4 Steps To Clean Snapper (Without Filleting Them)


Up until recently, I always threw back mangrove snapper that were just barely over the limit.

I only wanted to keep the big ones because I didn’t think the small ones were worth filleting.

And I was right… sort of.

After seeing a few videos about cooking fish whole, I decided to give it a try with some smaller (but still legal) snapper and I was blown away.

It’s a delicious way of cooking them, plus you don’t have to fillet them and miss out on some of the delicious meat.

In this video, I’m going to show you how I cleaned this snapper and prepared it to cook it on the grill whole.

Check it out below.

How To Clean Small Snapper [VIDEO]

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To prepare snapper to be cooked whole, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Scale the fish.

I used a fork and the scales came right off.

Step 2: Cut off the hard fins.

The soft fins are edible, so you can leave those if you want.

Step 3: Cut a slit through the bottom of the belly.

This will make it easier to get the guts out as you dehead it.

Step 4: Cut the head off of the fish

As you cut the head off, the guts should come off with it.

Make sure to get the rest of the guts out after the head is gone.


whole cooked mangrove snapper

Cooking whole snapper like this was some of the best fish I’ve had in a long time!

The skin was crispy and delicious, and by eating the meat right off of the bones I was able to maximize the food I got from the fish.

Have any questions about cleaning fish to eat it whole?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who needs to see this video, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Karl Colasante
10 months ago

Luke – thank you and all the salt strong guys for making such a phenomenal site and all that you do. Really is one of the best finds I’ve come across in 2020. I’ve been devouring the content throughout the site as a new insider! One quick tip for you – instead of a fillet knife, try a pair of utility cutting shears made of stainless steel. Can get them cheap at Lowe’s or Harbor Freight. Look for ones with micro serrations. They will make life much easier prepping a fish to cook whole vs a fillet knife. Stay salt strong!

1 year ago

Place 2 or 3 cuts across each side and rub in some seasoning. Spanish style. Works great for all smaller fish such as grunt, etc.

1 year ago

Learned more in two months from your website than in twenty years! Keep up the great work!

Joseph Lorah
1 year ago

Luke, did you put on a little olive oil and some seasoning? How long did you grill it on each side? Looks very good, thanks.

Jonathan Cox
1 year ago

Great video! I know how I’ll cook my next smaller mango.


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