After being boatless all summer, we finally completed the repairs to our boat, and with Mamute in town, what better way to spend a wonderful Saturday than out on the James River. The bite was a little slow, but we did manage to snag a couple of Croakers as well as some Catfish (the “we” part of the preceding statement refers to my wife, and she out-fished me by far). So now what to do with the fishes? As if it was even a question…grill em! Whole, head on, fresh fish. The catch is, I've never grilled whole fish before. So here we go… After cleaning and scaling the Croakers, and simply cleaning the Catfish (leaving the skin on) I prepped a simple marinade: kosher, cracked pepper, celery seed, coriander, granulated garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Next, I scored the fish to allow the marinade to penetrate, and then I gave them a good rub down. Now to the grill. Make sure you light your coals 20-25 minutes ahead of time to ensure said grill is nice and toasty (if you have a gas grill, I’m sad for you). After an hour in the fridge the fish goes into the “fish basket” (the thingy where the fish is sandwiched between two metal grates). Next I stuffed the cavity with fresh basil, oregano, sliced onion, and lemon slices.
I reserved the excess marinade to baste the fish while cooking, placed the basket six inches or so over the prepared coals and walked the hell away. After three minutes or so, I basted the fish with the excess marinade, after six minutes flipped the basket over, and basted again. Then I cooked it all for an additional six minutes (basting after three minutes, then covering for three and a half minutes). Ahh, perfection! The most delicious fishes I've ever eaten!
And if it’s not great enough to have a wife who loves to fish, she even painted the name on our boat!