Steckerlfisch Grilled or BBQ Fish on a Stick in Munich

Steckerlfisch – Fish Grilled On A Stick, Bavarian Style!

It sounds exotic, doesn’t it? You bet it does…and that’s just one of the reasons why Steckerlfisch is so popular in this part of the world and is one of the most interesting items of Bavarian Cuisine on any menu! 

This Grilled Fish on a Stick has become totally synonymous with some of the most delicious aromas you’ll ever smell that waft from Beer Gardens across Munich and throughout Bavaria.

If you love fish then you absolutely HAVE to try a BBQ Steckerlfisch! Read on to find out all about this Fish on a Stick delicacy.

What is Steckerlfisch? | Was ist Stecklerfisch?

Steckerlfisch is a type of Grilled Fish on a Stick that is likely most famous because of the fact that it’s been offered as a dining option at Munich Oktoberfest in the very popular Fischer-Vroni tent for well over a century.

Flavorful marinated fish gently grilled over charcoal for a deliciously intense aroma & flavour – that’s Steckerlfisch. 

For centuries, the people of Germany, especially Bavaria, Franconia, and even into the Tyrol region of Austria, have been preparing their fish in this manner, just like the fishermen of old used to do.

Where Did the Name Steckerlfisch Come From? | Woher kommt der Name Stecklerfisch?

The name Steckerlfisch was first coined in 1902. It came from the dialect of the Bavarian word, “steckerl’ which translates as little stick. The word “fisch” derives from the Middle High German visch, which of course, means fish. Thus the complete STECKERLFISCH.

What Kind of Fish is Steckerlfisch? | Welche Art von Fisch ist der Stecklerfisch?

Steckerlfisch is nowadays most commonly produced from the oily ocean-faring Mackerel, but the history of Steckerlfisch however, is as interesting as its taste. 

The practice of grilling a fish on a stick over a fire was first noted as being a pastime of the fishermen who netted on the Donau (Danube River).

Those fishermen were often spotted in the afternoon, once they’d pulled their boats to shore for the evening, sitting around open fires where they would smoke and grill their catch over the flickering flames.

At that time a Fish Grill of this nature was usually a BBQ of local fish like Coregonus (part of the Salmon family of fish), or from various other types of whitefish that frequented the Danube and its tributaries. 

But as mentioned above, and thanks to modern refrigeration practices and advancements in fresh food transportation, Mackerel is now the most common stick fish. 

Hardcore Steckerlfisch lovers, especially backyard BBQ wannabes, will still often prefer a freshwater trout over an ocean fish variety though.

How Do I Cook Steckerlfisch? | Wie kann ich Stecklerfisch zubereiten?

To cook a Steckerlfisch yourself you’ll need to first fully clean and gut the fish, then thread it into a stick. Bavarians use angular-shaped sticks. For real authenticity you can make your own sticks, willow is best, by sharpening them on one side to push them easily through the fish. Otherwise, just purchase large purpose-made grilling sticks.

It’s hard to resist a Steckerlfisch as the flavor lingers in your mouth. But you don’t have to visit Oktoberfest to taste this Bavarian Fish delicacy. Preparing the dish at home is easy.

There are two versions of the stick fish dish, flour-dusted, and marinated versions. Once the sticks with fish are ready, mount them on a charcoal-burning grill with the heads near the embers. You’ll often see the graphic images of fish being grilled in a vertical crisscrossed fashion at Volksfests and in Bier Gardens throughout Bavaria.

How Do I Eat Steckerlfisch? | Wie isst man Stecklerfisch?

You can eat Steckerlfisch with a fork and knife of course (just make sure no one sees you do this) but first and foremost, this fishy treat is meant to be finger food. 

Tearing the fish off the bone with your fingers to enjoy the juicy flesh, then licking your fingers afterward is the ultimate pleasure.

So once the fish are fully grilled (don’t overcook as they will dry out), eat them on paper, consume them with a nice cold Munich Beer, and you can pretend to enjoy your own personal Oktoberfest at home, or wherever you may be.

Some people prefer to plate their BBQ Fish, and serve them with lemon wedges and pretzels to enhance the flavour experience. In restaurants the tradition Bavarian Potato salad is usually an accompaniment to Steckerlfisch.

