Smoked gurnard with Carolina Mustard sauce-header

Smoked tub gurnard with Carolina mustard sauce

“We do love us a good angry fish straight from the smoker”

At Smokey Goodness we love us some tub gurnard, we jokingly call it the angry fish, straight from the smoker. We use this versatile fish in various walking dinner bites, like our Pulled Poon Salad, a small tribute to the popularity of everything pulled. This recipe will teach you the basics of smoking this fish, which is available year round, but best in summer. Tub gurnard is amazing with a classic Carolina BBQ sauce in which mustard is the star of the show.

The ingredients:

(serves 4) 

Tub gurnard
  • 4 gurnards a little over a foot long (ask the fishmonger to clean the fish for you)
  • basic brine
  • 2½ gallons (10l)water
  • 2 lbs (1kg) salt
Caroline mustard sauce
  • 5⅓ oz (150g) soft yellow mustard
  • 5 fl oz (150ml) white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp brown caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp worcester sauce
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chipotle-tabasco (or red tabasco if the chipotle version is unavailable)


  • Bucket or large pan
  • BBQ for indirect grilling
  • 6 oak or apple wood chunks (2 x 2 inch pieces)
  • saucepan
  • core thermometer

How to make:

Duration:  prep 4½ hours

Cooking about: 1 hour

Rinse the fish under running water, paying extra attention to the abdominal cavity, which could have some blood or intestines left in it. Use a sharp knife to cut through the skin behind the head and at the end of the tail. Be careful to cut only the skin and not the flesh beneath. This makes removing the skin after smoking much easier.

For the brine, add the water and salt to a bucket or large pan and stir until the salt dissolves. Place the gurnard in the brine and make sure to fully submerge them. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
When time is up, remove the fish from the brine and pat them dry. Leave to dry in the open air for at least another 30 minutes before smoking.


Prepare a BBQ for indirect grilling and heat to 125 °C (257 °F). Add two of the wood chunks to the fire and place your tub gurnards on the BBQ. Cover and smoke for 1 hour until their core temperature reaches 65 °C (149 °F). While smoking keep adding wood chunks to the fire to get that nice smoke flavor.

While the fish is smoking, make the Carolina Mustard Sauce by mixing together all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring all the whole. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes, so the flavors mix well. When the core temperature of your gurnards hits 65 °C (149 °F) take them off the BBQ and onto a cutting board. Pull off the skin starting from your incision behind the head all the way to the tail. Be very gentle to not break the fillets. When the skin is off, push the fillet from the spine out to the side to remove it from the bone. Serve your smoked tub gurnard with lukewarm Caroline Mustard Sauce.

Items used for this recipe

Smokey premium charcoal
Smokey's Premium
Blend Charcoal
Smokey Goodness Hickory Smoke Chunks
Smokey Goodness
Hickory chunks
The Bastard Bluetooth Thermometer
The Bastard
The Bastard Plate Setter Square
The Bastard
Plate Setter
The Bastard Fibre Thermo BBQ Gloves
The Bastard
BBQ Gloves
Tamahagane Chef's knife 150mm
Chef's knife
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