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Taste of Caribe Royale – Cedar Plank Grilled Whole Red Snapper


What’s the one dish that you just can’t miss every time you visit Florida? For many, it’s key lime pie, gator bites or conch fritters. According to insiders, however, fresh Florida fish tops the list, and for a true local flavor, it’s got to be Red Snapper.

To acquire a fresh Red Snapper directly from the sea, pay a visit to your local fish market. When choosing your fish, the eyes should be full, clear and bulging – not sunken. The gills should be a deep red, not brown, and the flesh should be firm and smell like the ocean. Once you’ve selected the perfect Red Snapper, follow this recipe to let the flavor shine. Our Executive Chef David Hackett shares his timeless recipe, stuffed with fresh garlic and herbs and grilled atop a cedar plank with fresh Florida oranges.

Grilled Whole Red Snapper
yield: 1 fish (serves 4)

  • 1 – 3 to 4 lb. Whole Red Snapper, gutted and scaled
  • 2 Oranges, sliced into 8 slices
  • 1 stalk of Lemon Grass, cut into 2” pieces and crushed with side of the knife
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro, washed and large stems removed

Seasoning Mix:

  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • ½ bunch Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 Shallot, finely minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • Kosher Salt as needed
  • Cracked Black Pepper as needed
  • Melted Butter and white wine as needed (optional)

(Note: Pre-soak the Cedar Plank in water for about 4 hours, weight it down so it does not float)



  • Prepare Seasoning Mix: Mix all ingredients together and set aside
  • Pre-heat the BBQ grill and try to keep the temperature around 375 F to 400 F.
  • Rinse the Red Snapper with cold water, both inside and out, make sure to feel for any scales that have been left behind.
  • Place the Red Snapper on a cutting board and score/cut both sides with your knife making sure to penetrate the skin and cut about ¼” deep slices into the fish, about five cuts per side, deeper in thicker parts and less in thinner. This will prevent the fish from curling, it will also aid in the actual flesh absorbing the seasoning and assist in cook time.
  • For both the cedar plank and foil, rub oil or butter on the area where the fish will be placed.
  • Place four slices of orange on the foil or plank.
  • Using the seasoning mix, liberally rub the Red Snapper thoroughly both inside and out with the mixture and put the Red Snapper in the cedar plank or on the foil.
  • Place the crushed lemongrass and the whole cilantro in the cavity of the Red Snapper and lay the four remaining slices of orange on the top.
  • Melted Butter and White Wine can be used to baste the snapper throughout its cooking process and the remaining seasoning mixture can also be used to baste during cooking.
  • Once the whole snapper is tender to the touch (about 10-15 minutes), remove from the grill and serve.
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