If you have seafood aficionados to satisfy, then the red snapper is a great choice when it comes to grilling fish. While it is not an easy type of fish to find, the red snapper serves as a treat the moment it is available in late spring.
The snapper’s firm, fine and white flesh and broad fillets pave way for using several seasoning and grilling techniques, which piques the interest of fish enthusiasts.
Moreover, the red snapper also has a mild flavor which makes it a suitable choice of dish for those who dread the “fishy” taste. You can decide to grill a whole red snapper or fillets, and your choice is what will dictate the method you use.
Nutritionally, the red snapper is low in calories and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a superfood for those practicing dietary protocols. Moreover, the fish serves as an excellent source of potassium and vitamin B-12.
The benefits of potassium are well known, from keeping your sodium levels in check to preventing hypertension, so eat your red snapper for a whole lot of nutritional benefits!
Grilling a Whole Fish
The red snapper offers three basic cuts available for grilling; the whole fish fillets with skin and skinless fillets.
For most fish enthusiasts, grilling the whole fish is usually done for the sake of presentation. When choosing to grill the snapper in a whole, it should be well cleaned and scaled but not deboned.
Fillets With or Without Skin
The snapper gives you two options when grilling the fillets, you can either go with the skin-on and skinless portions. While each option has its benefits and drawbacks, your preference is what counts.
For the fillet with skin, it is less likely to fall on the grill as compared to the skinless fillet. However, you will have to pull the skin off the cooked fillet when serving it.
On the other hand, a skinless fillet lets you season both sides of the flesh but is more likely to break even before you get serving it.
While grilling the fillets, you need to get the bones off the snapper before grilling them.
The snapper bones are near the surface and easy to feel thus running your hand over the flesh is an easy way to get to them, and pull them out using needle-nose or tweezers.
1 teaspoon paprika.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice.
1/2 cup butter
2 red snapper fillets (halved)/whole red snapper fish.
1 tablespoon parsley (minced)
Season the Fish
You can choose to season the whole or filleted snapper with dry herbs and spices or marinade, even though few people decide to marinate the whole fish. Many seasonings go along with the red snapper.
You might as well decide to get the combination which suits the taste you want to get at the end. Thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary, garlic as well as all other pepper-based spices serve as great seasonings for the snapper.
On the other hand, cooking acids such as lemon or citrus juice and vinegar causes the raw fish’s flesh to tighten after several minutes of exposure. An acidic ingredient is thus best applied immediately before you put the fish on the grill, or in a basting liquid while the fish cooks.
Mix the paprika, salt, garlic, thyme, onion salt, oregano, and pepper. Sprinkle on each side of your red snapper fillets.
For the whole fish, make 5 parallel 3-inch long slashes on each side of the snapper, slicing almost through to the bone. Lightly season the fish with the mixture of the ingredients and fill the slashes with paste.
If you are not for marinating the fish, you can as well apply a light coating of olive oil to prevent it from sticking on the grill.
Prepare also lemon juice and simmer in a small saucepan or heat to simmer in the microwave in a safe dish. Remove from heat, add butter and mix well, for serving.
Preparing the Grill
Red snapper fillets are known to cook quickly, so it is advisable to cook them directly over the flame. However, when cooking the whole snapper, it is better to cook the fish slower, using indirect heat, to ensure that it cooks through. Grilling over indirect heat requires you to create heat zones.
Preheat the entire grill to medium-high and turn off half the burners in a gas grill. In a charcoal grill, bank the coals to one side.
The portion of the grill grate with no flame directly under it is the indirect heat zone, where you want to cook your fish from. For a smoky flavor, you can sprinkle water-soaked wood chips over the preheated coals in a charcoal grill.
Brush the cooking grates with olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking. Make several passes to help create a nice non-stick surface.
Place the Fish on the Grill
Place the fish fillets directly on the grill gently with a long, thin metal spatula. Even after brushing the red snapper and grill with oil, chances are that it can still stick to the grate. Therefore, keep olive oil and a basting brush on hand to lubricate the fish if it begins to stick.
Grill the red snapper about 5 to 6 minutes on one side for the fish fillets until the fish is blackened or flaky. Turn the snapper fillets over and grill for another 5 to 6 minutes until done or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of at least 145F.
For the whole fish, it is advisable to use a grilling basket which encloses the fish. The grilling basket lets you flip the fish with ease as compared to using a spatula alone.
Once done, grill the whole fish over the indirect heat for 35 to 40 minutes, turning several times, or until cooked through and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Grill also to an internal temperature of 145F to ensure it’s safe to eat.
The flesh should present a pearly white and almost entirely opaque look. Keep the lid down to ensure even heat distribution.
Once cooked through, get the fish fillets off the grill and onto a plate. When you grilled a whole red snapper, portion and lift the meat off the bones when you serve it. Add parsley to the
Lemon butter and spoon a quarter of the butter mixture over each piece of fish. Serve with grilled veggies or your favorite sides.
Enjoy the red snapper whether it’s the fillets or the whole fish with our home-made how to grill red snapper recipe!