Gulfside Blackened Grouper

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Experience the taste of paradise with our Gulfside Blackened Grouper, seared to crispy perfection in a cast-iron skillet. Living in South Florida has its perks: from balmy winter breezes to an abundance of fruit trees yielding ripe treasures year-round, and not to forget the daily catch from local fishing boats right in your backyard.

Closeup of Gulfside Blackened Grouper the filet, showing the tender white meat inside. A glimpse of Jasmine rice, and a grilled lemon sit towards the top of the frame on a white ornate plate.

With an abundance of locally caught Grouper, indulging in a flavorful blackened grouper sandwich is a breeze. Our secret lies in seasoning the fish with our signature Badass Blackened Seasoning—a beloved staple in our kitchen. Versatile enough to elevate any dish, this seasoning infuses a rich, smoky flavor that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

A glass jar with a clasp lid containing layers of colorful spices for making Badass Blackened Seasoning, including red, orange, and green, against a light, minimalist background.
Badass Blackened Seasoning

With its smoky, not spicy, flavor profile, this seasoning brings an irresistible depth to fish, chicken, shrimp, veggies, and even tofu! Best of all, it’s a quick fix, saving you time in the kitchen so you can savor those balmy breezes outdoors or relax on the couch hassle-free!

Chef’s Tip: While many recipes for Blackened Seasoning suggest coating the protein with melted butter, I prefer to skip this step entirely. Instead, I generously sprinkle Blackened Seasoning directly onto the Grouper or whatever I’m blackening. I use less butter in the pan, reducing the overall fat content of the dish. While I’m not particularly focused on counting calories, I do aim to trim excess fat whenever possible.

A spoonful of Badass Blackened Seasoning being sprinkled onto Grouper fillets, with a glass jar of the Blackening in the background, emphasizing the rich texture and vibrant colors of the ingredients.

Blackened Grouper sandwiches grace almost every restaurant menu in South Florida. The taste of fresh grouper is unparalleled—its firm flesh boasts a mild yet distinctive flavor reminiscent of Sea Bass. When cooked, it yields a flaky, moist, and utterly satisfying bite.

Closeup of pan-seared Gulfside Blackened Grouper with a crispy blackened crust in a cast iron skillet, with a half grilled lemon on the left-hand side.

Always watch fish closely when cooking no matter what method you choose to cook, it can go from done to overdone in a flash. 

  1. Stovetop: Searing blackened grouper in a hot skillet on the stovetop is a popular method. The skillet is heated until very hot, and the fish is cooked for a few minutes on each side until blackened and cooked through.

  2. Cast Iron: Using a cast-iron skillet provides excellent heat retention and creates a perfect sear on the grouper. The skillet is preheated on the stovetop before adding the fish for cooking.

  3. Grill: Grilling blackened grouper adds a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks to the fish. The grill grates should be preheated and lightly oiled before cooking the grouper over direct heat.

  4. Broiling: Broiling is another method for cooking blackened grouper. The fish is placed on a baking sheet and cooked under the broiler for a few minutes until blackened and cooked through.

  5. Oven-Baking: Blackened grouper can also be baked in the oven. The fish is placed on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and cooked at a high temperature until blackened and flaky.

Gulfside Blackened Grouper on a white plate with a ripe tomato slice and fresh romaine lettuce situated at the top of the plate.

General Rule of Thumb for Cooking Fish to Doneness

As a general guideline, aim to cook fish for approximately 8–10 minutes in total per inch of thickness. For instance, if your grouper fillet measures one inch in thickness, grill it for about 4-5 minutes skin-side down, then flip it to complete cooking. This rule applies to most fish varieties; if the fish is less than one inch thick, there’s no need to flip it during cooking.

Recommended Cooking Temperature for Fish

The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C and how long this takes depends on the thickness of the fillets you are cooking. Use a thermometer to test for doneness if you are unsure if the fish is done or not.

Understanding "Blackened" in Cooking

“Blackened” in cooking refers to a specific technique popularized by Cajun cuisine, particularly associated with Chef Paul Prudhomme. When a dish is blackened, it involves coating meat, typically fish or poultry, with a mixture of spices, often including paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and oregano. The seasoned meat is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet, usually with a small amount of butter or oil.

