Friday, August 26, 2011

Smoking Mackerel

This post is dedicated to my crafty husband, Heron. No, he didn't sew me a pantsuit (do people actually wear pantsuits anymore?) or create my likeness in a life size collage using nothing but pasta shapes (though that would be cool). My ingenious husband concocted  a nifty little contraption to smoke mackerel.

In August, many locals, and lots of tourists, fish off the breakwater downtown. (A picture of the breakwater lined with said folks would be pretty nifty here, but you'll just have to use your imaginations.) They are fishing for mackerel, an oily fish that's not bad eating so long as you cook it shortly after you catch it. Actually, many folks don't even eat the mackerel, simply throwing them back in the ocean along with the sculpin that also often ends up on their jigs. But does Heron fish purely for pleasure? Hell no! He wants dinner! However, catching the fish and doing something easy, like pan frying, is just no challenge. Oh, no. Heron had long dreamed of a way to smoke the fish. Right in our own backyard. And wouldn't you know it? This clever, clever man finally figured out a way to do it. Check this out!

Just look at these smoked beauties!
So here's what he did. He pushed all the coals over to one side (it looks like he's added some smoked apple tree wood in there, too). He then cut the top off a tomato cage and placed that over a drip pan. The mackerel were brined in salt water for a couple hours. He then tied two fish together at the tail end with baker's twine and hung them over metal skewers that were placed atop the tomato cage. He put the cover over the whole thing and let it smoke for an hour and a half, I believe. And by all accounts, they were very good! It really worked!
Happy Heron with the fruit of his labors.

Kieran was also involved in the whole process. I think he actually caught more fish then Heron did on this particular afternoon!
Heron even made some sort of pate which he, Kieran, and Uncle Damon ate on fancy crackers. Now that's class! Actually, the real classy act was watching Heron and Kieran clean and gut the fish! Kieran was elbow deep in fish guts and loving every minute of it. He liked to discover what the fish had consumed for their lunch. He then proceeded to toss the guts to the chickens, who gobbled up this stuff like candy. Lucky chickens!
How wonderful that Kieran gets to fish for his dinner, and pull food out of our garden.
In other news, my budding scientist, who happens to love volcanoes, created one himself. Here's a look!

Check out the look on Kieran's face. He is in heaven! How I love this child...


  1. Yayyyy Heron! This is so cute, especially the last picture :)

  2. So fun! Isn't it fantastic to have such a clever and handy husband?

  3. that looks amazing delish..... btw... i found you through aisle to aloha.... gonna stay for a while i think...