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Old 09-16-2014, 10:16 AM   #1
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Grilling whole fish?

We are visiting friends and family in the Seattle area and I bought my first whole fish. It was labeled "rockfish." The fish guy said it's not the bass that I knew as rockfish in MD, but something more like snapper. At his suggestion, I plan to grill it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. He also mentioned that citrus and peaches or nectarines go well with it, so I'm going to finish it with some fresh lemon juice and serve it with a grilled nectarine salsa.

The grilling is my problem. My FIL is letting me use his gas grill. I'm not sure what temperature to grill at or how long I should expect it to take to cook. Head on, before cleaning it was about 4.5 lbs. I plan to use a meat thermometer, but I'll still need an idea of when to start checking it. Any tips? It will be on top of foil on the grill, but not wrapped in anything.

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Old 09-16-2014, 11:22 AM   #2
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Make sure you grease the foil so that the fish will release easily.
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #3
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I would bake the whole fish, unless you are experienced with his grill and have an idea how to do it.
Cut slits on the bias on each side and fill with aromatics, brush with olive oil or butter inside and out and season well inside and out.
Bake whole fish with head for about an hour at 350F.

I am just trying to help you save the issue of this fish sticking to the grill and having it ruined. I mean fall apart when trying to turn it.
If you are an experienced griller, then go for it. Make sure you spray or coat the grill with oil before you put the fish down.
And please, no foil!
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
I would bake the whole fish, unless you are experienced with his grill and have an idea how to do it.
Cut slits on the bias on each side and fill with aromatics, brush with olive oil or butter inside and out and season well inside and out.
Bake whole fish with head for about an hour at 350F.

I am just trying to help you save the issue of this fish sticking to the grill and having it ruined. I mean fall apart when trying to turn it.
If you are an experienced griller, then go for it. Make sure you spray or coat the grill with oil before you put the fish down.
And please, no foil!
Did you mean you Would Not bake? Actually if one has no experience doing it foil might be just the thing to save the day. Especially when it comes to turning the fish. As the matter of fact i would purposely wrap the fish in foil before grilling. Spray the foil and the grill with oil really well. use some herbs, fish likes dill, I would put it inside the stomach with some lemon slices. Slit/score the skin with a sharp knife, you can even cris-cross the skin. Make long shallow cuts at the angle thru whole body of fish from the back to the stomach. Season well. Put the fish in the middle of the foil and close the foil making it into a pocket. It should be loose to have room for air to move inside. After cooking half way carefully using foil, you may want to double the foil, turn the fish upside down and cook till done, or almost done. I think one hour suggestion is good. Last 10 minutes or so I would open the foil and let fish breathe in the smoke from the grill. You can use a fork to see if meat flakes off the bone, if it does, the fish is ready. Oh, man can yo just invite me over, I'll even grill the fish for you. That just sounds wonderful. Due to some strict diet regulation I cannot grill the fish on the same grill as meat and I simply do not want to buy a special grill just for fish.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #5
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... That just sounds wonderful. Due to some strict diet regulation I cannot grill the fish on the same grill as meat and I simply do not want to buy a special grill just for fish.
Couldn't you just get a different grate for when you wanted to grill fish? Or a hibachi. They don't cost a lot or take up much space.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:35 PM   #6
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Neah different grate would not work. It is more complicated than that. And hibachi are just too small. For whole fish you want to get a decent grill and decent heat. I tried that, I bought a small grill for fish, did not work really well.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:50 PM   #7
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Neah different grate would not work. It is more complicated than that. And hibachi are just too small. For whole fish you want to get a decent grill and decent heat. I tried that, I bought a small grill for fish, did not work really well.
Remove the grates that the meat touched and use a dedicated fish basket.
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Old 09-16-2014, 03:20 PM   #8
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Remove the grates that the meat touched and use a dedicated fish basket.
I second the fish basket idea. Spray with cooking spray. The basket could be non-stick coated. Mine is. When it's time to turn the fish, simply flip over the entire basket. No sticking, nor breaking fish.

Cook until the meat is opaque all the way through, and firm, but still juicy. Herbs and aromatics that go with fish include dill weed, taragon, paprika, onion, a little garlic, lime or lemon, chili powder. Or, fish is very good simply seasoned with salt and pepper.

Another great way to grill the fish is to purchase cedar planks, and place the fish directly on the plank, over the fire. Smoke from the burning plank will add a nice flavor to the fish, as will the wood's natural sweetness. And the fish doesn't stick to the oiled wood. You also won't have to worry about burning the skin. White oak planks also work well for this. You can find planks in barbecue sections of Wall Mart, probably in other stores as well.

Hope that helps.

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Old 09-16-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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I've only grilled the rockfish from Maryland.

Once you get the grill grates good and hot mop on plenty of oil and toss the fish on the grill quickly.

I haven't had a problem with sticking as long as the fish was thick enough for it to release naturally before it was overcooked. The skin will help keep things in place.

Foil would be a good safety factor if you're concerned.

I go with what might be called semi-indirect placement because I kind of keep it right on the fire line. Backbone towards the heat. I like a little char but don't want it burned too much.

I can't help you with temp because I use charcoal and it fluctuates during cook times and really don't know what temps I'm cooking at.

Time depends on the thickness of the fish. But at 4 1/2 pounds I'd guesstimate 15 min's a side depending on how close to the heat source you are as to when to start keeping an eye on it.

I just use S&P with a little lemon juice. You know what you like so go for that.

Also, I always take the head off. There is just something about having what I'm going to eat looking back at me that I don't like. Plus fish heads are really great crab bait.
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Old 09-16-2014, 03:34 PM   #10
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Rockfish is also commonly known as striped bass or stripers.
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