Jerk king mackerel on dirty grits

: Jerked fish is delicious, and creamy grits are too. Combine the two for an even more tasty dish.(Picture by Jerry Dilsaver)

This recipe combines two foods most sportsmen like. And if two things taste good independently, it’s almost certain they’ll taste good together.

Jerked fish is a treat and most folks like grits. This recipe not only combines jerk fish with grits, but it dirties up the grits for even more flavor. I’ll promise you this is going to taste even better than most folks imagine.

October is a great month to catch king mackerel, which is used for the fish portion of this recipe.

Some folks consider king mackerel not a prime fish for the dinner table, but I like them and prepare them in a variety of ways. This recipe is one that most readers probably haven’t tried, or even heard of before. I like it and I’ll recommend it as a good way to try king mackerel. It might even change your mind and convince you to eat it prepared in other ways.

Jerk King Mackerel on Dirty Grits

I call this a “why not” recipe. A bunch of us were sitting around one day talking about cooking fish and the subject turned to king mackerel.

Someone said, “Have you ever jerked a king?” Wow, no, but only because I hadn’t thought of it. Now that I have, it has become a regular method and I find it tasty.

I use and recommend Walkerswood jerk seasoning. It’s a wet jerk seasoning available in mild or hot & spicy. The mild is a bit salty with good jerk flavor. I love the hot & spicy flavor, but have to be careful about using too much – and I like spicy foods.

I like yellow old fashioned grits and the ones made at the Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge, N.C. are my favorite. I often omit or limit salt in my recipes. Well, grits need some salt. I use a teaspoon.

The preparation for the grits is creamy, but not runny.

I like to use cast iron as it heats evenly to the edge of the pan. I eat a lot of fish very rare and pan seared, but suggest cooking these a little longer to give the jerk seasoning time to penetrate the fish. A half minute to a minute makes a big difference.

Plate this and serve it as soon as the fish is done. The grits should still be warm and just the right temperature to eat. Give it a try and I believe you’ll prepare it again. It’s a different way to eat king mackerel. I enjoy it and believe you will also.

TIP: Add more Half and Half and use less water to make your grits creamier.

The author recommends yellow old fashioned grits made at the Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge. (Picture by Jerry Dilsaver)


3/4 Pound king mackerel fillet

1/4 Pound ground sausage

1 Cup yellow grits

2 1/2 Cups Half and Half

1 1/2 Cups water

1/2 Cup mozzarella cheese

1 Cup cheddar cheese

1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 Cup kernel corn

1/3 Cup green onion

2 TSP minced garlic

2 TBL Walkerswood Jerk Marinade (mild or spicy)

1/2 Stick butter

Splash of cooking oil

2 TSP salt

TIP: Cast iron pans heat evenly to the edge of the pan and are great for this recipe with just a light covering of oil.


  1. Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves and chop the green onions.
  2. Cut the king mackerel fillet into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Rub the king mackerel slices with the jerk seasoning and allow it to marinate a few minutes.
  4. Pour the Half and Half and water into a large pot.
  5. Add a splash of cooking oil to the liquid in the pot and stir well.
  6. Bring the liquid to a boil and thoroughly whisk in the grits.
  7. Allow the mixture to return to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.
  8. Cook the grits on simmer for 8 to 12 minutes (check the directions for the brand of grits used) until they begin to thicken. Stir often.
  9. When the grits first begin to thicken, stir in the butter, the mozzarella cheese and half the cheddar cheese.
  10. Set the grits aside.
  11. While the grits are cooking, brown the sausage while breaking it up fine.
  12. Remove the sausage from the pan, and with medium heat, sear the king mackerel slices in the drippings to your preferred doneness.
  13. Remove the king mackerel slices and add the garlic, corn kernels and half the green onion to the pan.
  14. Sauté the vegetables a minute or two to allow them to warm and absorb some of the flavor from the pan.
  15. Stir the sauteed vegetables, drippings and sausage into the grits.
  16. Cover a plate or shallow bowl with the grits mixture, then add several of the king mackerel slices and top with cherry tomatoes, green onions and lightly sprinkle a little more cheddar cheese.

This is one of those meals that is rather difficult to pair with sides. I like to add okra, either fried or steamed, and fried squash works too. I believe cornbread is the best bread to accompany this and jalapeno cornbread or muffins sit well with me. If you like fried or baked plantains, they are the perfect dessert. If this doesn’t suit your fancy or you can’t find any, just remember that ice cream goes with everything.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1171 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply