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Smoked Bonito And More...

I love to eat smoked fish, especially smoked bonito. As a Southern California kid, my summers were spent at the Long Beach pier trying to catch bonito. Now if I got really lucky, I'd come home with a few. But if I failed, we'd make a family trip to the San Pedro Fish Market at three in the morning. Bonito was always on our list. And, smoked bonito was a family favorite!

As usual, we still have lots of bonito off our So Cal coast. There are days you can't keep them off your sabikis! So, if you have a smoker at home, or thinking about buying one soon, try my new recipe. I go through the basics of salting and smoking the bonito, while offering you four for of my favorite smoked bonito meals.

Interested in trying to make tuna jerky?? Try my Smoked Tuna Jerky recipe.

Smoked Bonito (serves 1-2 hungry fishermen!)

2 bonito, 2-3lb whole or headless bonito

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups salt

Start Making the Smoked Bonito

1. Start by creating the dry rub brine by combing salt and sugar in a large bowl. Now, add a layer of dry rub at the bottom of a narrow deep pan (I used my fish poaching pan). Add both fish in the pan and cover both fish entirely with the dry rub.Remember the gut and head cavities. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

2. Rinse and dry pat the fish with paper towels. Now, allow time for the formation of the pellico skin, key for capturing that smoky flavor. Two methods are available. One, set the fish out on a rack with a small electric fan directly on them for 2 hours. Or, two, place the fish in an open pan in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours. The skin of the fish should be perfectly dry.

3. Start by preheating your smoker to 220-230F. When ready, place your fish inside the smoker. With my smoker, I usually smoke my fish for two hours. The inside temperature of the fish needs to be 130F minimum--at its thickest--to prevent food borne illness. If you go over, you'll be fine as long as you use a sauce to moisten up the fish when you're eating it! Finally, check out the quick recipes down below for additional smoked fish dishes.

What To Do With Your Smoked Bonito RECIPES

Once the fish is smoked, here are four different smoked fish treats I make for myself and the family with smoked bonito.

Smoked Bonito Bagel Sandwich

First, grab “your favorite” bagel, and toast it. Now, spread cream cheese on the bagel halves. Then add chunks of smoked fish on one side and four halved cherry tomatoes on the other side. Remember, garnish with thinly sliced jalapeno. And finally, drizzled cold press olive oil over everything.

Smoked Bonito Tacos

Start by warming up four corn tortillas (I usually do this directly on my cook top stove). Meanwhile, saute about 1 cup of chunked up smoked fish in a hot frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil—1-2 minutes max. Now, place the chunks of fish inside the tortillas. Then, add thinly sliced cabbage & sliced green onions on top. Finally, drizzle a white sauce made with ½ cup of mayonnaise, ½ lime juiced, and 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce.

Smoked Bonito & Rice

Start by creating 2 cups of your favorite rice. Then, while it's cooling, boil 3-4 cups of unsalted water. Add to it, 1 cup of chunked smoked fish for 1 minute and strain. Next, add the smoked fish on top of the rice and garnish with chili flakes. Finally, drizzle sesame or cold pressed olive oil on top (this dish was inspired from the Filipino love of cooked salted fish over rice).

Smoked Bonito & Cold Press Olive Oil

Finally, this is the most enjoyable way to eat smoked fish period, ask any Greek! Now, add a little cold pressed olive oil, lemon and cracked black pepper along with tomato slices and kalamata olives. Then, all you need is crusty bread and a beer, you'll be in heaven.


Here's a great way to support Fisherman's Belly. Use our amazon links to purchase items you may need. You don't pay extra but, Amazon sends us a small commission on your purchase. Just click on the links below to take a look and shop around. Thanks, Yanni


➤ 30 Day Free Amazon Prime Membership


➤Traeger Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker ➤ Ex-Large Mixing Bowl w/Lid ➤ Whisk set 12",10", 8.5" ➤ Cuda 10" Fillet Knife ➤ Poaching Pan 18”x4.5” Stainless Steel $33.63 ➤ Fish Prepping Pan (13"x9"x2") ➤ Thermo Pro Digital Thermometer Wireless ➤ Amazon Cool Serving Platters


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Meet The



I'm a fisherman and a cook, and I love to do both. My name is Yanni and welcome to my website, Fisherman's Belly. Here, using your fresh fish and everyday ingredients, you can learn to cook hand-crafted easy fish recipes. 

See you on the water and in the kitchen. Yanni

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Thanks for submitting your question. I'll get back with you as soon as possible. Yanni

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