Whole Grilled Fish with Ponzu Sauce

Roy Choi

Lesson time 20:20 min

Roy teaches you everything you need to know about fish: how to debone and grill it and what to do with fish eyes.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Season Your Fish • Ponzu Sauce • Grilling Your Fish • Plating: Deboning a Cooked Whole Fish


ROY CHOI: Warning-- this class contains some bad language. We're making grilled whole fish with ponzu sauce, a classic Japanese citrus soy sauce that's tangy enough to make your mouth pucker. I know a lot of y'all might be a little intimidated by grilling a whole fish, but just hold my hand. I got you. It's going to be easier than you think. I promise. [MUSIC PLAYING] Hi there. Welcome to your lesson on how to grill a whole fish. So a great thing about whole fish is you get to utilize the whole animal. Nothing goes to waste. But it's also a great way to get more flavor, because by grilling it whole instead of just the fillet, the bones and the structure of the fish allow the meat to stay moist, and you get the crispiness from the skin. So I'm going to show you my version of a grilled fish with ponzu sauce. Let's get started, okay? So the first thing you want to do is make sure your fish is fresh. You look at the eyeballs, make sure they're clear. You want to look at the gills, make sure they're nice and red and they're not gray. You want to smell the fish. The thing about fresh fish is it's a bit counterintuitive to the word fish, because you don't want fish to smell fishy. The moment that fish smells fishy, it means it's going bad. So there should be no smell, and if there is any smell, it should smell like the ocean. So before we start grilling the fish, we want to make sure that it's dry. You can take a paper towel, just pat it down. And I in a lot of other classes, I'm a little more free-form with everything. But with whole fish and with any fish, you want to be as delicate as possible. Before I season the outside, what I do want to do is I want to make some slits into the fish. So you're going at about a 45 degree angle, and you're going to make a slit into the flesh. I like to do three. Okay. I want to make these slits so as you grill it, the inside of the fish itself can grill evenly. You want to see some of the fish inside and outside. So you can start with the inside cavity here. This is truly silly, but it is what we call making it rain. See how liberal I am with the seasoning here, right? You want to be able to cover everything evenly. So we have our fish thoroughly season, all right? That just looks the way it's supposed to look. I'm going to grab a lemon, and cut the lemon in half. And cut these into half moons, fairly thin, okay? Now place these lemon slices inside the cavity here. This is a branzino. A branzino is a very common fish to grill, and it grills really well. It has a really even flesh. It's the right proportion in size in many cases. But a lot of what we call round fish is really good for grilling. Snapper is amazing. Bass-- bass is fantastic to grill. You can get any of these fish at your local grocery or fish market. They'll usually come to scale like this one, but if not, you can always ask who's ever behind the counter to help you out. ...

About the Instructor

Roy Choi wasn’t trying to start a revolution when he took tacos, kimchi, and more to the Los Angeles streets with the Kogi BBQ taco truck. He just wanted to make what he loved and knew by heart: immigrant-influenced all-American food. Now he’s teaching you his recipes, sauces, and techniques. Learn how to cook with your instincts using equipment you already have—and start adding your own twist to tried-and-true favorites.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Roy Choi

Food truck “godfather” Roy Choi teaches you his signature recipes and mother sauces—then empowers you to make them your own.

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