Spanish Mackerel

There are several different species of Mackerel that can be found in the world. The Spanish Mackerel is a very popular fish in Florida waters. It is a thin fish that weighs about two pounds. Due to its shape it is very strong and fast for its size, which is an appealing characteristic to sport fishermen. It’s back is a greenish blue color that fades into silver on its sides, with golden yellow spots along the sides. Spanish Mackerel have a mouthful of razor sharp teeth that often snap fishing line, so it is important to use leader when fishing for them. They can be frequently found at reefs, rock jettys, bridges and piers. They are commonly caught with spoons, live shrimp, and small baitfish.

Spanish Mackerel Teeth About 1 1/2 lbs

Spanish Mackerel are a schooling fish that are found in warm waters. They can be found in most Florida waters, inshore and offshore. They are in southern Florida’s waters year round. In the spring, as the water temperature rises, they make their way up to Florida’s northern waters. They remain there throughout the summer and when the water temperatures drop below 70 F, they make their way back to southern Florida and the northern fishermen have to wait for spring to see these fish once more.

Spanish Mackerel is known for its excellent flavor when smoked. Smoked Spanish Mackerel is a very popular dish and quite a delicacy. The reason for its great smoked taste is it is an oily fish. Fish that are oily are best when smoked because the oils keep the fish moist when smoked and cooked. It will have a better texture and mouthfeel as there is less drying. The final product is juicier as it retains more natural oils in its flesh. When smoking the skin is usually left attached to the flesh.

Leaving the skin on helps with hanging/drying and holding the juices in.

Smoking Process:

1. The fillets were immersed in 80° brine for 30 minutes.

2. Drained, then dried in the smokehouse at 120° F, until the fillets felt almost dry to the touch. The smoke exit damper was fully open to let the moisture out.

3.The hot smoke was applied for about 3 hours. Oak chips were used.

4. The fillets were left to cool, then packed in zip lock storage bags, labelled and dated, then stored in a refrigerator.

Below the effects of smoking can be observed.