Grilled trout and scallions on serving board

Pesto Grilled Trout With A Side Of Great Memories

Serene rolling trout stream

We hear it all the time. Don’t look back. Keep your eye on the future. The past is past. But some things will always bring the past back, no matter if you’re actively thinking about them or not. Hopefully, when that happens, the memories conjured up are pleasant, for those are the ones most worth going back to. Such is the case today, and everyday when trout is on our menu. It brings back memories of our family fishing and camping adventures, and they’ve all been memorable for different reasons. From weekends baiting the hooks of tiny poles for our kids so that they could experience the tug on the lines, (and barely able to keep up with taking the fish off of the lines on a good day) to going back to favorite spots and admiring specific tree branches artfully adorned with fishing lures, line and bobbers as if they were decorated specifically for our viewing pleasure (yes that includes our contributions), and now seeing that same enthusiasm shown in future generations, any time spent out in nature around a serene lake, gentle rolling stream, or listening to the rhythmic sounds of waves kissing the coast line is never a bad idea. And if someone accidentally falls into that lake or stream, or has to impersonate a non-medaling Olympic diver in order to save a wayward fishing pole, so be it – as long as no one is harmed in the process. From the never-ending action of fishing with toddlers in tow through more current times of just relaxing on a flat rock or bucket seat while taking in everything nature has to offer, like muskrats, crayfish, deer, hawks and snakes (gulp…more like watching out for those), and everything in between, all the memories come rushing back like a cool Missouri trout stream on warm day.

rolling stream breaking over river rock

So being fully aware of those memories, these Missouri trout are always highly appreciated. While grilling them whole makes for a worthy meal, lately I’ve taken to filleting them and leaving the skin on while spending the time needed to debone them. If you’re familiar with rainbow trout and the amount of pin bones involved, you get where I’m coming from. Deboning makes the eating much more enjoyable. Seasoning is always a personal choice, but today, the only seasoning needed was a batch of homemade basil pesto.

Weber grill with Lodge cast iron griddle heating

Over a direct hardwood fire in my trusty Weber, I laid a Lodge cast iron grill over a wide swath of fiery hot coals. The griddle side is oiled and left to get up to high heat. Just as the oiled griddle begins to smoke, the trout filets, seasoned only with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper on the skin side, are laid on the griddle, flesh side down. The immediate sizzle tells the story, and these beauties are on their way. No need to move them for about two minutes. Then with a handy dandy fish spatula or other wide flipping tool, gently scoop them up and flip them over. Once flipped, it’s time to apply the pesto to the seared flesh side. I prefer a heavy amount, so the pesto was generously spooned and spread over the fish, warming on contact and adding immediate flavor to the mild flesh of the trout. Some large green onions were also added to the grill, for no there reason than it sounded good to me and would go great with the fish filets. After another couple of minutes, the fish was done and ready to be plated.

When served immediately, the trout flakes easily off of the skin with minimal fork effort. Combined with a yeast roll, cucumber salad, and a fresh fennel salad, It’s a pleasure to eat and enjoy while remembering where the fish came from and the journey we took to get it from the stream to our plate.

Grilled trout with green onions on serving board

I think back on some times that we’ve gotten out to enjoy Missouri’s great outdoor areas and state parks, and whether those times were spent in a cabin or tent, sun drenched or bogged down with rain, featuring a roaring bonfire with either good or bad fishing, it’s the time spent together that remains important and provides the life-long memories that are always cherished. Sometimes the past is where it’s at. Until next time.

Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired

Grilled trout and scallions on serving board

Pesto Grilled Trout

Cast iron seared trout slathered with basil pesto sauce
5 from 1 vote
Course Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people


  • 1 Barbecue Grill
  • 1 Cast Iron Griddle Pan or Plancha
  • Hardwood Charcoal and Wood Smoking Chunks, if Desired
  • 1 Fish Spatula


  • 2 whole trout, filleted and deboned, skin on
  • 4 tbsp Pesto, store bought or homemade
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil, for cast iron pan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for coating flesh of trout


  • Filet and debone trout filets, leaving skin on
  • Over direct, hardwood fire, heat cast iron griddle
  • Oil griddle pan, and lightly oil the flesh side of trout filets
  • Lightly salt and pepper the skin side of trout filets
  • Lay trout onto hot griddle pan and let sear for two minutes
  • With fish spatula or wide flipping tool, flip filets over to skin side
  • Spread pesto sauce onto and over the seared trout filet
  • After two minutes, (or until fish is done), take the fish off of the griddle and plate
    Grilled trout and scallions on serving board
  • Add grilled scallions, and any other sides desired
  • Enjoy
Keyword Grilled Fish, Grilled Trout, Pesto, Pesto Trout