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Discussion in 'Q&A With Steven Raichlen' started by abefroman, May 26, 2011.
What is your favorite method for grilling whole fish? Ex. snapper, salmon, etc.
As you might expect, Abe, it depends on the type of fish. For example, in less than two weeks I will be demonstrated whole fish baked in a salt crust at Barbecue University, the annual class I teach at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Find the details on my website, www.barbecuebible.com.) You take an obscene amount of kosher salt--9 pounds!--mix it with water until it is the consistency of wet snow (something we don't know a lot about here in Miami). Then you encase the fish in the salt mixture and indirect grill the fish until the salt coating is hard enough to crack off with a mallet.
Another method, which I especially like with trout, is to stuff the cavity with sliced lemons, fresh herbs, and butter (season the cavity with salt and pepper first), and then wrap with bacon and indirect grill. We used to do this on the set of my first show, "Barbecue University", with trout caught by our cameraman and sound man from the stream next to the set. Great memories.
My youngest son, who has a just graduated from Kelloge with his masters, is coming home for the 4th of july weekend with his wonderful wife and new baby. When at the graduation he mentioned that he would love to Grill a whole fish for the 4th. He and I love to cook and grill all sorts of differant wonderful dishes. Our wives love it because we do most of the cooking There will be 8 of us on the fourth so we would like to do a whole fish (stuffed) on the grill. What would you suggest? we are both very good with spices and generally working our way around the kitchen, but have never done a whole FISH. Gutted and cleaned of course, our wives are very turned off by somthing looking back at them, even though I think thats the beauty of doing a whole fish. If you have some great ideas I would love to hear them. Cost not a problem as far as the catch of the day, so fire away. Thanks in advance John Shepherd
I love using the salt crust. I've only used it twice but each time I had great results. Usually, I just use a tin foil pouch with all my herbs and spices over indirect heat. Heat management is key.
Hi, John. Congratulations on your son's graduation. Have heard Kellogg is a fine school. You have caught me a little flat-footed as I am traveling, but there are several recipes for whole fish (as well as a whole page with specific how-tos) in my book "Planet Barbecue."
My preferred method for grilling larger whole fish is indirect using medium heat: if using a charcoal grill, rake the coals into opposite piles and put the fish on the grill grate in the middle of them. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill, then turn off the middle burners. (In both cases, grill with the lid on.) Allow 12 to 15 minutes per pound for whole fish. In "Planet" are multiple recipes for snapper and bass. In "Barbecue USA" is a recipe for whole salmon, stuffed with butter, basil, and lemon, that was the main course at my cousin Martha's wedding.
Recently, I've become enamored of wrapping whole fish in banana leaves to protect if from direct flame and to keep it moist during grilling.
This is a trick found in several grilling cultures around the world. You can find the leaves at Hispanic or Asian markets, or buy them online.
Substitute aluminum foil if you can't get ahold of the leaves.
Other options include cooking the fish on soaked cedar planks or in fish baskets. In both cases, the age-old problem of turning the fish is solved.
Hope this helps. Have a great 4th of July. Warmly, Steven