Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Campfire trout dinner

This DIY version of campfire grilled fish makes for an impressive stay-cation Saturday night dinner and can stand up equally well to a crowd. The size of rainbow trout varies greatly. Count on one small (1-pound) fish per person or a larger (2-pound) fish for two.

Campfire Trout Recipe:


  • Whole rainbow trout, scaled, gutted, and butterflied

  • Olive oil

  • Sea salt and cracked pepper

  • Lemons

  • Red onions

  • Garlic

  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, or dill sprigs

  • Parsley (plenty)

Pairing: Nothing goes better with a whole grilled trout than a beautiful tall, cold glass of pilsner. An effervescent and refreshing Four Star Pils (Goose Island) is a good choice; other great picks include Prima Pils by Victory Brewing Company from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, or a lemony, grassy Zephyrus Pilsner from Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company.


1. Pat fish dry with paper towels and rub flesh and skin with oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Thinly slice several lemons, red onions, and garlic. Layer 2 to 3 slices of each inside the fish cavity along with the rosemary, thyme, or dill. Tuck a few sprigs of parsley inside each fish (reserve remaining aromatics for grilling and serving). Tie fish with kitchen twine to secure the aromatics inside the cavity; you can truss the fish, or wing it by tying the fish near the head, tail, and several times around the belly.

3. Brush a grill grate or aluminum pizza screen with oil and scatter a few lemon slices, onions, and herbs on the grill grate or pizza screen. Lay several fish on their sides, directly on top of aromatics. (Do in batches if necessary.)

4. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, bank the coals on one side of the grill; if using a gas grill, turn burner off on one side. When hot, transfer fish to the grill, cover, and cook until flesh releases easily from the grill, about 10 minutes. Flip fish and grill until flesh begins to flake, 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on size of fish. The flesh should be tender and juicy. Let fish rest a few minutes off the grill.

5. Cut the twine from the fish and remove the aromatics. Serve fish with the grilled lemons, fresh lemon slices, and parsley tapenade.

Parsley Tapenade

Combine zest of a small lemon and chopped leaves of a handful of parsley sprigs in a small serving bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a generous pour of olive oil and season with sea salt. Enough for 2 whole fish.

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