During the cooking process, the high heat causes the spices to char and darken, creating a flavorful crust on the exterior of the meat while sealing in moisture. This technique imparts a smoky flavor and rich color to the dish. Despite its name, the meat should not be burnt or overly charred; rather, it should have a well-seasoned, deeply caramelized exterior.

Blackening is often associated with Cajun and Creole cuisines, but its popularity has spread to various culinary traditions, offering a deliciously bold and spicy twist to meats and seafood.

Blackened Chicken topped with Fresh mango Salsa
Blackened Chicken & Mango Salsa

Ingredients of Blackened Seasoning

Blackening seasoning is a mixture of chili powders, spices and herbs, very similar to Cajun and Creole seasonings. Common ingredients include a mixture of chili pepper, garlic and onion powder, black pepper, oregano, and thyme, along with salt, though many variations exist from cook to cook.

Our Badass Blackened Seasoning is made from the following ingredients. 

  • Smoked Paprika: One of my favorite spices we do a half and half blend of regular paprika and smoked. The deep smoke flavor is imparted by sun-drying peppers and then slowly smoking them over a fire, a complex flavor profile that will change the way you think about paprika!
  • Parsley + Oregano: Impart a wonderful herby essence and are an absolute must.
  • Cayenne Pepper: We like it on the spicy side, but you can sprinkle in a little or a lot depending on your palate.
  • Garlic Powder + Onion Powder: Both are must-haves neither are interchangeable and each adds it’s own character that delivers on taste.
  • Kosher Sea Salt (coarse ground): This is up to you, we prefer using it and sea salt is my number one go-to seasoning, but if you’re watching your sodium intake then leave it out.
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper: Don’t be shy add plenty it rounds out this perfect blackened seasoning.
Gulfside Blackened Grouper on a white plate with jasmine rice, grilled lemon and a green leafy salad.

Is Badass Blackened Seasoning Extra Spicy?

No, it leans towards smokiness rather than intense heat. Customize it to your liking! While our recipe serves as an excellent starting point, feel free to tailor the spice level by reducing the amount of cayenne. Halve or quarter the quantity if you prefer a milder flavor. Remember, recipes are merely suggestions, and you have the power to adjust them according to your preferences. Now, let’s get back to the chicken!

Top 10 Best Fish for Blackening

Due to the fact Blackening is an extreme form of cooking due to high temperatures. Firm fleshed fish is best for blackening. The following are excellent choices.

  1. Grouper
  2. Redfish (Red Drum)
  3. Snapper
  4. Catfish
  5. Tilapia
  6. Salmon
  7. Mahi Mahi
  8. Trout
  9. Halibut
  10. Swordfish
Closeup of pan-seared Gulfside Blackened Grouper fillets with a crispy blackened crust in a cast iron skillet, with a grilled lemon halves on the left-hand side.

Determining Grouper Doneness

To tell if grouper is cooked through, follow these guidelines:

  1. Visual Inspection: Grouper will turn opaque and white when fully cooked. Check the thickest part of the fillet or steak; it should no longer appear translucent.

  2. Texture: Gently press the flesh with a fork or your finger. Cooked grouper should be firm but still moist. It should flake easily and not feel rubbery or mushy.

  3. Internal Temperature: For extra assurance, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The USDA recommends fish be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

Remember that grouper continues to cook slightly after it’s removed from the heat source, so it’s better to slightly undercook it than overcook it.

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Pinterest Pin Image, Closeup of pan-seared Gulfside Blackened Grouper with a crispy blackened crust in a cast iron skillet, with a half grilled lemon on the left-hand side.

How To Make Gulfside Blackened Grouper

Closeup of pan-seared Gulfside Blackened Grouper fillets with a crispy blackened crust in a cast iron skillet, with a grilled lemon halves on the left-hand side.

