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Dec 25, 2012 10:13 AM

Help with Local South Florida Fish

I'm spending some time in South Florida this winter. While I am relegated to using an electric (coil) stove, I do have access to a (gas) outdoor grill.

I'd like to experiment with grilling local, non-farmed fish, but coming from NYC, the names on offer at the local fish market are mostly new to me.

There may be others, but so far in the local category, I've noticed cobia, snapper (which type is best?), mahi-mahi, pompano, swordfish, and grouper.

Any tips on what to look for when buying these fish?
Which of them should I put at the top of my list to try?
Any favorite simple recipes for outdoor grill, or indoor cooking?

Many thanks!

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  1. where in South Florida r u located?

    I live in S. Broward cnty

    u may also search on Miami/Ft. Lauderdale board-

    1. Hi, I've been fishing S. Florida waters since 1968 or so.

      In terms of the snapper if they are Red Snapper they were probably caught in the gulf or northern Florida, in the south what you catch most is Yellowtail Snapper, Mangrove Snapper and Mutton Snapper. The one I've seen most often in markets is Yellowtail which is highly regarded among fishermen. They are generally sold whole not in fillets.

      You would probably want to grill them in one of those fish baskets they sell for grilling smaller fish. I like them fried.

      Mutton snappers tend to be quite a bit bigger, 5 pounds or so. Mangrove tend to be too small to be commercially viable.

      Cobia and Swordfish are both really good and sold in steak form which makes them good for grilling. Cobia are caught in all Florida waters, so are a lot of Swordfish.

      Grouper usually comes from the gulf and is my favorite fish for eating but generally expensive these days. It has very large flakes which makes it firm and probably suitable for grilling or frying.

      Mahi is the same Mahi they catch all over the world, nothing special about Florida Mahi.

      Pompano is a highly regarded fish but I have never thought it was anything special, member of the jack family. Imo not worth the market price.

      If you can find some fresh Yellowtail Snapper that's what I'd go for because it's something you don't see much up north, I like them fried myself (I like all my fish fried), figure one fish per person. They aren't terribly expensive.

      If you want to grill rather than fry I'd go with Cobia just to try something different, everyone has had Swordfish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: redfish62

        That's really helpful, thanks so much!

        I am in Palm Beach County, but willing to travel for good food!

        Just would you recommend frying the snapper..dip in seasoned cornmeal?

      2. This is a good primer

        Best idea? Ask the fishmonger (assuming you're not at Winn-Dixie....) -- they'll know the best ways to prepare the fish they're selling.

        1. I love grilled grouper. Red snapper is great grilled as well (that's the snapper we get on the Texas Gulf). One of the best grouper's I've done is as a substitute for the Barramundi dish in Barbecue Bible - fantastic. Pompano is also excellent.

          1. (which type is best?)....


            There's only one way to find out....and that's to try each one and decide for yourself....Trusting any suggestion, including mine, does not take your personal preference into account.

            with that said....


            Lemon or Grey Sole...pan sautee or fried