I was asked in PM to give some advice on smoking mackerel and so I have put together some Q-view that will hopefully help.
I picked up 6 mackerel from the fish counter at my local supermarket. They are better when fresh from the sea but these looked quite good. Unfortunately this was done at night and the florescent lights in the kitchen do not do justice to the fish.
The fish were filleted and pin-boned with the bony collars still left on
If peppering the mackerel you can either do it before the cure or after. I usually do it before however if you want that cracked pepper effect on the finished fish then lay them on a bed of coarsely cracked pepper just before smoking.
One photo I did forget to take was the fish with the cure. I use a 1:1 weight for weight coarse grain sea salt and sugar cure. The fillets are placed on a wire rack to allow the removed water to drain underneath and the top surfaces of the fish are sprinkled with the cure until the top surfaces are all lightly, but completely, covered.
As mackerel fillets are quite thin they only need to be cured for 2.5 hours.
Once cured, rinse off all remaining cure under cold running water and pat dry with tissues.
The fish can be smoked on the wire racks but if you are going to hang them in the smoker then they need to be stringed and a skewer inserted to stop the fillets from distorting.
Leave to stand in the fridge overnight to allow the remaining moisture in the fish to equilibrate.
Cold smoke for 12-18 hours with a good air flow through the smoker to help remove water. I smoked these at 27 C (80 F) but they can be smoked at a lower temperature for longer.
When they come out the flesh is quite firm to the touch and has an oily coating.
Remove the strings and skewers and leave in the fridge for several hours to chill before packing.
These fillets will need to be cooked before eating but they can either be cooked in the same way as kippers or they can be baked in the oven at 180 C (350 F) for about 8-10 minutes.
I hope this helps.
Edited by Wade - 11/26/15 at 1:01pm