.

How much cold smoked mackerel should be smoked

It will take longer to smoke cold smoked mackerel than at high temperatures. The indicator depends on the chosen method:

  1. To get a product similar in taste to cold smoked mackerel, it will take 5 days according to a recipe using an onion peel-based marinade. The raw material is pickled for three days and dried for two days.
  2. Using liquid smoke, a ready-made snack is obtained after 48 hours.
  3. Using an oven or multicooker will take 12 hours.

Cooking mackerel in the traditional way using special equipment will take no more than 16 hours and another day will be required for weathering. But here, too, the time will depend on the size of the fish, the size of the equipment and the intensity of the smoke intake.

Advice! Readiness is determined by the color of the carcass: it should be dark golden. If the surface is light, the process must be extended.

Is it possible to cook cold smoked mackerel without a smokehouse

Special equipment can be used outdoors. In stationary conditions of a city apartment, this method of cold smoking is difficult to apply due to the smell of smoke and the duration of the process. Not everyone has a summer cottage and smokehouse. Mackerel tastes as good as possible using liquid smoke, onion husks or tea leaves.

For a similar look, after cooking, you can coat the surface with sunflower oil. The taste of the fish will not differ from the carcass aged in the smokehouse, it will just take more time until it is ready.

They also use an oven or multicooker, here the preparation and cooking technology will differ from the classical method. The easiest way to add a cold smoked flavor to mackerel is to use a plastic bottle. This option is suitable if you need to cook a small amount.

Both fresh and frozen fish are suitable for processing

Selecting and preparing mackerel for cold smoking

To obtain a quality product with a good taste and smell, it is necessary to choose the right raw materials. Determining the quality of fresh fish is easier. It must meet the following criteria:

  • surface without mechanical damage;
  • the color is light gray, with clearly defined dark lines on a bluish background along the back;
  • fresh product has the whole carcass with a pearlescent tint without mucus;
  • if yellow tones are present, then the fish is not the first freshness, the color is given by the fish oil, which begins to rust;
  • there is no smell of mackerel. If it is, and even more unpleasant, the purchase should be abandoned;
  • the eyes are transparent, not protruding or sunken;
  • there are no traces of blood on the surface;
  • gills with a pink tint. If they are white or gray, then the raw materials are of poor quality.

The freshness of frozen carcasses is difficult to determine by smell, therefore, they are also guided by visual signs. If there is a lot of ice, then the product has been re-frozen. The color shouldn't be in doubt.


Frozen mackerel must be thawed before processing. This is done in cold water, it is not recommended to use warm or hot water, the process will not accelerate, and the taste and density of the fiber structure will be disturbed. Raw materials are taken out of the freezer, placed in a deep container and filled with plain water. Leave until the fish is completely thawed.

The surface of the mackerel is without scales, so cleaning is not necessary. The carcass is gutted, the entrails and black film are removed from the walls of the peritoneum. The head is cut off or left, the caudal fin is not touched. This is a complete treatment. If cold smoking involves the use of mackerel in its entirety, it is washed well and the gills are removed.


Salting is a prerequisite for the preparatory technology. Use medium-ground table salt, preferably without iodine additions. A mixture of 10 g sugar and 100 g salt is made, per 1 kg of fish. Bay leaves or allspice can be used as flavors. If cold smoking will take place on alder, you can add lemon juice to the salting mixture. The smoke from the beech chips itself imparts a slight acidic flavor to the product.


  1. Prepare a container for fish, preferably enamel or plastic.
  2. The carcass is covered with a layer of salting mixture from the outside and inside.
  3. If there are a lot of raw materials, it is distributed in layers, each is sprinkled with salt.
  4. A small amount, put the prepared dishes and pour the remaining mixture on top.

The raw materials are covered and refrigerated for 48 hours


You can prepare mackerel for cold smoking in a saline solution. To marinate 3 carcasses, you need 1 liter of water and 125 g of salt. Marinade is prepared as follows:

  1. Place a container of liquid on the stove.
  2. Salt is added before boiling.
  3. You can add bay leaves and peppercorns to taste.
  4. The brine boils for 5 minutes, then the gas is turned off.

The processed mackerel is placed in a container and filled with cold solution.

A load is placed on top so that the raw material is completely covered with the marinade. Put in the refrigerator for two days.


After salting, the mackerel is washed with cold water (preferably running). Cut a small piece from the carcass and taste it for salt.

