Barbecued whole snapper with sauce
Why It Pays To Grill Whole Fresh Fish Rather Than Fillets Only
Grilling a good fish fillet is possible, but difficult. The skin and fat serve as protective insulators, and without them, a skinless filet dries out on the high heat of the grill.
Not only does grilling a whole fish prevent the flesh from frying out, but there are some flavorful-boosting opportunities to be had with a wide variety of fish.
Small whole fish like branzino, trout, or gilt-head bream grill beautifully. Branzino in particular doesn't have many bones, and you can easily remove the ones it does have.
A whole fish also has a cavity that can be stuffed with lemon slices, parsley, basil, lemongrass, alliums, ginger, or Thai chilies to enhance the flavor and help keep it moist.
Before grilling, make a few diagonal slices across the fish's body and coat it with salt and oil. A grill basket will prevent sticking but isn't an absolute necessity.
Once cooked, fillet the fish by cutting it in half along the top side and removing the bones. Once done, you have a small grilled fish that is the perfect single serving.