KJ's Red Snapper on the Half Shell
At a recent Jack Links Major League Fishing event, a conversation I had with Texas MLF pro Kelly Jordon proved to be a bit of a surprise.
"Burkhead, when I'm fishing for fun – meaning when I'm not out on the water somewhere competing in a bass tournament – I like to go out on the saltwater," smiled KJ.
At first, I was a bit surprised by Jordon's comment.
After all, he's one of the best bass anglers out there, the only professional so far to win tournaments on all three of the sport's major circuits (Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour and Major League Fishing).
Editor's Note: Major League Fishing's Denny Brauer has also accomplished a similar feat, winning tournaments on the Bassmaster Elite Series, at the FLW EverStart Series level and in Major League Fishing. Likewise, MLF's Kevin VanDam has won tournaments at the Bassmaster Elite Series level and a MLF event. While KVD hasn't won a FLW Tour event, he was the FLW Angler of the Year in 2001.
But when you earn your living looking for finicky bass on heavily pressured waters, then I guess what's not to like about a day spent out on the big wide ocean blue looking for nothing more than the fun of a big pull at the end of your line?
Not to mention occasionally finding a tasty addition to the Fourth of July dinner table.
In Jordon's case, one of his favorite species to target out on the salt just so happens to be the red snapper that swims in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coastline.
When he brings home a limit of snapper to his East Texas home in Palestine, Jordon has a favored way of preparing the delectable fish.
When I asked if he would mind sharing his red snapper recipe for our Independence Day readers, KJ smiled and said not at all.
"My favorite way to fix it is with a recipe that I call 'Red on the Half Shell,'" said Jordon. "It's one of my favorite recipes."
Jordon says to prepare, a backyard griller starts with a red snapper fillet that has the skin still remaining on it.
"Put it on the grill scale-side down over medium heat," said KJ. "You can set it to the side of the direct heat after the first three or four minutes if you want it to cook slower."
Once Jordon reaches this point in the snapper's preparation, he will let the grill do its work.
"I close the grill and don't turn the fillet over," said Jordon, who won the MLF Shell Rotella Challenge Cup last fall on Lake Ray Roberts. "I will occasionally baste it with butter or olive oil and squeeze a lime over it a few times to taste."
Jordon says that he likes to occasionally add some lemon pepper to the fillet to provide a bit of flavoring.
"It is good, just be careful not to add too much," he said.
Likewise, Jordon says that a dash of Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning is always an excellent idea if you like a Cajun signature to your food.
"Just remember to go light with it," said Jordon. "Red snapper is really good stuff and it doesn't need much seasoning. The light texture and flavor of this great eating fish is easily overpowered."
Which is why KJ offers this laughing reminder when preparing red snapper on the grill: "You've got to remember when you're cooking red snapper on the half-shell, this ain't no redfish!"
When is the red snapper ready to eat? KJ says it is done when the fillet starts to get firm to the touch.
"The fillet should still jiggle a little bit like Jell-O," said Jordon. "When it does that, it's perfect."