How to Grill a Whole Fish

How-To, Learn, Tips & Techniques

A fresh, whole fish stuffed with herbs and citrus slices makes a dramatic presentation for an outdoor gathering. Whether you’re cooking the day’s catch by the lake or entertaining a crowd at home, there’s almost no greater culinary pleasure than grilling a whole fish. Read on for our best tips and a step-by-step guide to pull it off.

 

Selecting

Whole fish should look almost alive, with clear eyes; bright, intact scales and skin; and red, moist gills. Many types of round fish (fish with a rounded body, such as trout and striped bass) can be grilled whole after being cleaned, scaled and gutted.

 

Grilling

Cook round fish over direct or indirect heat. You can add wood chips, grapevine cuttings or other aromatic ingredients to lend deep flavor. Use a fish basket when grilling one large fish or several small fish to make turning easier and ensure even cooking. Alternatively, if you don’t use a fish basket, keep a nice long spatula handy, and avoid sticking by brushing each side of the fish with olive oil or mayonnaise.

 

Serving

Serve trout and other small fish on individual plates with a tangy vinaigrette or fresh salsa. Large whole fish look beautiful when arranged alongside fresh vegetables and presented on a decorative platter.

 

Clean your catch
If you caught your fish, the first step is to clean it. Using the blunt side of a knife, scrape off the scales on the outside. Insert the sharp end of the knife into the belly and make a shallow cut from head to tail. Remove the entrails and bones, if needed. Rinse the fish inside and out.

 

Add more flavor
Gently holding the back of the cleaned fish, stuff fresh herbs and slices of citrus into the cavity. As the fish cooks on the grill, the flesh will take on the essence of any flavors you add. Try variations of rosemary, thyme, oregano, verbena and bay leaves mixed with lemon, orange or lime.

 

Start the fire
Ignite the coals using a chimney starter and then spread the coals two or three layers deep to form an even fire bed on the fire grate. Position the grill rack over the coals. If using a gas grill, light the grill following the manufacturer’s instructions 10 to 15 minutes in advance of cooking.

 

Grill your fish
Cook fresh fish such as trout and striped bass over direct or indirect heat. Make sure the grill rack is as clean as possible, and oiled, to prevent the fish from sticking to it. Lay the fish at a diagonal across the grill and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

2 comments about “How to Grill a Whole Fish

  1. how to grill a whole fish | Wagshal's Blog

  2. Fall Bass Fishing - Outdoor Fits

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