Cooking Kingfish

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Reader James Almond passed on this recipe for kingfish (also known as king mackerel) that does NOT require a smoker, yet still tastes great. He swears it tastes just like boiled crab!

Now, I’ll be honest — I haven’t tried this recipe and, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never had kingfish. But the usual complaint from cruisers who catch them is that “the only good way to cook kingfish is to smoke it, and I don’t have a smoker on the boat.” And so the fish gets thrown back. Here’s an alternate method — as long as you’ve got an area large enough to fillet the fish!

A great way to make King Mackeral so it tastes just like crab. And you don't need a smoker.

Boiled Kingfish


  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen kingfish (filleted, skin removed and cut into 1″ squares)
  • 1 bag crab boil (such as Zatarains)
  • 1/8 cup butter, melted


  • You can use fresh or frozen kingfish, filleted, skin removed and cut into 1″ squares. Figure on 1/4 to 1/2 pound of prepared fish per person — if preparing for a real crowd, you’ll need to have several pots, but otherwise you can just prepare any amount.
  • Fill a pot about half full of water, add one bag of crab boil (such as Zatarain’s) and cover. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes, so that the water is well seasoned. Remove the bag and add the prepared fish.
  • Keep the pot over high heat and boil until the fish comes to the top. As it comes to the top, remove with a slotted spoon (let the water drain back into the pot), and place onto a serving dish or bowl. You can either pour melted butter over the top or give each person a small dish of melted butter that they can dip the fish pieces into.
  • Let cool enough that you don’t burn your tongue. Great with cold beer!

Looking online, I’ve also seen this called “poor man’s lobster.” I’m guessing that it could be a good way to cook any fish that doesn’t do well just sauteed or grilled.

Don't throw that Kingfish (King Mackerel) back. Here's how to prep it. And you don't need a smoker.

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