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Two Spicy Lovers – Grilled Branzino

One of the most precious experiences of being human is to give and receive love. Love should be experienced every day and every moment and should not be just during February 14 when delivering your tokens of love to the benefit of the card, chocolate, and flower companies. My Valentines thoughts this year were inspired by my good friend Ardie Davis aka Remus Powers from the Kansas City area who is a well-known barbecue judge and a nationally recognized barbecue ambassador and author of five barbecue books. With Ardie’s permission I’ve paraphrased these reminder gems from his recent articles in the KCBS Bullsheet and the National Barbecue News.

“Love those who don’t like to barbecue at all or who do it differently than we do. The Barbecue Universe is much bigger than competition barbecue. It includes millions of backyard barbecuers and thousands of barbecue restaurant operators, with lots of overlap. There’s space and love for all under our big tent. There’s even enough space and love for vegetarians.

Tell your special friends that you love them . . . you never know when it’s the last chance you’ll have to tell a friend how much they mean to you.

Show your love by avoiding righteous judgment of other people’s barbecue. When you’re a contest judge, by all means follow the rules. Give each entry your best shot. On the other hand, when you’re in a barbecue restaurant or at a backyard barbecue, don’t flout your credentials as a certified barbecue judge. Enjoy their barbecue in its own merits without imposing contest standards. If the meat falls of the rib bones, don’t turn up your nose and say, “these ribs are overcooked!” Many folks, yours truly included, like them that way. Cut your backyard barbecue host or restaurant pitmaster some slack.”

Thanks Ardie for those great reminders. And, for my V-Day recipe post, I’ve created a simple healthy grilled fish dish you can cook in your pit for your special someone. I used a European seabass called a branzino but any whole fish such as catfish works equally well. If you plate it like I did with the “boy” chasing the “girl”, it’ll lovingly help create the mood for romance with you and your partner.

Happy Valentines Day!

  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 1x


  • 2 Branzino (see pic, one should be bigger to represent the male)
  • SYD Rub
  • Corn starch
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger


  1. Scale and clean the fish. Remove the stomach and intestines
  2. Make several filet cuts in the fish with the cuts facing the front so it will fan out nicely when cooked
  3. Drizzle fish with veg oil
  4. Apply coat of SYD rub. Be sure to get rub into the filet pockets. (rub the ginger into the pockets)
  5. Sprinkle an even coat of corn starch
  6. Drizzle more vegetable oil.
  7. Prop fish standing up on the stomach on your pit
  8. Roast indirect in 400F pit for about 15 minutes until fish is cooked. It should flake when scraped with a fork.
  9. Please on plate and drizzle with sauce made of 1/4 cup Thai Chili Sauce + 1 tablespoon Srirachi + enough water to thin the sauce so it is like thin gravy, about 4 tablespoons
  10. Garnish with chopped scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds

  • Author: Harry Soo
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Asian