Grilled Mackerel

The first time we had grilled mackerel, we were in the cafeteria at Mitsuwa Marketplace. To be honest, we wanted to order ramen, but we opted for the grilled mackerel to stay on our low-carb diet. And that kids, is how I met your m(ackerel) LOL

Mackerel is a delicious and affordable dish that is as simple as it gets. Every time we eat this we’re surprised that such a small fish could make us full! It may be small but about 90% the fish is edible. If you’re not used to eating small bones, you can easily pick them out.

Its meaty, flaky texture and fresh, mild taste pairs well with basically any side dish, such as miso soup, rice, salad, or grilled vegetables. We ate this with grilled mussels and miso soup, and it was so much fun cooking together!


Prep Time: 20 min

Cook time: 8 min

Servings: 2


  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • 2 tbsp sake (cooking grade such as Sho Chiku Bai)
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb daikon
  • 1 lemon

You will also need:

  • A charcoal grill
  • Charcoal, lighter, and lighter fluid
  • Skewers*
  • Grater (small size grates)


1. Cut each fillet in half so you have 4 pieces total.

2. Douse with 1/2 tbsp sake for each piece. Sprinkle each side with kosher salt.

3. Let rest for 20 min.

4. Grill 5 min on skin side, flip, then cook 3 min on the other side.

5. Serve with grated daikon and lemon wedge.

Helpful tips:
-*Metal skewers work best because there is less friction while skewering. Also, mackerel is very small, so thin metal won’t cause big damage to the fish. If you decide to use wood skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 30 min prior to grilling, and be careful not to tear apart the fish.

-If you don’t have a grill, don’t worry! Bake in the oven, skin-side down, at 400 deg F for 20 min or until golden brown.

– You may have noticed that we put a grill cover on top of a grill cover. That is because our little charcoal grill is more open and has a long history of our food slipping through and falling in the ashes LOL. We got another one with closed space, but it didn’t fit our grill! Hence we used both.

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