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How to barbecue a whole fish

Mackerel, sea bass, sea bream, sardines and trout are all good cooked whole on the barbecue. Make sure the fish is scaled and gutted and the fins have been removed. Learn how to cook the delicious fruits of the sea with our easy guide.

  1. Making the cuts

    Using a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts in the flesh on each side, about  1.5cm (3/4in) deep.

    Making the cuts
  2. Stuff for flavour

    Put a few slices of lemon (halved if necessary) and sprigs of herbs in the cavity of each fish – thyme, rosemary, dill and parsley all work well. 

    Stuff for flavour
  3. Oil the fish

    Rub the skin all over with oil.

    Oil the fish
  4. Cooking time

    Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the fish. Sardines will cook in about 5 minutes, fish weighing about 500g will take 15-20 minutes and fish weighing about 1kg will take 20-30 minutes. Cook the fish on indirect heat for half the cooking time until the skin crisps. Turn it over and cook for the rest of the time or until the fish flakes easily. 

    Cooking time
  5. Serve and garnish

    Serve with more lemon slices for squeezing and some extra chopped herbs.

    Serve and garnish
  6. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this comforting dinner. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    Whole fish of your choice
    1 lemon, sliced
    Fresh herbs of your choice
    Olive oil