TVM 0718 Beach Dinner _ Mike Gilger

Fire Grilled Whole Whitefish

Delish recipes from an evening with friends, simple ingredients cooked on an open fire and a shoreline setting that is elixir for the soul. Enjoy this whitefish recipe, and read "Esch Road Beach Dinner" as featured in Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.


  • 1 whole whitefish (4 to 6 pounds)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 lemons sliced into rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • Lavender sprigs (Fresh or dried)
Any combination of the following herbs:
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Fresh sage sprigs
  • Garlic scapes or wild leeks (when in season)
  • Salt and pepper


While the fire is heating and turning to coals, prepare the fish: Salt and pepper the inside of the body cavity. Spread a layer of lemon rounds inside the fish. Rub the outside of the fish all over with olive oil or butter. Using jute or butchers twine, tie all the herb sprigs to the outside of the fish. Drizzle any remaining oil or butter over the fish. Clean and rub the rack with oil. Place the fish on the grill rack over a medium-hot spot. Cook on one side 4 to 6 minutes depending on size. Using 2 spatulas or tongs, gently flip the fish over and cook another 4 to 6 minutes more. The fish is done when a meat thermometer reads 145° Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the fish or when the flesh is white and can be flaked easily with a fork. A thermometer works best since you can poke through the foil. *Find whole whitefish: Carlson’s Fishery in Leland, 231.256.9801; John Cross Fisheries in Charlevoix, 231.547.2532

Photo(s) by Mike Gilger