Avocado pineapple grilled snapper

A tasty, refreshing dish for summer evenings

I was thinking of red snapper with this recipe, but didn’t have any in my freezer. I visited my favorite local fishmonger, Haag and Sons, in Oak Island, N.C. to see if they might have some and was steered to another excellent cousin in the snapper family. The owner, Jon Haag, pointed out they had one mangrove snapper that had been brought in by a local spearfisherman and suggested it as a great alternative. He said it had a little more fat than the red snapper I was after and would cook well on the grill. He then added that if it hadn’t sold by closing time, he was taking it home for supper.

With that recommendation, I prepared this meal using mangrove snapper. But it also prepares well with my intended red snapper, beeliners (vermilion snapper) and others in the snapper family. The key is mild white meat — and the bonus is they’re pretty easy and a lot of fun to catch yourself.

Avocado pineapple grilled snapper


  • 1 1/2 – 2 pound snapper fillets
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 20-oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 7-Up
  • 1 Tbsp Hot sauce
  • Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


1. Mix the hot sauce into a can of 7-up.

2. Place the fillets in a Ziploc bag, cover with the 7-Up/hot sauce mixture, roll all the air out and let marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours, turning it over occasionally.

3. Pit and dice the avocadoes.

4. Peel and chop the cucumbers, chop the onions and peppers and drain the pineapple. (Some chunk pineapple is too large for this and should be cut again.)

5. About 15 minutes before cooking fish, mix the avocadoes, cucumbers, pineapple, onions and lime juice in a bowl and put in refrigerator to chill.

6. Remove the snapper fillets from the marinade and allow to drain a few minutes.

7. Season the fillets to individual taste with Cavender’s, salt and pepper.

8. Preheat grill to medium heat.

9. Spray a vegetable tray or fish basket with butter-flavored non-stick spray.

10. Grill the snapper fillets approximately 4-6 minutes on each side. (This varies with the thickness of the fillets and the heat of individual grills.)

11. Remove the fillets to individual plates and spoon the avocado/cucumber/pineapple and onion mixture around and/or over each fillet.

12. Sprinkle jalapeno pepper over each fillet to individual tastes.

A salad is a nice start

Even though this has its own fruit and vegetable topping, I like to begin with a garden salad or lettuce wedge. A hearty roll or sliced bread should be added too. Those who enjoy dessert can easily add a slice of key lime or coconut pie to finish the meal. But fried plantains really hit the spot with my family and friends.

Whether you call the topping salsa or a veggie salad, the light ingredients in this dish make it as refreshing as it is tasty.

This is a fun recipe that complements the mild flavor of fresh snapper. I’m presenting it in July, thinking that many readers may have some fresh red snapper to use as the main ingredient. If not, prepare it with one of the other snapper cousins. They taste good too.  

Snapper is mild fish and I’m not trying to mask or draw out anything by marinating it in 7-Up. I think it gives it a little bit of citrus flavor in the background, without being too much. After all, this is a tropical recipe. 

Don’t overcook it

I don’t know why, but regular 7-Up gives a better flavor than the diet versions. You’ll need less than one can as you only use enough to cover the fillets with the air squeezed out of the Ziploc bag. The hot sauce helps too and isn’t enough to make it spicy. Use your favorite — I like Texas Pete Cha Sauce for its smoky sweet flavor.

The amount of Cavender’s, salt and pepper for the fillets is a personal choice. I like a reasonable amount of pepper and Cavender’s and do not use any salt.

This is mild, light fish and the pieces may break up while cooking. I cook it on a grill vegetable tray that has been sprayed with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray. A fish basket will work also.  

Different grills have different heat at similar settings. So keep an eye on the snapper and be careful not to overcook it. 

This is a fine meal to celebrate a successful fishing trip or just to enjoy being outdoors on a summer evening.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1169 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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