Ali's Smoked Mackerel with Horseradish

A tasty yet easy dish.

Smoked Mackerel with Horseradish Potatoes


  • 4 fresh mackerel fillets
  • 300g new potatoes
  • horseradish sauce
  • half a tub of creme fraiche
  • lemon juice
  • watercress or salad leaves
  • black pepper
  • salt - lots of it

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time : 10mins
Serves: 4

Cooking kit: Smoking box and woodchips

A smoked mackerel lunch is super easy, tasty and is suitably impressive- looking to the neighbours on the next pitch.

Obviously you can smoke meats or even halloumi cheese if you want, but fish is particularly quick and simple to do.

There are many options for kit when it comes to smoking on a barbecue – and it doesn’t have to be complicated. You need a barbecue with a lid. I use a smoking box from the Garden Gift Shop that nestles down between the heating elements on my barbecue. Or, it can be placed in glowing coals.

Alternatively you can use a very large old saucepan with a lid, put wood dust or chips on the bottom, place a makeshift grill in it (you can use one from a disposable barbecue) then place it over a gas hob flame to heat up and start smoking.
Choose your wood chips. I like beech or apple wood, but there are many different types that give subtly different flavours to the food. Just don’t use treated wood that might have chemicals on it.

Get prepped

Prepping Mackerel

  1. Soak your chips in water for about half an hour before you use them. This gives a longer burning time.
  2. When that’s done, place the smoke box under the grill, then fire up the barbecue (or place it in the glowing coals) and put down the lid for the smoke to start building up.
  3. Put your new potatoes on to boil.
  4. Now to prepare the fish. Make sure all of the bones are out of your fillet – ask the fishmonger to do this for you.
  5. Cover the bottom of a non-metallic bowl with salt. Lie the fillets skin down on this, then cover the top in salt. This is to draw the excess moisture out to enable the flesh to take up the smoky flavour. Leave for about 10 minutes then rinse the salt off and pat the fillet dry with kitchen roll.

Get cooking

mackerel ready to eat

  1. Lightly oil a piece of foil to place the fillets on, then pop on to the grill and close the lid quickly to avoid all the lovely flavoured smoke escaping.
  2. Mix about half a tub of full fat crème fraiche with a teaspoon of horseradish cream and the juice of half a lemon and some black pepper. When cooked drain the potatoes well and mix with the horseradish dressing.
  3. Check your fish. It is cooked when the flesh should is opaque and flakes when pressed with a knife. Average sized mackerel fillets should take no more than 5-8 minutes to cook.

You can serve this with a salad, watercress is lovely. In fact you could, flake the mackerel to incorporate it with the salad.

See our video of Ali preparing this Smoked Mackerel and Horseradish dish.