Barbecue Monkfish Tails

This healthy barbecue monkfish grilling idea is easy and brings wonderful citrus flavours to your fish - a match made in heaven!

Skinned monkfish tail ready for the barbecue

It’s a tad fiddly so be patient and take your time. Your patience will be rewarded!

Monk fish, or goose fish as it is sometimes known is a firm fleshed fish that is usually sold without the head (because it is very ugly) and usually skinned. The flesh flakes naturally into chunks of pieces and has a texture and flavor very similar to lobster.

Note:- So close in flavour and texture is to lobster that it used to be substituted for the real thing in breaded Scampi. Of course it can no longer be described as such and it's probably fair to say that the original cost incentive for making the substitution isn't as large as it used to be.

In this recipe we’re going to barbecue monkfish tails with an array of citrus fruit slices inside the tail. Lemon and lime are the traditional staples for serving fish and I’m going to add some orange as well for both depth of flavor and additional color.

Try to buy monk fish tails ready skinned because skinning them is a pretty energetic task that your fishmonger will be better at. If you do want to attempt it yourself then make sure that you also remove the transparent sinew membrane. If you don't then this membrane will tighten when heat is applied and so compact your monkfish tail making it more difficult to cook through and your tail will dry out more easily.

Follow this three step process to prepare a monkfish tail:

  1. Start at the top of the tail & insert a small knife between the skin and the flesh. Carefully work the knife around to the side of the fish and release the skin
  2. When you’ve released enough skin to get a good grip, pull the skin away (paper towel will give you a better grip) while holding onto the monkfish tail with your other hand. With a bit of practice you'll be able to do this in one movement.
  3. To remove the sinew membrane, start at the thin tail end and use your fingers to pull it away.

When done you're ready for the marinade. Acid is the key ingredient in any marinade to tenderize and using all these citrus fruits means lot's of citric acid. What could be more natural?

Start by soaking half a dozen cocktail sticks in a bowl of water.

Serves:- 4 people

Preparation Time:- 15 minutes
Marinade Time:- 1 hour
Cooking Time:- 15 minutes

Total Time:- 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 x 350g or 12 oz monk fish tails
  • 2 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Cut the fruits in half to create four halves of each fruit. Squeeze 2 halves of each fruit into a bowl to create your marinade and throw in the monk fish tails for about one hour.

Slice up the third half of each fruit (leaving one final half of each fruit).

Slice down the length of the monkfish tail taking care to leave one side attached and therefore creating a cavity in which to stuff the fruit.

Put a variety of fruit slices into the cavity and fold the fish back together. Thread a couple of cocktail sticks along the length of the tail to seal in the fruit. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle on the freshly ground black pepper.

Because monkfish is such a firm meat you'll be able to use your tongs to turn the fish without fear of it breaking up.

Place the tails on the grill or bbq fish mat and cook for about 15 minutes turning once half way through and continuing to use the fruit juice marinade to baste.

Cut the final half of each fruit into wedges and serve as garnish along side the freshly grilled BBQ monkfish tail. A green salad to finish it off and tuck in.

Bon Appetite!

See Also:-

More Great Marinades
Healthy Barbecue Fish Recipes
Information about BBQ Grills

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