Important! After cold smoking, the product will be saltier.

If the concentration is not satisfactory, the fish is soaked in cold water for 4 hours. Then it must be dried:

  1. Mackerel is placed in a special net, you can wrap it with gauze and dry it without using any improvised means.
  2. If the carcass is gutted, a spacer is inserted into the abdomen, matches or toothpicks are taken.
  3. Place the workpiece for cold smoking in fresh air or in a ventilated room.

When the moisture has completely evaporated from the surface, the raw materials are ready for cooking.

Hang the fish for drying by the tail fin

How to make cold smoked mackerel

There are several ways to get a high-quality cold fish appetizer. With the use of special equipment for this purpose and without it. A large number of recipes are offered, where the emphasis is on the composition of the marinade. Several options will help you make the best cold smoked mackerel with or without natural smoke.

Cold smoked mackerel in onion skins

The cooking technology is simple, the main thing is to observe the proportions of the marinade. As a result, you get an appetizer that is not inferior to the traditional method of cold smoking in gastronomic quality.

A set of components for the marinade:

  • onion peel - 2 cups;
  • mackerel carcasses - 3 pcs.;
  • water - 1 l;
  • coarse salt - 2 full tbsp. l .;
  • sugar - 20 g;
  • peas, pepper, cloves, bay leaf - to taste and desire.

Preparatory work:

  1. Pour liquid into a container and put on fire.
  2. Onion peels are sorted out so that there are no black fragments, washed.
  3. Put in water, boil for 20 minutes.
  4. Add all the components of the marinade, leave to boil for 5 minutes, turn off.

The processed carcasses are placed in a container, poured with cold brine, oppression is set, and closed. Put in the refrigerator (if it is summer) or on the balcony (in autumn), the temperature regime should not exceed +6 0C. Maintain raw materials in the marinade for 72 hours.

Then the brine is washed off the surface, suspended by the tail fin on the site or balcony. In summer, it is recommended to wrap the carcasses with gauze to protect them from insects. Dry the mackerel for two days until cooked. If there is a smokehouse, after 2 hours of drying, it is prepared using cold smoking technology.

The color of the finished dried product does not differ from the smoke-smoked fish

Cold smoked mackerel with liquid smoke

Fish prepared in this way does not differ in taste from a natural cold smoked product. The recipe is convenient because a large amount of mackerel can be processed at the same time.

For a marinade for 6 fish take:

  • water - 2 l;
  • liquid smoke - 170 ml;
  • salt - 8 tbsp. l .;
  • sugar - 2 tbsp. l.

The technology of the recipe for delicious cold smoked mackerel:

  1. The fish is processed, you can marinate whole or cut into pieces.
  2. The water is boiled along with salt and sugar until the spices are completely dissolved.
  3. When the solution has cooled, liquid smoke is poured into it.
  4. The fish is placed in a container and poured with marinade, the load is installed.

Withstand at a temperature of + 4-50 From three days. They are taken out of the brine, suspended by the tail fins for drying.

After being removed from the marinade, the mackerel is not washed.

How to smoke cold smoked mackerel in a tea pot

Tea leaves are used to add color to the finished product. For cooking 3 pcs. mackerel take:

  • water - 1 l:
  • salt - 3 tbsp. l .;
  • tea brewing - 3 tbsp. l .;
  • sugar - 3 tbsp. l.


  1. The tea leaves are poured into boiling water and the boiling process is maintained for 3 minutes.
  2. Add salt and sugar, leave on fire for another 5 minutes.
  3. The household appliance is turned off.
  4. Gutted carcasses (headless) are placed in a bowl and poured with cooled and filtered marinade.

The mackerel is immersed in a cold solution completely with the help of oppression. Kept in the refrigerator for three days. You can serve it like this or use a smokehouse.

Mackerel according to this recipe without cold smoking will be lighter

Cold smoked mackerel in the oven

You can make cold smoked mackerel using the oven. The technology excludes heat treatment, therefore, a household appliance is used to dry the pickled product:

  1. For the preparation of raw materials, a brine is made from 100 g of salt per 1 liter of water.
  2. The liquid is boiled and left to cool.
  3. 80 g of liquid smoke is added to the brine.
  4. Mackerel is poured with marinade and kept for three days.
  5. After the expiration of this period, they are washed and laid out on a baking sheet.
  6. Includes oven for 40 0C, put the fish.