Gulfside Blackened Grouper

Gulfside Blackened Grouper fired in a cast-iron skillet to crispy flaky perfection. Living in South Florida has advantages. Balmy breezes in the middle of winter, a bevy of fruit trees heavy with fruit throughout the year and fishing boats with fresh fish in your backyard.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 grams) grouper fillets, skinned
  • 2-3 Tablespoons (30-45 grams) Badass Blackened Seasoning, or blackened seasoning of your choice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons (90-120 grams) butter, good quality
  • 1 Large lemon, washed + dried + sliced in half

Instructions

  • Heat a heavy cast iron pan on high heat until extremely hot, about 10 minutes.
    Cast iron pan being heated over an open flame.
  • Season Grouper fillets liberally with Badass Blackened Seasoning, allow the fillets to rest while the cast iron comes to temperature.
    Two fillets of grouper coated with Badass Blackened Seasoning on a white plate, prepped and ready for cooking.
  • Add the butter to the cast iron and then immediately add the seasoned grouper into the skillet. Be sure to lay the fillets in an away motion so the butter does not splatter on you. Add the sliced lemon face down. Cook on the first side for 4-5 minutes and reduce heat slightly if necessary. Then flip the fillets and allow them to finish cooking on the other side for approximately 4-5 minutes (1-inch thick fillets).
    Closeup of pan-seared Gulfside Blackened Grouper fillets with a crispy blackened crust in a cast iron skillet, with a grilled lemon halves on the left-hand side.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the fish to rest for 5 minutes, prep your plates. Shown here as a Blackened Grouper Sandwich, served with fries, salad and fresh tartar sauce on the side.
    Closeup, Gulfside Blackened Grouper on a white plate with a ripe tomato slice and fresh romaine lettuce situated at the top of the plate.

Notes

  • Prep time is for making the Blackened Seasoing, it comes together in a snap as long as you have all of your spices ready to go. 
  • The Blackend Grouper is best eaten the same day (in my opnion). 
  • Leftovers can safely be stored in a shallow airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. 
  • Refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
  • Freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap. Frozen Grouper is best if used within 2-3 months.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Indulge in the tantalizing flavors of the sea with our exquisite Pasta Pescatore. This seafood pasta dish boasts a delightful medley of fresh seafood, aromatic herbs, and zesty tomato sauce, creating a culinary experience that is both elegant and satisfying.

Indulge in a culinary adventure with our Spicy Shrimp Scampi over Zoodles! Succulent shrimp, bathed in a zesty garlic and red pepper-infused sauce, mingle with tender zucchini noodles to create a dish that’s as vibrant as it is flavorful.

Step Into My Kitchen!

Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! Welcome to Mean Green Chef, where every dish tells a story and every recipe is a labor of love. I’m thrilled to share a bit about myself and the journey that led me here, stirring pots and sprinkling spices for over three decades!

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    Please Share the Goodness!

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    1. This look amaaaaazing, can’t wait to make it. Thanks so much for the spice blend recipe, will be great to make my own and know exactly what’s in it!

      1. It’s super easy to toss together too, Amandalee! 🙂

    2. I absolutely LOVE blackened fish. I cannot wait to try this recipe. Especially the badass spice blend you have here.
      Thanks for sharing!

      1. Agreed, Rochelle, I love it too! Besides the fact, the seasoning is easy to make, you can use it on just about anything. We even sprinkle it on popcorn, thank you!

    3. I like that you cover safe cook practice with fish. Food safety is always important. I do the same thing when I talk about cooking turkey in my posts. I look forward to try this seasoning recipe on chicken and pork. I bet it will taste amazing since you already talk about blacken chicken!

      1. Hi, Michelle, food safety is at the forefront of everything we prepare! Please be sure to share your recipe creations with our Badass Blackened Seasoning 🙂 Thanks so much!

    4. This looks fantastic. I have never tried this before, but now I have to. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

      1. Thanks so much, Janicke! I hope you enjoy it to the max 🙂

    5. oh myyyy!!! You’re killing me!!! This looks so delicious wow!!! I would love to make it this weekend. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Hi, Chad, I promise you this is one easy recipe, and you can sub just about any protein you want too! Thanks so much for visiting.

    6. This grouper recipe looks fantastic. My mouth is watering just looking at the photos! Pinning and adding to my meal plan for next week!