Is Steckerlfisch Healthy? | Ist Stecklerfisch gesund?

YES is the resounding answer to this question. Grilled Steckerlfisch is one street food you can tuck into without worrying about your health. 

Being high in protein and low in fat, Steckerlfisch is considered very healthy. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, this is one tasty treat you won’t feel guilty about asking for a second helping.

Most Bavarians wouldn’t dream of adding hot chips to make “Fish and Chips” so salads and breads to accompany the fish are usually also a much healthier option than anything else fried in oil.

Steckerlfisch in Munich at Oktoberfest in the Fischer Vroni tent
Steckerlfisch in Munich at Oktoberfest in the Fischer Vroni tent

Steckerlfisch at Oktoberfest | Stecklerfisch beim Oktoberfest!

Steckerlfisch grilling on open embers is one of the first things you’ll notice when entering the Oktoberfest site on the Theresienwiese from its main entrance on the northern part of the Bavariaring.

The air is exciting as Munich gets busy celebrating Oktoberfest, and there is almost a frenzy surrounding the folk festival that makes people go a little crazy. 

And believe us when we say that the smoky grilled fishy aromas that emanate from just outside the  Fischer-Vroni tent, are enough to drive anyone crazy.

Oktoberfest is all about reveling in life and its gifts like food and music. Steckerlfisch is one of the iconic dishes that is served in Oktoberfest in Munich ever since Karl Winter introduced ‘Steckerlfisch’ to the Wiesn (the nickname for the Oktoberfest) in 1914. And it has become associated with the folk festival (and many other Bavarian Folk Festivals) ever since. 

Today, people visit Oktoberfest to guzzle down beer and be thrilled on whiteknuckle roller coasters and enjoy the festival with their family or friends. Eating is all part of the magic of Oktoberfest. Roast Chicken, Knodel, Radishes, Pretzels and more are readily available, but it’s the Steckerlfisch that is definitely a dish that has made its way into our hearts all the way from Oktoberfest and beyond.

Where Else Can I Find Stecklerfisch in Munich? | Wo kann ich Stecklerfisch in München sonst noch finden?

Finding BBQ’d Steckerlfisch in Munich City outside of Oktoberfest is not difficult, trust us! 

The “Grilled Fish on a Stick” is now iconic here in Bavaria, and with its fame so too has this tasty dish become a beer garden menu and popular snack food at many eating establishments.

The best places to find Steckerlfisch in Munich are as follows:

  • The Munich Augustiner Keller (Arnulfstraße 52, 80335 München)
  • Hirschgarten Beer Garden (Hirschgarten 1, 80639 München)
  • Jagdschlössl München which is Fisher Vroni’s own restaurant (Nymphenburger Strasse 162, D-80634 München (Rotkreuzplatz)
  • Sappralott Restaurant, another Fisher-Vroni family operated eatery (Donnersbergerstraße 37, D-80634 München)
  • Lindwurmstüberl München (Lindwurmstrasse 32 – nähe Goetheplatz – D-80337 München)

As well as these fine eateries you can also find Fish Grilling at various other beer gardens throughout Bavaria and at the many Volkfests (People’s Festivals) throughout the region. The most notable of these (aside from Oktoberfest itself) is the Auer Dult which is held 3 times per year on Mariahilfplatz in the district of AU.

Steckerlfisch: Don’t Miss Out! | Stecklerfisch : nicht verpassen!

Well there you have it, now you have all the information and know everything about this famous grilled fish on a stick which has become a Bavarian Tourist Attraction within itself! And with so much Schweinshaxe about in the Bavarian State, a lovely grilled fish is often a welcome diversion from all the pork dishes that abound on any Bavarian Menu.

Where have you found Steckerlfisch? What’s the best-grilled Stick Fish you’ve eaten? We’d love to hear from you and hear of your experiences – just use our Contact Us page to send us a message on this topic, or on anything else we write about here at Absolute Munich.

Tschüss und danke fürs Lesen (Bye and thanks for reading)

Steckerlfisch Oktoberfest  |  Steckerlfisch München  |  Steckerlfisch Recipe