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Big Show’s Big Eats: Grilled half shell redfish

Editor’s Note: Terry Scroggins has long been known as a great cook. In this column, he shares instructions on how to cook some of his favorite foods. See his other recipes for Pork tenderloinTequila chickenVenison kabobs, Mustard fried venisonBeer can chickenPeanut butter cup pieSmoked ribs with red pepper jellyShrimp-stuffed jalapeñosCrab-topped grouperTeriyaki injected tenderloinGrilled spaghettiFried ribs, Sausage dip.

If you like tasty meals that are easy to prepare and cook, then y’all are going to love this month’s recipe, Half Shell Redfish on the grill. Redfish is one of my all-time favorite fish to catch and eat. They fight like a juiced up bass and are as tasty as a fish can get, so they are a win-win for a guy like me. There are several ways to prepare redfish so I figured I would share one of my simplest, yet most delicious recipes for ‘em.

What I mean by “half shelled” is that I don’t skin or scale one side of the fillets I get off the redfish. I leave the scale side completely intact and will eventually use that side to cook the fish on. The scales protect the fragile meat and help slow cook it to perfection. 

I caught these redfish back in October out on the St. Johns River. Yes, the same river we had a Bassmaster Elite Series event on earlier this year. They looked like the perfect eating size so I figured I’d clean them to grill up later. I removed the fillet from the fish but left the meat “half shelled,” or on the skin and scalos. Then I tossed the fillets into the freezer until I was ready to grill them. 

Grilled half shell redfish

Ingredients: Half shell redfish – tub of Butter – Old Bay Seasoning – Old Bay Minced Garlic – onions – macaroni (or rice)

Tools: Charcoal – hickory wood chunks for smoky flavor

Prep time: After the redfish is cleaned – 10 minutes of prep time tops 

Cook time: Cook the redfish scale side down for around 20 minutes at 300 degrees 

I thawed out the redfish and quickly trimmed up any small rib bones. After this step, the fish is ready for the grill, which is one reason I love this recipe so much. It’s quick and easy.

Get your grill burning right around 300 degrees and place your redfish fillets scale side down on the grill. Cool thing is the scales won’t stick to the grill, so you don’t need to bother with greasing it up. 

Once your fish is on the grill, first things first, add plenty of butter!

Then I like to place a few thick cut onion rings on top of the butter while it melts. 

Give your fish a quick coat of Old Bay Seasoning for some added flavor. 

Once the redfish is showered with Old Bay Seasoning, I like to add Old Bay Minced Garlic to the mix.

I’m a big fan of garlic so I don’t go light on it. I make sure to use plenty. 

After you have your redfish all dressed up with seasoning, butter and onion rings, throw some hickory wood chips on your coals to give your fish a delicious smoky flavor. 

Let your fish cook for about 20 minutes with the scale side down. Don’t flip the fish to cook both sides – 20 minutes on the scale side will perfectly cook your fish all the way through, giving it a flaky texture and delicious taste. 

I didn’t this time around, but you can add a spray of lemon or cilantro for a little extra flavor. Then just add a side of your choice. I did macaroni here, but rice is usually my favorite. Grab a fork and dig in.

Terry Scroggins’ column, Big Show’s Big Eats, appears monthly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter or Facebook.