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Barbecued Mackerel

Mackerel barbecue
Image | Matt Slater © Copyright | Matt Slater


Whole mackerel - fresh as possible -preferably within a few hours of being caught. 



Barbecue - preferably use lumpwood charcoal from a sustainable source or a gas barbecue.


Mackerel that has been freshly caught - preferably line caught and kept on ice and then prepared and cooked within a few hours of capture has a fantastic firm texture and as long as its not over cooked it has incredible moisture and taste. 

Gut and clean the mackerel

 this is easy - just make a slit along the belly of the fish, pull out the contents and then wash. 

There is no need to remove scales, you can cut off the fins and head but this is optional.

Barbecue the whole fish on its side over some moderately hot coals. 

Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until the skin starts to burn and go crispy.

The mackerel will fall apart if you turn it too often so keep interference to a minimum.

Oils from the fish may cause the coals to flare - make sure you can easily lift the fish away from flames - by raising the grill or by moving them. 

The skin will break up and eventually crisp off - don't worry if it goes a bit black - the oils in mackerel make it quite hard to over cook.

Check that the meat has turned from pinkish to pale brown throughout and it is hot right through. Now its cooked! 

Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon or lime.

Serve with good brown bread and some salad.

The meat easily comes away from the bones. Make sure you carefully remove the meat from the rib cage as the rib bones are the only ones to worry about. Any other small bones can easily be chewed up with some bread. 




Ring Netting

Cornish waters VIIe, f, g and h

Ring nets are used to encircle a shoal of pelagic fish. the main target species are sardines and anchovies but occasionally there is a by catch of mackerel landed.

Gill Netting


Gill nets are used during winter months on the south coast to target mackerel.

Hook and line

Cornwall areas VIIe and VIIf

Mackerel handling is a low impact, selective method of fishing using hook and line.

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