Grilled Whole Yellowtail From Fisherman’s Belly

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes, you end up with a small yellowtail – perfect for this week’s Grilled Whole Yellowtail recipe.

That’s what happened to me last time I went fishing with Pete Gray, owner of Let’s Talk Hook Up and his fishing buddies, Ron and Tommy P. After I landed a 7-pound yellowtail on the deck everyone just stared at it, until I said, “I’m grilling it whole.”

Grilled Whole Yellowtail recipe from Fisherman's BellyGrilled Whole Yellowtail

Serves 4-6


  • 1 Whole yellowtail 5-8 pounds, gutted, gilled and scaled
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • First cold press olive oil, 1-2 cups
  • Fresh mint, bundle
  • Fresh oregano, 3 sprigs
  • Fresh rosemary, 3 sprigs
  • 1 Medium orange juiced
  • 2 Limes, one juiced, one cut in half
  • Paper towels
  • Vegetable oil
  • Basting brush
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Toothpicks


  1. Prep the yellowtail by sprinkling a liberal amount of kosher salt inside the gut and head cavity. Using a butter knife, and the salt as an abrasive agent, scrape out the bloodline that runs underneath the spinal column. Also, clean out any blood patches and small organs still attached in the gut and head cavity. Use a paper towel to help you clean.
  2. Once the gut and head cavity are cleaned and dry, season them with salt and pepper. Brush both the gut and head interiors with cold press olive oil and finally stuff the gut cavity with all the herbs plus the two lime halves.
  3. Use three to four toothpicks to “sew”  the gut cavity together.  This will prevent the herb stuffing from leaking out.
  4. Completely pat dry the outside of the fish with paper towels.
  5. Cut 3 slits on each side of the fish (for even cooking). Add pepper to the entire fish (no salt!), and brush on a liberal amount of olive oil. Keep refrigerated until needed.
  6. Make the baste by adding the orange and lime juice into a small mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of salt and pepper. Note the total amount of citrus liquid. Now slowly add half that amount of olive oil while mixing vigorously. Set the baste aside.
  7. Preheat your grill to its maximum temperature. Clean the grill thoroughly with a steel brush and then wipe it clean with vegetable oil-soaked paper towels.
  8. Lay the yellowtail on the grill and cook for approximately ten minutes. Before flipping the fish, brush on more olive oil onto its exposed side. Then fill the fish. Begin brushing on the basting juice intermittently for the next 10 minutes.
  9. While basting, keep checking for doneness by looking inside the cut slits. This will give you a chance to see inside the thickest part of the fish. When cooked, place the grilled whole yellowtail in a large platter and pour the remaining basting juices on top of the fish.

Get the full video recipe here from Fisherman’s Belly!

Fisherman's BellyPlease visit Fisherman’s Belly for many more delicious recipes and unique ideas for preparing your seafood and fresh catch or visit the “FishermansBellyChannel” on Youtube to subscribe for weekly updates:

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Fisherman's Belly is the brainchild of Yanni Hassir, a SoCal waterman whose passion extends from the ocean to his kitchen. offers a growing list of seasonal SoCal sport fish recipes. There are tips and tricks for cooking yellowtail, rockfish, white seabass, halibut, lobster, tuna...