      1. Awesome, Heidi! Thanks so much, please be sure to share your results with us and I appreciate you pinning it too!

    7. Gosh this makes my mouth water. I will save this for when I go back to Zimbabwe. I think it will be amazing done on a fire on fresh water break caught on the Zambezi.

      1. Holy Moly, please be sure to share your results, Carly! And snap me a photo too, please! 😀

    8. I absolutely love your recipes! This looks so yummy! Thank you! I cant wait to try it!

      1. Thank you so much, Shirley, you made my day!

    9. We love grouper! I’ve never cooked it at home but, this looks doable (even for me) and delicious!

      1. It’s so simple to make Elizabeth, thank you!

    10. I am happy I found this recipe. I love cooking in my cast iron skillet and fish has always intimidated me to do it in there. I am so trying this and probably putting that seasoning on everything – well maybe not ice cream!

      1. Lol, Angela, no not for ice cream but everything else is fair game! And who knows, there is a gastronomer out there somewhere that could make some killer blackened ice cream!

    11. Nigar RAHMAN says:

      Looks so tasty! Actually I like smokey fish. The process and the mixture of all ingredients make it more delicious. It looks spicy too! Thanks for sharing. I will try it with your special Badass spice blends. I think this blending of spice is the secret of this recipe…

      1. Hi, Nigar! Thanks so much, you’re right, the Badass Seasoning makes this recipe. I enjoy smoked fish too, we get smoked mullet locally and it’s so good! Thanks for visiting!

    12. I dont even like fish but this actually looks really appetising.

      1. I’ll take that as a compliment for sure, Kez! Thanks 🙂

    13. Mackenzie Bennion says:

      OH MY GOD!!!
      I just made this with freshly caught red grouper (my boyfriend went deep sea fishing today) and let me just say I’ve never made something so good! Thank you!!!
      I did add avacado oil in first with the butter so the it wouldn’t stick to my cast iron pan. I set the stove at 5/10 and the crust was amazing! Ps the blackening seasoning I equaled everything out the same (except only a pinch of salt) and coated the entire fish as much as I could.
      Thank you so much!!!

      1. Hi Mackenzie, so excited to hear that you enjoyed our Blackened Recipe! And that your crust turned out perfectly, it’s such an easy recipe and works on so many things. We even enjoy it on grass-fed steaks occasionally. Thank YOU so much for sharing your results! 🙂

    14. We now live on the gulf coast but originally from Maine. Used to really great, fresh seafood. Our local grouper is delicious and this recipe was fantastic! Thanks…always up for an easy, new change of pace.

    15. Fantastic! Does not overpower the fish. We live in SW Florida and husband caught Red, Black and Scamp Grouper this weekend. We had the BadAss seasoning with the Red Grouper. Pan seared in avocado oil until nice crust, flipped it, added a couple Tbsps butter, 1/2 fresh squeezed lime in pan then spooning the foaming butter/lime mixture on top of fish while finish cooking. It was FAB and looked just like the photo! Not sure how I’m going to cook the Scamp grouper as it’s suppose to be delicate as it is the better eating of the grouper family. Thank you for this keeper!

      1. Great to hear, Wendy! So glad that you enjoyed the Grouper, we have a home in FL too and make this frequently! Thanks so much!

    16. FANTASTIC! Just as good as any restaurant, and very easy to make. Thank you for sharing!

      1. Thanks so much, Alex!

    17. This is one of my new favorite recipes! I also loved making it in cast iron. Thank you for this awesome yumminess!

      1. Thanks so much Ned, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

    18. I’ve never had this but it sounds so flavorful and tasty. Going to make this and add it to my salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      1. Thank you, Kathryn! It will be perfect for topping a salad!

    19. TAYLER ROSS says:

      This is the best grouper I’ve ever made! The recipe was easy to follow and it turned out perfectly!

      1. Thank you, Tayler, so glad that you enjoyed it!

    20. This grouper was just the right amount of spicy. Loved this dish!

      1. Thank you, Paula, so happy that you loved my Grouper!

    21. My family loves this, delicious and easy to make. thanks for sharing

      1. Thanks so much, Charah!

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