Momma D’s Redfish On The Half Shell

If you have fished anywhere on the inshore coastal waterways of the southeastern United States, you have no doubt heard of a Redfish. A fish of golden red with a distinct spot on its tail. Shaped like a torpedo and is, pound for pound, one of the hardest fighting inshore fishes. If you take a ride down any intercostal waterway, you can generally see fishermen in small skiffs, poling the flats in search of these majestic fish.

A bottom-feeding fish that can be spotted with its tails up while feeding for small crustaceans, which many fishermen will refer to as a “tailing redfish.” Redfish are best known to be located around the coastal areas of Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and the Carolinas but have been found as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as northern Mexico. I have fished for them in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, whether for recreation or while fishing in a tournament and for me, they are my favorite fish to catch.

If you have never had the chance to stand on a casting platform in the front of a boat and see the V wake of redfish coming through the water at your bait, striking it with precision, and then peeling the line off your reel with ease, you need to plan a trip immediately. If you have been lucky enough to catch one in the slot limit and take it home to eat, you know it is one of the best-eating inshore fish. Depending on your state, the daily limit per person may only be one fish, so you want to ensure you are cooking it in the most delicious way possible. You can fry it, bake it, blacken it, make ceviche with it, or, my favorite, grill it on the half shell.

Redfish on the half shell is a method of cooking the fish where you leave the filets on the skin with the scales—leaving the scales on creates a surface for the fish to cook on, almost like aluminum foil. This method was taught to me by my parents and is the only method I use to cook these prized fish.

Using oil as a binder, you cover the filet in a mixture of seasonings, then brush on a mix of butter and lemon juice; on top of that, you place the filet in the fridge to allow the butter to harden while you preheat the grill. Once the grill preheats, you will grill the flesh side of the filet for a couple of minutes to sear and lock the flavor in before flipping it over, placing the scale side down for another five to seven minutes. Once the fish has cooked through you, squeeze half of a lemon over the top before plating it to serve with your choice of a side. I prefer to use grilled vegetables. Enjoy this meal with your favorite adult beverage while retelling how you caught the fish with your friends and family.

A decent-sized redfish will feed up to four people, and if you were lucky enough to catch more, make it a party, and as many people as your filets will allow. Please see below for the ingredients and instructions. Give this recipe a try, and I hope you and your family will enjoy it as much as mine.

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