Leave for 40 minutes, this time is enough for the appetizer to dry out and acquire the look and taste of cold smoked mackerel.

The finished fish is covered with olive oil, wrapped in a napkin and left in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Served with vegetables and herbs

How to smoke cold smoked mackerel in a slow cooker

It will not work to cook the carcasses whole, after processing they are cut into pieces. Pieces of 2 mackerels are placed in a container and sprinkled with salt and spices. Leave in the refrigerator for a day. Take out the salt and wash it off.

Cooking sequence:

  1. The preform is placed in a baking bag.
  2. Add 3 tbsp. l. liquid smoke, shake so that the flavor is well distributed throughout the bag.
  3. Water is poured into the multicooker bowl.
  4. Place a grid on top for steaming.
  5. They put a blank on it.
  6. Turn on the appliance for the "Steam cooking" function.

The required time for smoking mackerel in a multicooker according to the cold smoking recipe will be 20 minutes. On one side - 10 minutes, then the bag is turned over, and kept for the same amount.

Take the product out of the bag and leave it indoors for several hours to dissipate the excess smell of liquid smoke

Cold smoked mackerel recipe with smoke generator

This is a classic way to prepare a product. The fish is used whole, gutted and gills removed.


  1. Salt is taken in an arbitrary amount, peas, pepper and basil are added to it.
  2. They rub the carcass, pay special attention to the place where the gills were.
  3. Fold the workpiece into a saucepan, pour a bay leaf on top. It is preliminarily broken into pieces.
  4. Put a plate on top, oppression on it.

Important! The fish will be marinated for 3 days. If it is laid out in several layers, then after a day the carcasses are swapped.

Then they are taken out and the salt is washed off. Hang out to dry. To speed up the process, you can direct a stream of cold air from a fan to the workpiece.


  1. Chips are poured into the smoke generator.
  2. The fish can be hung in any container, a wooden or cardboard box, an iron box, the main thing is that it is hermetically sealed, and a pipe for supplying cold smoke is brought into it.
  3. The automatic mode is set.

It is necessary to smoke cold smoked mackerel with a smoke generator at a temperature not exceeding +300 C. Time of the process to readiness - 12-16 hours (depends on the volume of raw materials).

After the completion of the process, the fish is weathered for at least a day in a cold room with good ventilation.

Cold smoked mackerel in a bottle

A plastic bottle with a cut off top is used as a container for preparation. A container with a volume of 1.5 liters includes 3 medium-sized carcasses.

Marinade composition:

  • water - 1 l;
  • salt - 3 tbsp. l .;
  • onion husks - 2 cups;
  • sugar - 1.5 tbsp. l .;
  • tea brewing - 2 tbsp. l.

Brine preparation:

  1. Pour water into a saucepan and put onion husks.
  2. After boiling, add spices and tea leaves.
  3. Keep on fire for 5 minutes.
  4. After cooling, the liquid is filtered.
  5. The carcasses are processed, the head and entrails are removed.
  6. Put in a bottle, pour cold marinade, add 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke. Tied from above with a plastic bag.

They are sent to the refrigerator for 72 hours. Take out and dry.

Sprinkle cold appetizer on top with onions and serve along with boiled potatoes

Why cold smoked mackerel is soft, how to fix it

The main reasons why mackerel turned out to be soft:

  • low-quality raw materials, the fish was frozen several times;
  • the temperature regime for smoking is not observed;
  • the product is poorly dried beforehand, the residual liquid creates a film through which smoke passes poorly, so the fish will be soft;
  • defrosting conditions not met: oven or microwave oven used.

If the product tastes good and has no unpleasant odor, it can be included in the menu. It is almost impossible to correct the situation after cold cooking in a smokehouse. If the quality is in doubt, it is better to refuse to use.

Storage rules

Store mackerel in the refrigerator for no more than two weeks. The fish is placed in a bag or container so that nearby foods are not saturated with smell. You can freeze, this method will extend the shelf life up to 3 months, but be sure to place the carcasses in a vacuum bag and remove air from it.


Cold smoked mackerel completely retains its useful chemical composition, because it is not subjected to heat treatment. Before being placed in the smokehouse, the carcasses are salted or pickled, dried and only then cooked. To fully develop the taste, after the process, the mackerel is weathered for at least 24 hours. In the video you can watch cold smoking of mackerel at home from the moment of defrosting until cooked.

Watch the video: How To Build A Smokehouse (June 2021).