In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Caribbean Inspired Grilled Red Snapper.


Today I thought I share a tasty grilled red snapper recipe with you all, as part of my month of grilling (June). This Caribbean inspired grilled red snapper will cause your taste buds to go into a state of frenzy and confusion as they’re hit with bite after bit of exciting Caribbean flavors. I grew up eating fish three ways when I was younger.. fried, curry and stewed, but the past few years have seen me adopt new and exciting ways to prepare seafood. In a few days I’ll share another grilled fish recipe with you, but this time we’ll do an accompanying sauce to go with it.

Special Thanks! I have to take a minute to thank everyone at Chelsea Brand out of Toronto for their generosity in sending me a huge supply of Red Snappers to use in my recipes. Please look for the Chelsea Brand when shopping for seafood at your local grocery store.


You’ll Need…

1 Red Snapper (1-2 lbs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs dill (optional)
2 slices lemon
1 scallion
1 pimento pepper (see note below)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon coconut milk
banana leaves for wrapping the fish

Notes: Pimento pepper is a flavor pepper, without any heat and also known as seasoning or flavor pepper in the Caribbean. When using scotch bonnet peppers, use gloves and if you’re concerned about the raw heat, avoid using the seeds. If you can’t source banana leaves, use tin foil or parchment paper.

Scale, trim and wash your fish. The fish I was using was already cleaned and gutted, but still had some fins, so using my kitchen scissors I trimmed those off. I then washed the fish with some lime juice (use lemon or vinegar) and cool water (pat dry with paper towels).  Then using a sharp knife I made shallow cuts every 1 inch or so (see pic).

I then chopped the scotch bonnet and pimento pepper (huge pieces). Using the back of my knife I tapped on the scallion to bruise it to release it’s flavors and I sliced a couple slices of the lemon.

You’ll need to have the bottom part (belly) of the fish cut open to have a sort of cavity to stuff all the wonderful seasonings. Fold the scallion and tuck in into the belly of the fish as well as the other items (thyme, dill, peppers).

Place the now stuffed fish on the banana leaves (see video below) and season with the black pepper and slat. Turn the fish over to get both sides and using your fingers, try to get some into the small cuts we made. Place the 2 slices of lemon on top of the fish, then pour the coconut milk over it.

Fold the banana leaves over the fish (try to tuck it in to secure) to form a sort of parcel (seal the ends as well). Now place on a hot grill (about 375F).. I used a grill with three burners, so the burner to the far left I left on high and the 2 burners directly below the fish I had on med/low). Close the lid of the BBQ and allow ti to cook for about 12-15 mins (depending on how thick your red snapper is). Then flip and let cook for the same amount of time of this side. If you find that your flame is burning off the banana leaf, turn the heat down to low.

It’s normal for the banana leaves to go charred, so don’t freak! Your grilled snapper is now read. Using a pair of scissors (be careful as there may be steam as you open) cut the parcel open and enjoy. You”l be hit with the lovely fragrance of the coconut milk and other good things we used in stuffing the fish. If your lemon slices are charred, you’ll also get that lovely perfume of lemon oil. Remember this is a whole fish your eating, so be prepared for the bones.

 I can’t tell you how many requests I get for this grilled fish every summer. I urge you to try this one and share it with family and friends (blow them away with your skills).

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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  1. August 2, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    Thank you for the recipe, Chris. The fish was beautiful and delicious– I added a lot more salt to taste. Just a gorgeous presentation and flavor.

  2. S
    June 9, 2014 / 10:49 am

    Hi Chris, I tried this yesterday. I didn’t like how the fish turned out; it smelled and tasted too ‘fishy’. What can I do to cut out that next time?


  3. July 8, 2013 / 1:39 am

    Great recipe Chris! I see Chelsea Brand has a great selection of Frozen and Salted Fish.

  4. lboogie
    June 26, 2013 / 3:02 pm

    Totally awesome your recipes and documentation, and I love the inspiration behind your website. You have a beautiful family btw.

  5. Mark
    March 15, 2013 / 4:47 pm

    Fantastic Flavorful Fish. (You mistyped salt)

  6. trinireena
    December 31, 2012 / 12:09 pm

    looks great, can't wait to try it!

  7. Karen
    August 31, 2012 / 9:58 am

    I tried this recipe, it was amazing!!! Thank you so much Chris, your a culinary genius!!

  8. Karen
    August 29, 2012 / 6:43 pm

    I cannot wait to try this recipe….I will let you know how it turns out!

  9. Trinishorty
    August 8, 2012 / 5:52 pm

    Can I do this in the oven as I don't have a grill? It looks so tasty!!

  10. Gwen
    July 7, 2012 / 1:25 pm

    Cant wait to get started. Just found your site. First , I want to make a party for my grandaughters housewarming about 30 people.,and wondered if you have any suggestions for a menu. not to difficult but really funky..thankyou.

  11. Latifah R.
    June 17, 2012 / 7:22 am

    Hello Chris btw the curry goat was wonderful. Do ya think this can be done with the corn husk? I'm gonna try it as to when I grille my corn on cob we soak them in sugar water, then put right On grille cause flavor is better. I'll let ya know how it come out I not sure where to get banana leaves in new jersey (at last minute) decided to make for fathers day today. I want to say I never used receipes until I stumbled to your site a little more than a year ago looking for an ingredient and I use at least 2x's a week for my trini man. Mother in law even had me cooking food to bring to different fetes 🙂

  12. Linda
    June 7, 2012 / 10:21 pm

    Hi Chris, can this be done in an oven?

  13. Indu Singh
    June 7, 2012 / 8:12 pm

    I haven't tried this one yet but I've tried the coconut sweet bread, the pone, the curried, the lazy man tuna gosh, your website is the bestest best ever. My daughter has stopped complaining about eating and she actually EATS and asks for more!! and my friends too! So thank you this site is just truly amazing. I always post but keep forgetting to write my name in the little box underneath so maybe you never see my comments….*making sure I write my name this time*

  14. angie anthony
    June 7, 2012 / 10:21 am

    mmmmmmmm………..i can't wait ti try this dish out…it looks sooooooooo delicious, i can taste it already…….:)

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