Florida Barbecued Swordfish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Because of its firm, meaty, moderately fatty texture, fresh swordfish is an ideal fish for barbecuing. During the summer months, when most of the gigantic fish are landed all along Florida’s east coast, there’s not a serious grill cook from Jacksonville to Key West who doesn’t boast a favorite marinade, moppin’ sauce, or dry-rub to enhance swordfish steaks. (Equally superb, but very hard to come by, is the genuine dolphin fished in the same waters—not to be confused with the very similar and much more available mahi mahi.) Frozen swordfish steaks are marketed year round, but I’ve yet to encounter a frozen slab that has either the mellow flavor or dense texture of the fresh.


  • Four 6-ounce center-cut fresh swordfish steaks
  • 3 tablespoons Basic Dry-Rub Barbecue Mix
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
  • Seeded lemon wedges, for garnish


Season the steaks lightly on both sides with the dry-rub mix, rubbing it gently into the flesh. Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Ignite a layer of charcoal briquets in an outdoor grill, let burn till they are ashen (30 to 45 minutes), place the grill rack about 6 inches from the coals, and brush the rack with oil.

Place the steaks on the grill and sear 1 minute on each side. Brush with the butter and cook 5 minutes. Turn, brush again with the butter, and cook about 5 minutes longer or till the fish is opaque and almost flakes. (Do not overcook.) Brush again with butter and serve immediately with lemon wedges, to be squeezed over the fish.