It’s Fall–And Those Big, Tasty Redfish Are Plentiful on Florida’s Big Bend!

Fall means that our Gulf waters are beginning to cool off, and the redfish are getting frisky and into a spawning mood.  However, the big “bull” and “spawner” reds are over-slot and wouldn’t be great to eat anyway.  Reds in the 18-27-inch slot are much better at the table.

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“Slot” redfish from Florida’s Big Bend make excellent table fare!

If you want to eat a redfish, you’ll either have to catch it yourself or pester some neighbor or friend into giving up one of his or her two-fish bag limit.  Redfish, or red drum, are not to be confused with deep-water red snapper, which are commercially available at some times during the year.  There’s a distinctive difference in the taste of shallow-water reds from the offshore snapper “reds”.  Here’s a recipe that’s bound to please and have your guests asking for seconds!

 

Redfish, grilled on the "half shell", is a crowd-pleasing recipe!
Redfish, grilled on the “half shell”, is a crowd-pleasing recipe!

Allow one fillet per person. To prepare, put the fillets in a shallow baking dish and pour in a whisked-together marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. An hour in advance of dinner is ample, but be sure to turn the fillets every 15 minutes or so. At grilling time, place the fillets skin-side-down and cook uncovered until the top surface of the fish turns white, meaning it’s almost cooked. Then, finish the cooking by carefully flipping the fillet to the “meat side” for just a few minutes. Most of the actual cooking takes place with the skin side down and this final touch is mostly to impart color and grill marks. Total grilling time depends on your particular cooking gear and the thickness of the fillets, but you’ll soon learn to judge doneness by pressing a fillet with your finger. Too soft means not cooked enough; too hard means overcooked—grilling tricks you’ll learn with experience.