Being about as far away from an ocean as is geographically possible in the United States by living in St. Louis, I have to say, it’s a cruel twist of fate, or God has a wicked sense of humor, or whatever, for me to be a seafood junkie. I used to only like one kind of seafood. You know there are two kinds, right? Spiny and crawls is one kind and scaly and swims is the other. I used to be all about the former (lobster, crab, shrimp, scallops), but as I get older, I appreciate more and more the latter. Halibut, monk fish, tuna, salmon, I love them all. And red snapper is one of my favorites so I give you, Whole Red Snapper – Stuffed, Sauced and Smoked. Oh, and wait till I tell you what I’m smoking this fish with!

Whole Red Snapper – Stuffed, Sauced and Smoked Ingredients:

For the Stuffed Portion of this

1 whole red snapper (4-6 lbs)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 limes sliced
2 slices red onion
2 orange slices
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs oregano
5 garlic cloves smashed

For the Sauced Portion

6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic
2 thin slices of red onion for sauce
1 orange (or tangerine) peeled/chunked for sauce
1.5 limes zest and juice
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Coarse ground white pepper
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1/8 cup of olive oil
1/8 cup dry white wine
A dash of your favorite hot sauce

First things first, salt and pepper the whole red snapper inside and out

Next, we’re not going to just stuff the cavity, but we’re going to stuff the meat as well. Take a sharp knife (serrated is better) and make a slit behind the gills at a 45 degree angle down the side of the fish and do so every inch and a half or so parallel to the first cut:

Make sure to do this on both sides

Then slide a slice of lime in each slit:

It’s just fine if half of each slice of lime is sticking out

Once slices of limes are put in each slit on both sides of the fish, put the rest of the ingredients from the stuffed portion inside the cavity of the snapper.

Now let’s knock out that sauce. First up, take the leaves off the 6 oregano and 6 thyme stems:

Always try to use fresh over dried herbs

Now combine the herbs with the rest of the ingredients from the sauced section in a food processor and pulse into a sauce:

Mmmmmm Saucy!

Don’t pour that over the fish just yet. We have some maintenance to do first.

When done stuffing the snapper and making the sauce, you are going to have some leftover onion and garlic cloves. Save them. Even the ends of the onion:

Here’s your ticket to Flavortown! This works on ribs too…

Why would I ask you to save the ends of onions? Because we’re going to smoke this fish with onion and garlic, along with a little smoke wood. That’s right. We’re smoking with onion and garlic. Trust me here. It’s going to be epic!

Before we pour that sauce and get the fish on the grill, we need to create a nest of aluminum foil around it to keep the sauce from making a mess of the cooker. Lay down a few layers of Reynolds Wrap and set the whole red snapper in the middle. Roll up the edges to form a foil nest:

I love the color!

Now we can pour that sauce over the fish:

Slather it on!

Right now you could throw the fish in the fridge for 2-4 hours and then grill it and let the sauce really penetrate the meat if you wanted to, or you could grill it right away:

That fish is sauced!

When it’s time to grill, set up the cooker for two zone or indirect grilling, which means coals on one side and nothing on the other. Add a couple slices of onions and 2-3 cloves of garlic to the coals:

I know it sounds a little nuts, but trust me. It will blow your mind!

Then put the whole red snapper on the grill on the side with no coals:

That’s some sexy seafood

Close the lid and let the garlic and onion work their magic. The smoke will be faint, but the smell will be out of this world good. Whenever the smell ebbs, add another slice of onion and a couple cloves of garlic.

Once the fish gets to 130 degrees internal temperature, it’s time to bust out the foil again:

Reynolds Wrap to the Rescue!

The goal here is to form a foil pouch around the fish so that it essentially steams in its own juices and that sauce. As it does, the flavors of the fish and the sauce are intensified and there is no loss of liquid:

Let the intensifying begin!

I could pull this fish off the grill at 145, but I prefer to take it to north of 155. I’m even ok with 160-165. How long did it take to get there? I will tell you that this fish took just over an hour to get to 160. But a bigger or smaller fish will take a different amount of time. A few degree change in the temp could take more or less time. And the weather outside could make it a different amount of time. The moral of this story? Cook to temp, not to time. A probe thermometer will tell you when it’s done rather than having to guess when it’s done. Knowing is so much better than guessing!

Here’s the whole red snapper plated on a platter of citrus slices:

Time to get my snapper on!

But how did it taste? It was outrageously outstanding in every awesome way! OK, that might be a little over the top. Let me be more specific. The meat was tender and juicy with a pronounced hint of the garlic and onion smoke and a tinge of citrus from the fruit in the slits and the cavity. The sauce had a nice combo of sweet and savory with a little kick of heat. The herbs in the cavity and the sauce gave it a certain freshness that screams of summer. I would definitely make this one again.

I partnered with Reynolds Wrap on this post

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

Whole Red Snapper - Stuffed, Sauced and Smoked
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Whole Red Snapper, stuffed with citrus, onion, garlic and herbs, slathered in a sauce then smoked with garlic and onion and a little smoke wood
Ingredients
For the Stuffed Portion
  • 1 whole red snapper (4-6 lbs)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 limes sliced
  • 2 slices red onion
  • 2 orange slices
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 6 sprigs oregano
  • 5 garlic cloves smashed
For the Sauced Portion
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 thin slices of red onion for sauce
  • 1 orange (or tangerine) peeled/chunked for sauce
  • 1.5 limes zest and juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Coarse ground white pepper
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ cup of olive oil
  • ⅛ cup dry white wine
  • A dash of your favorite hot sauce
Instructions
Stuff the fish:
  1. Salt and pepper the whole red snapper inside and out
  2. With a sharp knife make a slit behind the gills at a 45 degree angle down the side of the fish and do so every inch and a half parallel to the first cut on both sides of the fish
  3. Stuff each slit in the sides of the fish with a slice of lime
  4. Place the rest of the ingredients from the stuffed section into the cavity of the red snapper
To make the sauce:
  1. Remove the leaves from the oregano and thyme stems and put the leaves in a food processor with the rest of the sauce ingredients
  2. Pulse till it forms a sauce
  3. Reserve the remaining garlic cloves and onion slices to use to smoke the fish
  4. Place the fish on a few layers of Reynolds Wrap and then roll the edges up to create a foil nest
  5. Pour the sauce over the fish
  6. Place the fish in the fridge to marinate for 2-4 hours (optional)
  7. Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other
  8. Target temp inside the grill is 250 degrees
  9. Add a couple onion slices and 2-3 cloves of garlic to the coals and put the snapper on the other side
  10. Smoke until the fish reaches 130 degrees then cover with foil to form a pouch around the fish
  11. When the fish gets to 160, remove from the grill and serve
 

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much perfection right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insanely talented @carlaocarvalho77 …… https://t.co/uKHWyunSxp - 4 months ago
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