Scrumptious Seafood: Sardines on the BBQ

Grilled sardines
Source: frproart, CC BY 2.0, via flickr

It is undeniable, it is barbecue season! One of my favourite ways to cook fish is on the grill. Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I have had fish prepared another way recently, aside from smoked fish. My culinary friend, Mark,  recommends every barbecue season, that I try sardines on the grill. Apparently, this is a foodie’s delight, not to mention something a little different to satiate the  palate. Here is a recipe from Darlene Schmidt with a Thai twist.

Sardines can be purchased on the Sales Float at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston on the weekends. Pacific sardines are a sustainable seafood option.

Sardines on the BBQ:

  • 8-10 whole sardines, fresh or frozen (see preparation instructions on how to clean sardines below)

Dry Rub:  (double this recipe for more than 10 sardines)

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. dry crushed chili or 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Side Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. good-tasting oil, such as coconut, canola, or olive
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut milk or 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 fresh red chili, de-seeded & minced, or 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3-4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar


Serves 2

  1. Lightly oil the grill with a little cooking oil to prevent fish from sticking.
  2. To make the barbecue rub, simply stir all the rub ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. If the sardines you are using are already cleaned and prepared, skip this step. If not, cleaning sardines is relatively easy. Make a cut along the bottom of the fish and remove the intestines and entrails (simply run your finger inside the cut). Rinse and place the fish aside to dry.
  4. Place prepared sardines on a tray or in a long casserole dish, so that they’re lying flat. Drizzle with about 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and lather evenly over the fish.
  5. Now sprinkle the BBQ rub you made earlier over the entire surface of the fish. Gently rub it along each fish, so they appear yellow-gold. Sprinkle any remaining rub powder over the fish and set aside to marinate until your barbecue/grill is hot (at least 10 minutes).
  6. To make the sauce: Simply place all sauce ingredients in a small pot or sauce pan. Heat very briefly (do not boil) – just warm up over medium heat to bring out the flavors, and it’s ready! Taste-test for salt, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or another squeeze of lime juice if too salty for your taste. Add a little more sugar if too sour. (Note: You only need a teaspoon of this sauce per fish, as it’s very flavourful.)
  7. Before grilling, make sure your grill is lightly oiled or the sardines will stick. Grill the fish until cooked – about 5-8 minutes each side. When done, the fish will appear golden and the skin will be crisp.
  8. Enjoy the fish as is, or spoon over the sauce for an extra Thai treat. The sauce is also very nice with rice. ENJOY!
Posted by websitedev
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