BBQ Crispy Skin Bream – By Anthony Davies

These days covered BBQ grills like the Weber “Q” and Ziegler & Brown’s “Ziggy” are very fashionable and popular. They use less gas and are easier to clean than the flat plate barbies grandad used to cremate his steak, and the covered cooking method produces a more flavorsome result with better-retained moisture. They are also ideal for roasts, or baked fish, as in this recipe. Smaller, low fillet percentage fish like bream and squire are good candidates for baking, but the traditional “wrap in foil” technique can result in a bland, almost steamed final product. This very simple dish inspired by TV’s Rick Stein has lots of flavour and will literally have your diners sucking on the bones.

Place the seasoned fish directly on the grill bars.

Place the seasoned fish directly on the grill bars.


1 decent bream or small snapper for each 2 persons, around 30 – 35cm, scaled and gutted. You can serve smaller fish individually, but those tiny bones get to be a problem. I won’t kill a bream under 30, one that size carries almost twice the flesh of a 25cm just legal fish.

Olive oil spray

Coarse salt – cooking salt or rock salt from a grinder is good.

Oil and salt the fish after drying with paper towels.

Oil and salt the fish after drying with paper towels.


Preheat the BBQ to medium high, about 200c. In the meantime, pat both sides of the fish dry with a paper towel, lightly spray with the oil and sprinkle liberally with the salt.

When the BBQ is hot enough lay the oiled, salted fish directly on the grill bars, close the lid and cook for about 6 minutes. Lift the lid and gently test to see if the fish has released from the grill. Don’t force it, you’ll tear the skin and ruin the dish. If it’s sticking, continue to cook for a minute or two and test again. The fish will release when it’s ready; turn and repeat the procedure.

Check the fish for ‘done-ness’ with a fork through the thickest part of the shoulder , if no further cooking is required serve with your choice of sides. The crispy skin is the tastiest bit!