Whole BBQ’d Snapper

Whole fish inside a basket on a barbeque.
Seeing a freshly caught snapper on the BBQ is the sign of a perfect New Zealand summer. Get fishing, get catching and get cooking!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner
Servings 4 people


  • 1 large whole snapper scaled & cleaned (substitute with your catch of the day)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander finely chopped (use the stems as well as leaves)
  • ½ lime finely zested
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 extra lime to serve


  • Make the marinade. Place all ingredients (except the fish!) in a bowl and mix well. You can use a food processor to save time.
  • With a sharp knife, cut incisions on both sides of the fish. This is to let the marinade flavour seep through to the fish flesh. Cuts are approximately 1cm apart. Trim the tail and fins so they don't burn.
  • Rub the marinade onto the fish, inside & out. Place slices of lime inside the fish, then place into fridge to marinade for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat up your BBQ to a medium-high heat (190°C) If you use a BBQ fish grilling instrument, prepare by lightly oiling it. The easiest way to do this is to put some olive oil on your hand and rub onto the bars.
  • Place the marinated fish inside the instrument basket, close and secure. Place the marinated fish inside the basket, close and secure.
  • Place on the BBQ, direct heat, and cook for approx 10 minutes each side. Make sure you use a glove when turning the basket, as it will be extremely hot.
  • Remove the basket from the BBQ using gloves, and carefully remove fish from basket. Easily done with tongs and a spatula. Serve with lime wedges and your choice of salad.


Tip: You can easily tell when the fish is cooked as its eyes will be white and slightly popped out!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Andrew (Andy) Alcock on 05/01/2024 at 2:00 pm

    This sounds very nice. It is like a marinated grilled fish my wife and I had at White Sands Beach (Areia Branca) in Dili, Timor-Leste, some years ago. However, I know that the recipe also had chopped lemon grass and chopped shallots as well.

    Can you tell me the ethnic origin of this dish?


    • Rani on 15/01/2024 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Andrew,
      No particular ethnic origin. We are lucky to live in a melting pot of cultures and ingredients!
      The version you describe with lemongrass and shallots sounds delicious!

  2. Ken on 10/02/2018 at 12:04 pm

    When you write “eyes” you don’t need to insert an apostrophe. (eye’s) You’re welcome.

    • Fresh Team on 12/02/2018 at 9:32 am

      Thanks Ken. Yes we know that. Love a good grammar and apostrophe lover.

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