The Steckerlfish, a Mackerel on a Stick

A delicacy is the “Steckerlfisch” a Fish on a Stick, which is a Spanish Mackerel that is grilled over a dug out pit with a grey layer of amber. This type of fish is one of my favorites visiting German or Austrian folk festivals.

The Steckerlfisch originates from the “kitchen” of the former Danube fishermen, and has been written about in books of the early 1900’s. More than 15,000 Steckerlfisch were sold and consumed at the Linz Fish Market alone.

Steckerlfish. Spanish Makrele, Fish on a stick
Spanish Makrele, the preferred for “Steckerlfisch

The Danube fishermen only used domestic white fish with a maximum size of 20 cm for their Steckerlfisch. German,-Austrian fish like Aiteln, Brachsen, Barben, Rotaugen or Näslinge were primarily used at that time.

In terms of taste, they are all very noble edible fish, but they have the disadvantage that they have too many of bones. The fishermen also knew this, which is why they were looking for a way to make the meat edible despite its many bones. The solution was quickly found in preparing the fish in such a way that you could easily eat the fine bones.

Preparation of the Mackerel Steckerlfisch

Carefully remove the fish scales, wash the Mackerel well. Then use a sharp knife to cut the fish diagonally close to each side (at approx. 3-5mm intervals). Salt the inside and out, add paprika and other spices of your liking.

Buy your Seasoning here:

  • Steckerlfisch, fish on a stick
  • seasoning salt
  • Steckerlfisch, fish on a stick
  • Steckerlfisch. Spanish Makrele, Fish on a stick stand
  • Steckerlfish. Spanish Makrele, Fish on a stick
  • Steckerlfisch. Spanish Makrele, Fish on a stick grilled
  • Steckerlfish. Spanish Makrele, Fish on a stick
  • Steckerlfisch, fish on a stick
  • Steckerlfisch, fish on a stick

Place the fish in a bowl and give the salt seasoning some time to soak. Skew the fish lengthways on sticks made out of metal or wood.

Important for professional cooking, the fish is placed close together and should not burn over a blazing flame. The embers should rather have a uniform gray layer.

Here are some 22″ suitable sticks:

When it comes to smoke, the opinions differ. While some believe that smoke should be avoided as much as possible, there is also some of those who add broken (green) wood to the embers because they wanted it to smoke and fry the fish at the same time.

A bottle of Beer and German bread are served with the golden-yellow grill specialty. Properly prepared, Steckerlfisch taste really delicious and is a hearty down-to-earth snack in summer.

Steckerlfisch, Fish on a srick
Steckerlfisch as it is served at the fair, wrapped in paper with sliced Bread

The center of the Steckerlfischbrater is today in the Salzkammergut with its many fish-rich lakes, especially when it comes to the “Staberlfish” at Lake Traunsee in Austria