Hot Smoked Mackerel Pike with Sansho Peppercorn Seasoning.Very fresh mackerel pike fish or sanma or pacific saury fish butterflied from the belly side, cured with Japanese sansho pepper then hot smoked grill using indirect smoke heat from charcoal grill. Simple method bring a cheap fish into the next level of taste.
Mackerel Pike or Sanma (Pacific Saury) is a poor man’s salmon fish, simply because it’s delicious, loaded with nutritional value and also cheap. One serving of mackerel pike or sanma (100 gr) cooked in dry heat cooking like grilled or baked contains 1400 mg DHA, while in the same amount (100 gr) of grilled farmed atlantic salmon contains about 1500 mg DHA, So the nutritional amino acid od sanma fish is slighly lower than salmon fish, what a great deal!!! Sanma fish is the best option for baby food for brain and nerve tissues development. Sanma fish it’s much more cheaper than regular salmon while the DHA is slighly lower than the salmon. Sanma fish is a very good choice for feeding the adolesences and toddlers.
Making hot smoked mackerel pike fish is begin with the selection of the fish first; make sure you choose the the fresh fish as possible. Check the fish is smells fresh, the gills is still dark red, the eyes is clear and the meat texture is bouchy (bounch back when you gently pressed it with fingers), if one of this criteria jeopredized, throw it away because it’s not good for you. Any kind of fish suitable for this hot smoking recipe, so be experimental about it and feel free using your local fish product.
Mackerel Pike is quite bony fish, so i guess it’s better be deboned before hot smoked. To filet or remove any bones from the mackerel fish, first you made insicion in the middle of the belly, remove the innard. Carefully cut the mackerel back bone from the middle of the viscera, as close as possible to the bone to save the meat then cut away the backbone and left the tail behind for presentation. You can see the instruction how to butterfly the roundfish from the belly side
The ribs bone and some of the tiny bones in the middle of the mackerel pike fish filet can be removed with plier. I like my smoked mackerel fish fillet attached with it’s tail and head because hot smoking made it crisp and delicious. Do not throw away the backbone because you can seasoned it then Deep Fried Fish Back Bone and have your extra little snack.
I love smokey flavour, one of the comforting zone for me. Smoked mackerel is one of the oldest way to preserved extra harvest in the season. A number of wood smoke compounds act as preservatives. Phenol and other phenolic compounds in wood smoke are both antioxidants alongside other formaldehyde, acetic acid, and other organic acids,, which slow rancidification of animal fats, and antimicrobials, which slow bacterial growth.
Making hot smoked fish is easy, after you clean and debones the fish fillet, seasonen and cured then dry the surface, now you need to inisiate the fire first and let the block of dry wood turned into charcoal first. Never let the fire had any contact with the meat you want to hot smoked, not grilled or barbequed the fish so you should keep enough distance beetween the fish fillet with the firing wood.
You want to hot smoked fish, so keep the distance beetween the fire and smoking agent to the metal rack for hanging the mackerel fish. Once the wood turend into red charcoal, you can put it in the smoking chamber or a simple grill like me. Put the mackerel fish fillet in a metal net with at least 25 inches from the charcoal, you want the smoke that cooked the mackerel fish, not the direct heat from the charcoal.
Now we smoking the mackerel fish fillet, once your charcoal is ready and nicely firing out, now let’s begin to make the smoke, shall we ??? After the charcoal is firing out, you need to put smoke agent like soaked wood chips over the charcoal to let the smoke start generated. The other method to generate smoke is using fresh green leaves by laying it over the charcoal and let the smoke coming by to cooked the mackerel fish.
Hot smoking fish process is between 165 and 185 Fahrenheit (73-85C) and this temperature is definitely cooked the fish. Hot smoking exposes the foods to smoke and heat in a controlled environment. Although mackerel fish that have been hot smoked are often reheated or cooked, they are typically safe to eat without further cooking. Within this temperature range, fish are fully cooked, moist, and flavorful, if you let the temperature raised more than 185 °F (85 °C), the smoked fish will shrink excessively, buckle or even burned.
Hot Smoked Mackerel Pike Fish (Sanma) Recipe:
- 2 large Mackerel Pike Fish, Sanma or Pacific Saury Fish, gutted, cleaned, patted dry, set aside
- Curing for Mackerel Pike Fish : salt, sugar, white pepper & sansho peppercorn powder
- wood block, for making charcoal (you can use charcoal )
- woodchips, soaked in water for 10 minutes for generate the smoke
How to Make Hot Smoked Mackerel Pike Fish (Sanma):
- Cut open the sanma fish stomach and take out the guts
- Wash the sanma fish under a cold running water, rub and clean the reddish black part in the center of the cavity below the back bone
- Butterfly the fish from the belly and revove the pin bones with clean tweezer or pliers, you can see the instruction how to butterfly the roundfish from the belly side
- Pat dry the excess moisture using kitchen paper
- Mix the mackerel pike fish fillet with the curing ingredient, let it rest in fridge for at least 12 hours, discard the dripping liquid, patted dry.
- Once the mackerel pike fish is already cured, the texture will be firmer and the color turned darker
- Hung or exposed the meat with cured mackerel pike fish fillet, let the it the outside layer form a dry pellicle before hot smoking process
- Meanwhile, fire the wood block or charcoal until ready, put the wire netat least 45 inches above the charcoal, so the direct heat won’t too much contact the mackerel pike fish (you want the heat of the smoke touch the mackerel fillet)
- Scatter the soaked woodchips or sawdust, springkle with a little bit of water if necessary, let the smoke released
- Put the mackerel pike fish fillet above the wire net, do not overloded and kept some space beetween the meat so the heat of the smoke have a greater contact with the fish
- Keep the heat constant, let the smoke generate gently, ass more soaked wooodchips if necessary and cooked the meat until dry and the internal temperature reach 160 F (70 C), it takes above 20-30 minutes for 1 inch thickness mackerel fillet with gentle heat hot smoke