2 handfuls hardwood chips (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 mackerel fillets, about 1 pound, skin on
2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Soak the wood chips in water to cover for at least 1 hour, and as long as 24 hours. Mix together the salt and sugar and sprinkle the fish on both sides. Let sit for 30 to 40 minutes, refrigerated if the room is especially warm. Mix together the pepper, mustard and lemon juice and rub into the fillets; marinate for another 30 minutes.
If you are using a charcoal grill, remove the racks and build a small fire. When the coals are hot, move them to one side, top with the chips, and replace the racks. Drain the fish of its accumulated liquid, brush off any of the rub that has not dissoved, and place the fish on a sheet of aluminum foil. Put the foil on the side of the grill away from the coals. Poke some holes in the foil and cover the grill, closing all the vents but one. Check the fish for doneness after 15 minutes.
If you are using a gas grill, remove the racks, turn the heat of one burner to low, and top the lava rocks or heat plate over that burner with the soaked chips. Replace the rack. Place the fish on a sheet of aluminum foil; put the foil on the side of the grill away from the lit burner. Poke some holes in the foil and cover the grill. Check the fish for doneness after 25 minutes; it should be firm, with a shiny crust, and opaque but not dry inside.
Fried Spanish Mackerel with Cilantro Sauce
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
2 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 Thai chiles or 1 large jalapeño, thickly sliced
3 medium shallots, 1 thickly sliced, 2 thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packed cup cilantro leaves and small sprigs
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water
4 ounces fresh pork fat, cut into small dice, or 1/2 cup rendered lard (optional)
1 lb Spanish mackerel fillets with skin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large mortar, pound the garlic to a paste with the chiles, thickly sliced shallot and sugar. Add the cilantro and pound to a paste. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and water.
In a large skillet, cook the pork fat (substitute canola or olive oil if not using and just cook to heat) over moderately low heat until 1/2 cup of fat has rendered, about 20 minutes. Discard any solid bits of fat. Season the mackerel with salt and pepper. Heat the fat until shimmering. Add the fish, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate, turn the fillets and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Transfer to plates. Add the thinly sliced shallots to the skillet and fry, stirring, until browned and crisp. Scatter the shallots over the fish. Spoon some of the cilantro sauce alongside and pass the rest of the sauce at the table.