Some fish fillets, such as catfish, red snapper, flounder (and other flatfish like sole), rockfish, and sea bass, are too thin to grill directly on the grill grate. For thin, delicate fillets, we use a fish-grilling basket to make turning the fillets easier. Other firm and thick fillets, such as grouper, striped bass, halibut, salmon, bluefish, and mackerel, can be grilled directly on the grill grate. Use any type of fish you like. Just be sure to keep the grill grate or grilling basket hot and well oiled to prevent sticking. Use heat-resistant gloves (preferably silicone) when handling a hot fish basket. Again, the flavors here are kept to a bare minimum. This recipe is meant to be a blank canvas on which you can build your favorite flavors. Often a wet paste or thick glaze tastes best with fish fillets, but a dry rub and a chunky salsa works nicely too.
Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: 6 to 10 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Fish-grilling basket or long-handled spatula
– Heat-resistant grill mitt.
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
1½ pounds skinless red snapper fillets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate or fish basket
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lemon wedges.
1. Heat the grill as directed. If using a fish grilling basket (which we recommend for thin, delicate fillets such as red snapper), preheat the basket on the grill.
2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. If using a fish basket, coat the hot fish basket with oil. Rub the olive oil all over the fillets and put the fillets in the basket (if using). Put the basket on the grill (or put the fillets directly on the grate), cover, and cook until the fish is just slightly filmy and moist in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.
4. Serve the fillets with the lemon wedges for squeezing.
– This recipe is designed for skinless fillets. To grill skin-on fillets, create a crisp skin by brushing the skin with oil and grilling the fillet, skin-side down, directly on the grill grate over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes without flipping. This method works best with skin-on fillets that are less than 1 inch thick.