I have a very eclectic culinary gig coming up soon, and one of the dishes my partner and I are preparing is Smoked Redfish (Red Drum). I’ve eaten Redfish before and it is one of my favorites, but I’ve never prepared it before. I was lucky enough to find a whole one locally to experiment with. And I did not set out to make a “perfect” plate. I just wanted to get familiar with this very tasty fish.
The Red Drum, also known as channel bass, redfish, spottail bass or simply reds, is a game fish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. Red drum are a dark red color on the back, which fades into white on the belly. The most distinguishing mark on the red drum is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare.
Redfish is a flaky but sturdy fish, and holds of well when smoked or steamed. The flavor is mild and clean, yet still quite distinct. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it absorbs rather well the flavor of the wood used for smoking. It is an excellent gourmet fish.
I started out by scaling and gutting the fish. Gutting is optional depending on the method of preparation. I gutted this one for the purpose of stuffing it with fresh rosemary, sweet bell peppers, green onions, and a little smoked tasso. Then I wrapped it tightly in a foil packet to go on the grill.
I intentionally did not season the fish because I needed to gauge its natural flavor. Next time I will use a little sea salt and smoked paprika…that’s it. Any more than that will overpower the wonderfully delicate natural taste of the Redfish.
I used a small charcoal grill, so I only cooked it for about an hour. At the end, I opened the packet slightly to allow more smokiness to hit the fish.
THE RESULT??? — It tasted wonderful! I was extremely pleased. Even without seasoning the taste was just amazing.
And even though I had not planned on it, I made a very quick sauce to see how the taste stood up when paired with other flavors. As usual, I just grabbed what caught my taste buds and pulsed it in the Magic Bullet. I used sweet peppers, canned pears, yellow mustard, and a touch of ketchup…YES…I’m serious. SO doggone delicious!