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Home > Recipes > Sable Cod > Smoked Sablefish

This is as close as I've gotten to that classic Jewish deli style "smoked sable" recipe. Basically it's a dry cure and a light smoke, with the addition of some honey for sweetness and then that paprika that's so distinctive.


  • 2 to 3 pounds sablefish fillets, skin on
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • Honey for glazing the fish
  • Sweet paprika for dusting the fish afterwards


  • Mix the salt, sugar and garlic powder in a bowl. Pour on a healthy layer of the mix into a lidded plastic tub that will hold the fish. I cut the fillets into pieces I imagine I will want to serve, so about 2 to 3 per side of a large sablefish, probably just two pieces per side with a typically sized black cod. Set the fish skin side down on the salt. Now use the remaining salt mix to massage into the meat of the fish. You want it covered with as much salt as the fish can hold. Cover the container and set in the fridge for however many hours as the fish weighs.
  • Remove the sablefish and rinse it briefly under cool water. Pat it dry. Set it back in the fridge, this time uncovered, overnight.
  • The next day, get your smoker ready. I prefer alder wood for fish, but any mild wood will do. Oak is nice, as is beech or maple or a fruit wood. Smoke the sablefish at about 160ºF for 2 to 3 hours. You want the fish cooked through, but just barely.
  • After the first hour of smoking, paint the fish with honey. Repeat this every hour.
  • When the sablefish is ready, move it to a cooling rack and paint it with the honey one last time. Let it cool at room temperature for about an hour. When it has cooled, use tweezers to pull out all the pin bones running down the center of the fish. They should slide out easily. Now dust the top of the sablefish with the paprika. Let this sink in for about 30 minutes, then put the fish in the fridge. You can serve it now, or when chilled. If you want to package it up to store it long-term, wait a day before vacuum sealing it -- this will let the paprika set on the fish.

    Recipe courtesy of Hunt Gather Cook