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Seafood On The Grill!

Aug 17, 2007
I love the Florida Gulf Coast! I especially love to catch fish and eat them for dinner. That's one of the benefits of spending vacation time where seafood is plentiful and you have plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of the sea. Fishing the area around Apalachicola Bay in Florida is just one of those places where you can catch fish everyday you're there, then come home and fix it on the grill for dinner. When you're on vacation, firing up the grill is as much a social occasion as going out to a dinner party, only more fun!

Not everyone has learned the virtues of cooking their own catch and sipping cold drinks on the patio after a busy day on the beach. Watching the charcoal heat up to the correct shade of gray for a perfect barbeque is almost a religious experience. For those who have mastered this art of relaxation here are a few tips on how to make the evening a culinary delight.

For appetizers we'll start with oysters. This is what the Apalachicola Bay area is famous for their oysters and you can buy them at local wholesale houses. Of course you can find out where the oystermen are coming to shore after a long, hard day's work and buy them right off the boat. I'm sure I'm just dreaming, but I think they taste better that way!

When you're using charcoal to cook seafood, a word of caution is advised. Do not use a charcoal lighter to start your fire! Fish, oysters, shrimp and other seafood have delicate tastes that will deteriorate when exposed to the aroma of charcoal lighter fluid! Use an electric starter or just pile enough small kindling and paper to get your briquettes glowing.

After the charcoal has turned the proper shade of gray for a medium heat, toss on as many oysters as you want to eat. Place them oyster side down and heat them until they start to open. Use an oyster knife to further open and extract them and serve immediately with a good cocktail sauce. The only thing I can think of that is better than oysters steamed in their own juices is raw oysters!

After the oysters, another great appetizer is shrimp on the barbee! This is another great seafood that cooks well on a charcoal grill. I love shrimp just about any way you can cook them; broiled, baked, steamed, fried, stewed or grilled! Grilled shrimp is one of the delicacies of modern man and deserve a place in the seafood hall of fame!

Once again, make sure the goals are gray and the heat is medium. You can leave the shells on or remove them, it's your choice. Cooking them is easier and looks more professional if you use skewers. If you're using wooded skewers soak them in clean water for at least 15 minutes before you use them. Use two skewers parallel to each other and thread the shrimp on them about a half inch apart. Using two skewers instead of one keep the shrimp from spinning on the sticks when you lift them to cook the other side.

Cook the shrimp 4-10 minutes turning them often. Small shrimp need less time, larger ones need more time. Baste them with a mixture of butter, pepper, lemon juice and garlic and you will have one of the best appetizers you have ever put in your mouth. Of course you can use your own mixture if you don't like mine. There is a tendency to over cook them, so don't do that! When they look like they're done, they usually are.

Now that the appetizers are out of the way, it's time to bring out that fish you caught that morning assuming it's already been cleaned and filleted. Hopefully you will have marinated the fish the trophy earlier for about 30 minutes. There are many different seasonings to use, but my favorite is simply a mixture of lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil, malt vinegar.

It's best to spray the grill with a non-stick butter spray or just swab it with oil before you put it over the coals so the fish won't stick. Firm fleshed fish or the easiest to grill but all fish can be cooked this way if you're careful. Use a barbeque basket or just lay heavy duty aluminum foil poke full of holes over the grill for your fish. Cook the fish for about 10 minutes, turning and basting with the leftover marinade frequently. When the fish flakes easily it's ready to eat.

That's all there is to it. You might want to have a few side items with the fish, so prepare those in advance. It's time now to dream about sitting out on the patio or deck at dusk, watching the shrimp boats coming home, silhouetted against a purple sky as you sit with a glass of iced tea, full and content from a fabulous dinner that you have rendered from the sea!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, holiday eating and leisure living.
Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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