Whole Red Snapper – Two Ways

There is something about being served a whole fish that is so intriguing and enticing to me, so when Whole Paycheck actually had my favorite fish on sale, I couldn’t resist!

Whole red snapper. I love it. So then I had to figure out how best to prepare it. Grilling was the obvious choice since this weekend has been absolutely beautiful! J and I decided to do it two ways. We wanted one that was infused with herbs and lemon to pair with some type of garlic sauce, and the other one would be a wild card. We ended up going with Caribbean flavors on that second fish because we both love jerk seasoning.

Preparation of whole fish is a lot easier when the store has already scaled and gutted it for you (because I was interested in NONE of that).

The first fish was simply stuffed with aromatics, rubbed down with oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The second fish required making a marinade and letting that soak into the fish for a couple hours (the longer you let it marinate, the better).

Then it’s time for someone else (my boyfriend) to head outside and grill it up! (I prefer just handling the prep work lol).

J is fancy so he grilled the first fish over his Himalayan rock salt slab (used to maintain moisture and elevate flavor).

We used a grill tray for the second one to prevent sticking. Also, those are lemon garlic basil chicken skewers next to the slab, we’ll talk about those later đź‘Ť

Back to the fish! The roasted garlic tarragon sauce almost stole the show! Very tasty, I recommend using it on the lemon herb fish.

Roasting the garlic gives this sauce it’s delicious, creamy consistency.

Serve these little snapper guys with a bunch of grilled veggies, and you have a perfect spring meal!

Whole Grilled Red Snapper – Two Ways

Lemon & Herb Grilled Whole Red Snapper with Roasted Garlic Sauce


1 whole red snapper, descaled and gutted

2 whole lemons

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 heads of garlic (roasted in oven w/ olive oil)

1/2 cup of chicken broth

1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp all purpose flour

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper


Place the salt slab on the hot grill about 10 minutes before

1. Make diagonal slits in both sides of the fish (cutting through the bones) about an inch apart (facilitates even cooking). Drizzle the fish with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper (inside and out).

2. Stuff the inside of the fish with thin slices of lemon and the sprigs of thyme. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over both sides of the fish.

3. Place the fish on top of the salt slab and grill on each side for 10-12 minutes (or more if needed) on each side or until flaky. Watch carefully!

4. To make the sauce, bring the chicken broth and tarragon to a boil. Whisk in the roasted garlic and melted butter until incorporated. Add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and the flour, whisk quickly. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to simmer until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Serve the grilled fish with the roasted garlic sauce and fresh lemon wedges.

Carribean Grilled Whole Red Snapper

This recipe is inspired by Immaculate Bites’ Carribean Grilled Whole Red Snapper, which can be found here: http://www.africanbites.com/caribbean-grill-whole-red-snapper/


1 whole red snapper, descaled and gutted

1 whole lemon

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tbs garlic, minced

2 tsp ginger, minced

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

2 tsp chicken bouillon

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper


1. Make diagonal slits in both sides of the fish (cutting through the bones) about an inch apart (facilitates even cooking). Season with salt and pepper (inside and out), and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over both sides of the fish.

2. Mix together all of the remaining ingredients (plus the juice from the other half of the lemon) in a large rectangular plastic container, place the fish inside, and bathe the fish in the marinade on both sides until coated. Put a lid on the container, and allow the fish to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (I recommend at least 4 hours for maximum flavor, but overnight is best).

3. Spray your grilling tray with nonstick cooking spray, and grill the fish in the tray for about 6-8 minutes per side (watching closely). If grilling directly on the grill grate rather than in a tray, oil the grill grate liberally beforehand, and cook the fish for 4-5 minutes per side, only flipping it once it has naturally started to separate from the grates.

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