Taiwanese-Style Five-Spice Smoked Mackerel

Taiwanese-Style Five-Spice Smoked Mackerel

Smoking Type: Hot Smoking or Warm Smoking Recommended

To maintain the tenderness of mackerel, it is advisable to use moderate indirect heat.

The smoking time for mackerel varies depending on its size, but typically ranges from 30 to 45 minutes.



  • Mackerel fillets
  • Five-spice powder (Taiwanese spice blend)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks or star anise (optional)


1. Preparing the Mackerel

  • Lightly sprinkle salt and sugar on the mackerel fillets and let them rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse them and pat them dry thoroughly.

2. Marinating with Five-Spice Powder

  • Marinate the mackerel with five-spice powder. Sprinkle an adequate amount of five-spice powder evenly over the fillets and let them sit in the refrigerator for several hours to let the flavors meld.

3. Preparing the Smoker

  • Set up your smoker for cold smoking or hot smoking, as desired, and prepare the smoking chips. To enhance the Taiwanese aroma, consider adding cinnamon sticks or star anise to the smoking chips.

4. Smoking the Mackerel

  • Place the mackerel on the grill rack and position it inside the smoker. Smoke the mackerel using moderate indirect heat, typically taking about 30 to 45 minutes to infuse the desired flavor.

5. Adding Taiwanese Flavor

  • After smoking, lightly sprinkle more five-spice powder on the mackerel's surface for a finishing touch. Also, remember to remove any cinnamon sticks or star anise that were added during smoking.

6. Serving with Taiwanese Flair

  • Accompany your smoked mackerel with traditional Taiwanese sauces and condiments such as doubanjiang (spicy bean paste) or sweet bean sauce. You can also enhance the dish with lime or lemon for added acidity.

Note: After smoking, please ensure that the mackerel is cooked through. If the cooking is incomplete, you may need to increase the smoking time or apply additional heat.


Additional Tips:

To further enhance your smoking experience, we recommend the step of "soaking smoking chips in water." While this step is optional, it can improve the consistency of smoke distribution during smoking and add to your overall enjoyment. Here's how to soak smoking chips:

Soaking Smoking Chips:

  1. Place the chips in a small bowl or container.
  2. Add enough water to the container so that the chips are immersed in water.
  3. Allow the chips to soak for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Once the chips have absorbed enough water, remove any excess moisture. You can lightly squeeze the chips by hand or use a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Recommended Smoking Chips for Mackerel:

  • Hickory Wood: Offers a nutty aroma that harmonizes with the mackerel's flavor, providing a deep smokiness.
  • Apple Wood: With its fruity fragrance, it adds a refreshing touch to the mackerel, creating a balanced flavor profile.
  • Cherry Wood: Its sweet aroma provides a gentle accent to the mackerel, imparting a subtle smokiness.

Recommended Tea Leaves for Mackerel:

  • Dong Ding Oolong Tea: One of Taiwan's most famous oolong teas, known for its floral fragrance and honey-like sweetness. It adds a touch of elegance to smoked mackerel.
  • Oriental Beauty Tea: Featuring a refreshing jasmine aroma, it brings a floral flavor to smoked mackerel.
  • High Mountain Tea (High Mountain Oolong): Grown in Taiwan's high mountain regions, it has a rich aroma and a smooth taste, adding deep flavor to smoked mackerel.
  • Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea: With sweet jasmine floral notes and citrusy hints, it pairs wonderfully with smoked mackerel.

Enjoy your Taiwanese-style five-spice smoked mackerel!