Grilled Redfish on the Half-Shell
I have cooked redfish on the half-shell for about 25 years. But I was rarely overwhelmed with the results... I discovered a game changing tip that infuses the grill/smoke flavor into the fish. It's my favorite way to eat fish. The key is how it's placed on the grill.
For those new to "half shell", you filet the fish and leave the scale on the meat. This technique works on any firm fleshed fish with tough scales, i.e., black drum, bass, sheepshead, snapper, even gaspergou (goo).
I've seen fellow cookers get cute with all sorts of toppings on a half-shell. Sugary stuff, jams, mushrooms, sausage, peppers and more, To each his own but I like to keep it simple. I might layer some sliced sweet onions and lemons after the flip.
2 to 3 pounds large fish fillets with the skin and scales still on
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1-2 tablespoons EVOO and/or butter
Cajun Seasoning Ingredients
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dry fish with paper towels. Cut vertical lines 3-4" apart from dorsal to pectoral fins (to easily serve portions once cooked). Go with 1-2" if you're serving a crowd for appetizers. You can also cut out the center bloodline on large fish.
- Heat grill with clean grates to medium-high. Season top half of fish with your favorite Cajun seasoning or kosher salt and pepper. If I don't make my own I use Tony Chachere's or Burger Tyme seasoning. Top off with paprika. It's fun to experiment with other spices such as thyme, dill, curry to get different flavors. When ready to grill, silicon brush olive oil or melted butter mixed with lime or lemon juice. Twitch Tip- for fish tacos add cumin and chili powder and use lime zest/juice at the end.
- When you're ready to sear the fish oil your grates. Twitch Tip - Place fish meat side down directly over flame and cook for 3 minutes. Have one burner on med/hi and the other burner(s) lower. Cook the tail/thin side over the lower burner.
- Flip and cook on medium for 8-10 mins or until fish flakes. Admire the fantastic grill marks.
- Serve immediately. Top off with a squeeze of the citrus juice, then add fresh grated lemon or lime zest. Use a spatula to remove fish from the scales. Starting at the tail, carefully skim off the fish meat being sure to leave behind the thin layer of gelatinous tissue in between the meat and scales (you don't want to eat this). You can always scrape off any that you miss.
Serve the fish with grilled vegetables, quinoa or fresh garden salad. We love to throw small or sweet potatoes directly on the grill on indirect medium heat while prepping our meats until the skin is crispy. We love to overcook our potatoes so they're extra crispy on the outside.