While there are several different varieties of redfish, they all are excellent for summertime backyard grilling. Redfish have a firm, lean flesh with deep pink to red skin and large eyes. Atlantic and Pacific varieties of redfish are widely available on their respective coasts, often referred to as ocean perch, and Pacific rockfish. You can grill them up as fillets or whole, if you prefer, which can make for an impressive presentation. Have the fishmonger clean, gut and scale whole redfish at the fish counter to make it easier to get them on the grill quickly .
Grilled Redfish Fillets
Prepare your grill for medium-high heat, brushing the grill grates with vegetable oil and lighting fresh coals if you are using a charcoal grill. If you are using a gas grill, preheat the grill by turning all burners on to high to preheat for about 10 to 15 minutes, then reduce one burner to a medium-high temperature.
Brush the redfish fillets with olive oil or melted butter and season generously with salt and pepper. You can also choose to add any additional and complementary seasonings, herbs and spices you prefer, such as lemon pepper, smashed garlic or chili powder
Add your redfish fillets to the hot grill and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning them over halfway through with tongs, until the flesh flakes is fully opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Grilled Whole Redfish
Prepare your charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat. Brush the grill grates with oil, then light the charcoals or preheat your gas grill.
Place whole redfish, cleaned, gutted and scaled, on a clean cutting board and make a few slashes on both sides of the body, which will allow the heat to penetrate the interior of the meat easier and cook more evenly.
Remove the head if it is still attached by positioning the chef's knife behind the pectoral fin close to the gills and make a diagonal cut toward the head end. Cut firmly through the fish to cut through the bones and discard the head. This is an optional step, however, as you do not have to remove the head.
Coat the whole redfish generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can choose to stuff the cleaned out cavity of the fish with aromatic ingredients such as sliced lemons, garlic cloves and fresh herb sprigs.
Place the fish on the grill and cook for roughly 5 minutes on each side. Cover the grill to help create an oven-like atmosphere and get the interior to cook through well.
Use a spatula to gently scrape the fish from the grate if it sticks, without losing too much of the fish in the process.
Add more flavor to redfish fillets by marinating them for a few hours before cooking. You can make any type of marinade, using equal amounts of an oil like olive or sesame oil and an acidic element, such as balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Add any herbs and spices you'd like until you get the flavor profile you're looking for.