Roasted Red Snapper with Caribbean Seasoning (Made on the Grill)

Here, I’m making a simple grilled whole red snapper recipe with Caribbean green seasoning and fresh citrus. I prepped and marinated the fish before wrapping in banana leaves and grilled 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping once half way in between. If you use foil to wrap the fish, this cook time can drop by 5 to 10 minutes.

For more fish recipes, check out my fried red snapper, fried king fish and saltfish buljol recipes.

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Grilled whole red snapper ingredients

For this recipe, I used: cleaned, descaled whole red snapper, lime or lemon, salt, Caribbean green seasoning, fresh herbs, and oil.

The citrus removes any fishiness from the snapper while defrosting, marinating and cooking. You can also squeeze some juice over the cooked fish when you are ready to serve.

As for green seasoning, it is made using chadon beni or culantro leaves, cilantro, thyme, garlic, ginger, fresh pepper and any of your favorite herbs. Find my simple recipe for Caribbean green seasoning here or pick up Mabel’s seasoning or Chief green seasoning from Amazon.

The oil helps the seasonings infuse and prevents the fish from sticking to the banana leaves (or foil) when grilling.

Equipment for this recipe

You will need a grill for this recipe. I have the Char-Boil performance stainless steel grill that runs on propane gas. The grill does a great job for us when BBQing and grilling chicken, lamb and fish.

I also used banana leaves to wrap the whole fish before grilling. The trees are very common in the Caribbean and there is always someone that you can ask for a leaf or two. I have a few in my backyard that I used. In the US, you may be able to find banana leaves in the frozen section of your Caribbean and Asian supermarkets. Wrapping food in banana leaves before cooking is a very common technique in the Caribbean and is sustainable. The food also tastes better… but that’s my own anecdotal, biased opinion!

Of course, if you don’t have access to the leaves, you can always wrap the fish in aluminum foil. Since, it is metal, it will conduct heat better and you can reduce the cook time of the fish.

How to make grilled whole red snapper

Defrost red snapper

Defrost the fish, if it is frozen. To do this, I placed the frozen fish in a deep baking dish and filled with enough water to cover the fish. I also squeezed half of a lemon into the water to remove any odor, freshness and fishiness. It took about an hour or so for this fish to defrost fully. Rinse the fish thoroughly once it has fully defrosted.

defrosted whole red snapper

Marinate the fish

Cut three or four slits along each side of the fish, almost to the spine. I also cut the mouth off, but that’s optional. Sprinkle salt, Caribbean green seasoning, oil and lemon juice over the fish. Massage the seasonings into the slits, the underbelly and onto the skin. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes for the fish to marinate.

add seasonings to red snapper
rub marinade into whole red fish

Cook whole red snapper

Preheat the grill at 400°F. Remove the fish from the fridge and place on banana leaves or foil. If you are using banana leaves, be sure to wash them with warm soapy water. Sometimes, I also singe the leaves a little on the grill before using them. This helps to disinfect the leaves and make them more pliable and foldable.

Sprinkle fresh herbs like chives and lemon juice over and under the fish. You can also slice the lemon and place the slices underneath, on top and inside the underbelly of the snapper. Here I pulled a slice apart and stuck that into the underbelly.

add fresh herbs and lemon juice to snapper
place lemon slices inside snapper

Wrap the fish with banana leaves or foil. To keep the leaves together, you can use a skewer or twine to hold everything together. If you are using foil, loosely wrap the entire fish.

wrap whole snapper in banana leaves

Place the wrapped fish on the preheated grill to cook. Turn over using a tongs (or two) after 10 to 15 minutes. Cook the fish for another 10 to 15 minutes. The snapper is completely cooked when the flesh is white and flaky, no longer translucent and the internal temperature of the fish is about 140 to 145°F.

wrapped red snapper on grill
flip grilled whole red snapper

Optional: You can also open up the leaves or foil while on the grill, squeeze some lemon juice over the fish and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to allow the liquid to boil off for a bit. Serve hot.

finished grilled whole red snapper

How to eat grilled whole red snapper

The skin of the grilled red snapper is edible (it’s marine collagen!). To eat the fish, simply use a fork and dig right in. The flesh is white, flaky and will fall off the main bone. But, there are tiny bones within the flesh that you may need to remove as you eat.

This red snapper does not have a fishy taste but takes on the flavors of the Caribbean green seasoning, herbs and lemon.

What to serve with grilled red snapper

Grilled red snapper can be served with grilled and fresh side dishes like grilled vegetables, boiled and seasoned corn, fresh garden salad, or even fruit and veggie salsas. Macaroni pie and callaloo also go great with this recipe.

Grilled red fish recipe

Caribbean Grilled Whole Red Snapper

Flaky and flavorful, this grilled whole red snapper recipe is made with Caribbean green seasoning, fresh herbs and lots of lemon juice. It’s so good!
Prep Time1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Caribbean
Keyword: grilled whole red snapper, red snapper recipe
Servings: 2
Author: Ros Singh

Ingredients

  • lbs whole red snapper (cleaned, scaled)
  • 2 lemons (or limes)
  • tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning (with chadon beni, cilantro, garlic, ginger and pepper)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup chives and other fresh herbs

Equipment

  • Grill

Instructions

  • Defrost fish, if frozen. Place in a deep baking dish, fill with water, and add juice of ½ lemon. Set aside until fish has defrosted completely (approx 1 hr).
  • Rinse fish thoroughly.
  • Make 3 – 4 deep slits along the side of the fish.
  • Repeat the slits for the other side.
  • Mix together salt, Caribbean green seasoning, oil and juice of ½ lemon.
  • Massage the marinade into the fish, the underbelly, slits, and skin.
  • Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the grill at 400°F.
  • Remove the fish from the fridge. Place on washed and singed banana leaves or foil.
  • Add fresh chives and juice of ½ lemon to the fish.
  • Place lemon slices underneath the fish. Add the slices to the underbelly and top.
  • Wrap the fish tightly with the banana leaves or loosely with foil. Secure the leaves with toothpicks, skewers or twine.
  • Place the fish on the preheated grill.
  • Turn the fish over after 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Cook for 10 – 15 minutes more.
  • Optional: open the leaves or foil while on the grill. Squeeze more lemon juice and cook for 2 – 3 minutes more.
  • Serve hot.

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