Wild Recipes

Whole Yellow Tail Snapper

Latest posts by Dustyn Carroll (see all)
4.0 from 1 vote

In the Florida Keys, we eat a lot of fish. In fact, per NOAA, Americans alone eat about fifteen and a half pounds of fish a year per person. Fish is an important source of omega 3 fats, is high in protein, vitamin D and is good for the heart. This is one of the many reasons Pescatarians make an exception for fish; not to mention it is delicious. There are many different varieties and the method I am presenting today does not work for every fish, however when done correctly, it can be a well-deserved treat after a great day on the water, or the perfect meal made for someone you care about. Not only does whole fish give a great presentation, but it also allows you to savor all of the flavors as you have to eat it slower while picking around the bones. Keeping the fish whole and leaving the skin on lowers the evaporation level, however, for maximum moisture retention, try this in sealed parchment paper. I chose to leave my fish exposed to absorb the smoke from my Traeger.

Ideally, this is meant for fresh caught fish from the water to the table, however if you are unable to catch your fish and you still want to try this, you may be able to purchase a fresh caught fish from your local market. It is important to observe two main things when selecting a fish you didn’t catch, the more firm and round the eyes are the more fresh the fish is. If they are flat and sunken in, the fish is not fresh. Additionally, you want to smell it to make sure they have not had it for too long, all have that familiar smell, however if it is overpowering, avoid it.

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Whole Yellow Tail Snapper

Recipe by Dustyn Carroll
4.0 from 1 vote
Course: Wild Recipes


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  • A whole snapper, about 2 lbs

  • 1 large blood orange (substitute with lemon for a more bitter taste)

  • Cilantro

  • A handful of rainbow carrots

  • Parsley for garnish

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Dill

  • White wine

  • Vanilla extract

  • Sides
  • 3-5 Rainbow carrots

  • Asparagus


  • Preheat the Traeger, smoker of choice or your oven to 450 degrees or in my case as high as it goes to 375 and I will cook it a little longer.
  • After gutting the fish, I like to cut the fins off with a good pair of scissors or a sharp knife. This makes handling it easier during the preparation.
  • After removing the fins, I descale the fish with my favorite fish scaler. There are several types of fish scalers on the market, Amazon sells an assortment of four for under ten dollars.
  • Once I have removed the scales from both sides, I give it a quick rinse and do a final check for any scales I may have missed.
  • Next we need to oil the fish down coating it in olive oil then stuffing the cavity with herbs and spices of your choice. I prefer the sweeter taste of an orange over the sour taste of a lemon. I use parsley inside as well to make the dill pop and the orange to open up the vanilla extract I lightly dropped over the garnish.
  • Last, I sprinkled dill, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper over the outside of the oiled fish and placed in my smoker. Last, I scour the fish by making three shallow cuts on each side.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees or until the internal temp of your fish reaches 145 degrees.
  • Let sit for about 10 minutes then enjoy.

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Dustyn Carroll

Dustyn always had a love for adventure and fostered a love for hunting and fishing after his military career began. He found an appreciation of wild game meats through his co-workers and then jumped into the pursuit of wild meat wholeheartedly. Cooking and serving wild game to his family and friends has become pleasurable achievement which he looks forward to at every new journey.

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