How to Cook Bluegill on the Grill

by Michelle Kerns

Bluegill fish is low in fat and saturated fat, high in potassium and an excellent source of protein, with each 4-ounce serving containing 22 grams of protein, or almost 40 percent of the daily protein requirement for men and 48 percent of the recommended intake for women. Valued by freshwater anglers for its firm, mild flesh, bluegill is commonly battered or breaded, then pan-fried. Grilling bluegill is a healthier, lower-fat choice, however. With the right method, you can grill either whole or filleted bluegill.

Grilling Whole Bluegill

Make three angled slices, each approximately 1 1/2 inches apart, on each side of the fish, using a sharp knife. Cut all the way to the fish's spine with each cut.

Rub the outside of the entire fish with vegetable or olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high, then allow the heat to decrease to medium. Use a wire brush to thoroughly clean the grate, then brush it with oil.

Place the bluegill on the grill. Leave it to cook, undisturbed, for approximately three to four minutes. Use a spatula coated with oil to lift the fish to determine if it is sticking to the grill.

Turn the fish gently to the other side with the oiled spatula when the skin is no longer sticking to the grill. Allow the fish to grill for another three to four minutes. Serve.

Grilling Bluegill Fillets

Coat a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil lightly with oil. Put the fish fillets into the center of the foil.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Put the foil with the bluegill onto the grill.

Put the cover of the grill in place. Cook the fillets for approximately eight minutes. Use a fork to check that the fish flakes easily and that the center of the fillet is opaque before serving.


  • For additional flavor, grill whole bluegill with the inner cavity seasoned with your choice of spices and stuffed with fresh sprigs of herbs like marjoram and thin slices of lemon, advises the Bon Appetit website.

    You can marinate bluegill before grilling. Combine oil and your choice of seasonings -- such as salt, pepper, garlic, minced fresh herbs and lemon zest -- in a bowl or shallow dish. Put the bluegill fillets into the mixture and allow them to marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then proceed with grilling the fish.

    If you prefer, top bluegill fillets with thinly sliced vegetables and wrap the foil around the combination to form a packet before grilling.

Photo Credits

  • dave willman/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.