Grilled Yellowtail Collars – Mediterranean Style Recipe

Ever thought about grilling fish collars? You probably have if you’ve been fishing the Coronados for yellowtail lately. My fishing buddy Dave Burton said that was the most asked question during the ride home while the deckhands where filleting all those yellowtails. “Can you grill these yellowtail collars?”

fish collars

My new recipe shows you just how easy it is. Especially after the deckhands cut and portion out the collars. From that point, all you have to do is marinate them and put them on a hot grill. This recipe grills the fish collars like they would in the Mediterranean. A little lemon, a little olive oil, and a little honey is all it takes to turn your backyard into a Mediterranean fish taverna! And speaking of Mediterranean, do you know how healthy fish collars are? The people of the Mediterranean do, check out my Live Longer By Eating Fish video!

fish collars

My buddy Dave Burton and his big smiling face!

If you’re interested in more grilled collar recipes, check out my Asian Yellowtail Collars.

This July has seen more yellowtail at the Coronado Islands than tourists at Disneyland. And the size varied from five to twenty-five pounders. What’s more, the islands have made Southern California fishermen as happy as can be while filling their freezers with fresh yellowtail.

fish collars

Fish Collars Grilled

Serves 3

  • 3 Yellowtail collars, skin on and scaled
  • 3 Whole lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Crushed black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. of honey
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • Tinfoil
  • Handful of favorite wood chips


  1. First, start creating the marinade. In a 2-cup pyrex cup, measure out the juice of one lemon, add a tablespoon of honey, a pinch of pepper, and then whisk in double that amount of olive oil. NO SALT! Pour the marinade over the patted dry fish collars. And refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Now create the baste. In a 2-cup pyrex cup, measure out the juice of two lemons, salt, and pepper, a teaspoon of honey, and then whisk in half that amount of olive oil. Whisk thoroughly for complete mixing. In other words, the resulting baste shouldn’t have a separation between the oil and lemon juice.
  3. Next, create a flat tin foil pouch filled with your wood chips for smoking. Poke holes into the pouch with a fork. Once the grill is ready, place the pouch on top of the coals, or next to the gas flames.
  4. Start heating your grill to as close as 500F as you can, while making sure to clean it. A clean grill will help ensure the fish collar skin won’t stick to the grill.
  5. When your grill is good and hot, add the wood chip pouch and then add the collars, skin down. Grill until charring begins. This should take place between 2-4 minutes. Keep an eye on this! Then carefully turn over the collars, keeping its skin intact.
  6. After carefully turning over the fish, begin brushing on the baste, liberally! Baste at least two or three times while closing the lid on the grill after each baste. This will promote the dripping baste to infuse the fish with flavored smoke from the wood chips and the dripping baste.
  7. Just after a few minutes, remove the collars and pour the rest of the baste over the fish. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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