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simple BBQ’d devilled mackerel

This simple mackerel dish is a firm favourite with my family. It’s inspired by family camping trips to the Cornish Coast, where we spend weeks during the summer. We were served something similar to this dish in a seaside restaurant in the beautiful town of St Ives. In fact my eldest daughter didn’t talk through the entire meal, instead she sat happily devouring her lunch.

Firstly this uncomplicated meal takes minutes to prepare and not much longer to cook. However aside from it simplicity, it’s also worth pointing out that we only paid £2.44 for these 2 whole fish. Fresh mackerel is a wonderful oily fish, so as well as being tasty it’s good for you. Meanwhile devilled merely means we added some chilli heat to the marinade. Thereafter we paired this barbecued fish with a really simple tomato salad.

I bought my bucket barbeque in a small shop in Aberfeldy years ago. It’s lightweight and has a handle making it ideal for carrying to the beach. After all, who doesn’t love a barbecue on the beach? However, due to it’s compact size its also handy when you just want to cook a small amount of food.

Of course with this dish I continue with my crusade to help Michelle eat more fish. When we met years ago she simply didn’t eat fish and she certainly didn’t cook it at home. Her family love fish therefore I decided that this year was the year to change this. So what was the conclusion, did Michelle enjoy the dish? I believe so, as she finished her plate leaving only the tail and the bones!

Finally a huge thank you to the lovely Ellie from The Veg Company who provided us with the chillies and tomatoes that we used in this dish.

simple BBQ’d devilled mackerel


  • 2 whole mackerel (gutted)
  • 200g tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 red onion (finely sliced)
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley (chopped)


  • 2 chillies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

salad dressing

  • 2 tbsp smoked olive oil (extra-virgin is fine if you have no smoked)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper


Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and blitz together with a stick blender if you have one, if not a pestle and mortar will work also.
Make 3 large cuts into both sides of each fish and place in a dish. Pour over the marinate making sure it gets into the cuts, and set aside for an hour to marinate.
Get your barbecue started and allow time to get the coals white hot and for the flame to have died down.
Meanwhile place the sliced onion in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes to soften their sharpness, then drain away the water. Then place the tomatoes, red onion, watercress and parsley into a salad bowl and set aside.
Place all the ingredients for the salad dressing into a jam jar and give it a good shake to combine, then set aside.
Place the fish over the barbecue coals and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. The skin will bubble and become very crispy. Once cooked remove the fish immediately.
Dress the salad and serve it immediately, alongside the barbecued fish.

This recipe is linked up to Recipe of the Week.