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Grilled smoked eel in sweet glaze

Australian Gourmet Traveller Asian-style recipe for grilled smoked eel in sweet glaze.

By Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 6
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus cooling
Grilled smoked eel in sweet glaze
Grilled smoked eel in sweet glaze

Smoking tips

When smoking inside, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated, with the extractor fan on high and any windows open, to avoid triggering smoke alarms.

A well-sealed vessel is essential for smoking. Use two baking trays of exactly the same size, and seal the join with long strips of foil, crimping the edges tightly.

If you are using regular baking trays to smoke, line the base and sides of each one with several layers of foil. This will make them easier to clean and minimise tainting.

Alternatively, disposable aluminium trays are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Opt for the sturdier ones for ease of handling.

Be precise with your timing, including the amount of time you stand the smoking vessel before you uncover it. Any greater length of time could result in an acrid, unpleasant flavour. We suggest taking the trays outside when uncovering them.

Make sure your woodchips are dry and dense to begin with. Each variety imparts a different flavour, so try experimenting with different ones to find your favourite.

The recipes we've produced here all use a hot-smoking method, where a direct heat source is used. The other method used by some manufacturers of smoked products is cold smoking, where the smoke is created in a chamber separate from the product to be smoked. In this case, the lower the temperature while smoking for a longer period of time, the more smoke flavour will be imparted.

Kettle-style barbecues (such as those made by Weber) are excellent for smoking as you can use them outside and they have a small compact chamber. If you're using any other type of barbecue, check the manufacturer's instructions before building a fire base.


  • 2 smoked eel, heads removed
  • To serve: thinly sliced spring onion, black sesame seeds, steamed jasmine rice and Japanese mayonnaise
Sweet glaze
  • 125 ml soy sauce (½ cup)
  • 125 ml mirin (½ cup)
  • 55 gm caster sugar (¼ cup)


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 220C. For sweet glaze, combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and a glaze forms (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool.
  • 2
    Cut each eel into 5 even pieces. Remove backbone from each piece and separate into 2 halves. Place 2 halves on 2 skewers and repeat with remaining eel. Place skewers on a tray lined with baking paper and brush with sweet glaze, then roast, brushing occasionally with extra glaze, until eel is warmed through and glaze is sticky (5-10 minutes). Scatter with spring onion and black sesame seeds and serve warm with steamed rice, extra sweet glaze and Japanese mayonnaise.


Drink Suggestion: Junmai daiginjo, a fragrant, fruity tasting sake. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby