Cooking fish on the barbeque need not be difficult. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to achieve expert results every time when you follow the 5 simple steps below. For best results firm fresh fish should be used. Select whole fish or thick steaks from the large deep sea varieties.
Fish cooking can be done on gas or solid fuel barbeques. Allow plenty of preparation time and make sure you have everything you need:
- Fish basket (Fisharoo)
- Lining: Aluminium foil is quite common, though banana leaves and corn husks make great wrappers, too.
- Marinades – mix your own blend of oil, lemon, garlic, ginger, vinegar, chilli, coriander and so on.
- If you wish to bake the fish, use a hooded barbeque and follow the directions in “Baking and Roasting”.
- If you wish to smoke the fish, use a smoker box plus wood chips and follow the directions “smoking”.
Choosing The Fish
When choosing your fish for the barbeque the following areas should be considered:
- Ensure the fish has a pleasant sea smell
- Ensure the eyes are bright, not sunken
- Look for fish with firm flesh (the flesh should spring back when touched)
Prepare The Barbeque
- Line the Fisharoo. This is optional, but will keep the fish moist and evenly cooked. If using aluminium foil, it is best to keep the shiny side towards the food.
- Place the fish into the Fisharoo (fish basket). This will make turning easy and keep the fish from falling apart. A 1.5kg whole snapper will fit nicely into a Fisharoo.
- Oil and season to taste. For extra moist fish, cook the fish unscaled.
- Preheat the barbeque. If using a roasting hood prepare the barbeque for indirect cooking.
- Decide on whether you will cook on the plate or grill. If using the plate adjust the stand on the Fisharoo to avoid direct contact with the plate.
Time To Cook
If you are baking or smoking the fish, follow the directions in the appropriate chapter. The following directions are for simple direct grilling only:
- Position the Fisharoo on either the plate or grill. If you have not lined the fish in the Fisharoo, leave the burners on low. If you used foil or leaves as lining, turn the burners to medium (between low and high).
- Cook slowly, and if the Fisharoo is unlined, turn once or twice only. Resist the temptation to keep turning the fish as this tends to dry it out.
- Cooking times will vary, however an approximate guide to cooking whole fish is 20-25 minutes per kilo. Fish is cooked when it turns opaque and just starts to flake when tested with a fork. At this point the fish should still be moist.
- If the fish was cooked unscaled, you should now peel off the skin and scales.