Grilled Whole Fish

Love fish.

Have cooked whole fish, usually poached.

We go to Whole Food about once a month to get Newman’s Own Thin Pretzel Sticks. As far as we know, no other store in Reno carries them. When passing the display of whole fish on ice, we often remarked, “Can’t wait till we get the EGG, we’ll grill a whole fish.”

We now have the Big Green Egg and Thursday we bought a 1 1/2 pound Snapper at Whole Food. (We also got two bags of those pretzels, coffee filters, and a cantaloupe on sale.)

The fish lady helped us pick out the fish and cleaned and scaled it. She also gave us a bag of ice. We put the fish and ice in its own bag and put it on the floor of the back seat of our car, figuring it wouldn’t get too hot down there. When we got home, we put the whole shebang — bag, ice and fish — on a plate in the refrigerator.

Snapper waits for the fire.

I went recipe hunting. Weber’s Big Book of Grilling has a few recipes for whole fish — snapper, trout — but they depend on stuffing, or marinating or foil packets — no straightforward grilling. I looked on…

Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue has a number of recipes and tips for grilling whole fish.

“Fish weighing more than 2 pounds will be hard to maneuver on the grill and should be avoided.”
“Rub the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on the outside as well as the inside.”

“Use a sharp knife to make shallow diagonal slashes every 2 inches along both sides of the fish from top to bottom, beginning just behind the dorsal fin. This helps to ensure even cooking and also allows the cook to peek into the flesh to see if it is done.”

The Big Green Egg Cookbook has a recipe for Whole Snapper with Lemon and Rosemary. Just what I need, except they call for a 4 to 5 pound fish.

“Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.”

They, too, call for slashing the skin on both sides of the fish, coating the fish with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.

As the recipe title implies, they stuff the cavity of the fish with thin slices of garlic, thin slices of lemon and sprigs of fresh rosemary. (We didn’t have fresh rosemary, so we used fresh dill weed.)

They then go into the grilling method with the EGG:

Set the EGG for direct cooking with the porcelain coated grid and preheat to 350°F.

Snapper over the fire.

The fish was positioned on the grid,  so that it easily could be rolled from one side to the other.

I cooked the snapper 6 minutes per side starting at 400°F and second side at 350°F

It came out juicy and lovely, here served with chard and a bean salad.

Yum !

3 thoughts on “Grilled Whole Fish

  1. Well, that ended up being much simpler than I anticipated. The snapper looks larger than 1-1/2 lbs. in your first photo. I guess the weight is after cleaning & scaling? Bottom line — did you enjoy it and would you do it again?


  2. I totally enjoyed.
    I’m doing a whole trout of roughly the same size tonight.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s