Grilled Whole Fish

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Make sure your grill surface is very clean and hot before you put the fish on there to help avoid sticking. If you tear the skin, no worries—you always have another chance on the second side for the Facebook or Twitter money shot.


  • 1 very fresh whole fish, such as branzino, snapper or trout, about 3 lb., cleaned
  • 2 fresh dill sprigs
  • 3 lemon slices, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for grill


Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to 400°F. If using charcoal, let burn until all the coals are gray on the outside, 20 to 25 minutes.

While the grill is heating, prepare the fish: Place the dill sprigs and lemon slices inside the body cavity and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the outside of the fish all over with the 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Using a grill brush, scrape the heated grill rack clean. Rub the rack with oil. Place the fish on the grill rack over a medium-hot spot. Do not move the fish for about 5 minutes; this will help prevent the skin from sticking. Using tongs and a spatula or 2 spatulas, carefully flip the fish over and cook until the skin is crisp on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes more. Use a cake tester or a metal skewer to probe the temperature of the fish. If the tester doesn’t feel hot, move the fish to a cooler spot on the grill, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. The goal is to get the interior of the fish cooked and bring the skin to crispiness at the same time.

Transfer to a platter, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from This is a Cookbook, by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman (Olive Press, 2012).

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