There's nothing quite like fresh fish cooked whole on the BBQ. The only challenge one has is being able to clean and scale the fish or you can simply do as I and find a good fishmonger! Some supermarkets will even do it for you!
A whole fish cooked on the BBQ will be more succulent because the flesh is protected in a sense by the skin and back bone. The flavour is amazing cooked simply.
Over the years, I have created whole fish recipes that have flavour profiles from around the world. Some adding a spicy Asian kick and others a rich Mediterranean twist. I have always come back to the simple flavours that I grew up with - good quality extra virgin olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, salt, fresh lemon and a fresh garden herbs (usually parsley, coriander or dill).
When I grill whole fish, I very rarely 'boat it' in foil. Boating fish is when you use foil to protect the fish....shaping the foil into a boat that the fish sits in. The only time I will do this is when Im cooking Asian style fish and using soy sauce/oyster sauce/chilli sauce and want some sauce to use as a dressing when serving.
Every other time, I will grill my fish (whether it's whole or a fillet) directly over charcoal (hot and fast) or on a gas grill (medium/high heat).
I do not oil my grill but I make sure it is hot enough. A grill that has not been pre-heated and isn't hot enough, will lead to fish stuck to your grill.
I do make sure my fish is well marinated and coated well with olive oil. It's not often that a fish fillet I am grilling will stick to the grill. Whilst a whole fish I am grilling wont necessarily stick to the grill, the skin will be removed slightly in the hot and fast grilling method.
How long do I grill my fish? I get asked this often and its a fair question when one is new to grilling seafood.
A whole fish (approximately 1 kg/2 Pounds) will take around 30 mins to cook - 15 minutes a side. Don't over cook it!
I like to use my magic 8 minute total for fish fillets - 5 minutes the one side and 3 minutes on the other. This will give you a medium doneness result.You need to take into account weight though and personal preference on doneness.
The internal temp for fish (and yes, there's nothing wrong with using a thermometer to check the internal temp!) should be at least 55c (130F).
Like anything, grilling seafood (fish in particular) takes practice but its worth it for restaurant quality meals cooked at home that are healthy and delicious! Tag me on social media Come Grill With Me so I can see your amazing seafood meals.
Love, Irene. XO